An overturned glass of water surrounded by floating flu virus

The Stomach Flu Plus Crohn’s: A Story of Severe Dehydration

Last updated: September 2022

Because I am immuno-compromised, viruses attack my body much differently than other people. Combine my suppressed immune system with the fact that I don't have a colon or a foot of my small intestine. Do you know what that gives you? Yep, a recipe for disaster. 

When a bad stomach bug becomes an emergency

Last week when I was suffering from a stomach bug. This led to horrible diarrhea. I became severely dehydrated, to the point that I nearly passed out at work. I am a teacher and I was in such bad shape I had to lay down in my classroom – sweating and lightheaded – and have emergency serives called.

I was able to convince the EMTs who came to my school that I would not drive home and that my wife would take me to the emergency room. As long as I got to her car, I was good. They helped me to the vehicle, and off we went to the hospital. I knew that if I laid flat, I was "safe." Once I stood up, I got that awful feeling that made me pass out again. 

Severe dehydration

It was interesting, I was so dehydrated that I couldn't extend my legs out straight. They were so cramped. I also was trying not to move. If I did, I would go to the bathroom by myself. The situation was bad. In the car, I worked on trying to calm myself down.

An hour later, we arrived at the emergency room. One of the biggest mistakes I made was to tell my wife that I was going to walk into the ER, as she parked the car. Once I started walking, I immediately did not feel good and barely made it to the chairs in front of the registration desk.   When I sat down, I told the registration lady that I really did not feel good.

Fainting, vomiting, and nausea

I felt like I was going to pass out again as the sweats were coming back. Knowing this, I once again put myself on the floor (I know I must have looked crazy) until the feeling passed. This time it did not pass, and I fainted just as I laid on the floor. I woke up a few seconds later after being lifted up by the hospital guard. I was put back into the chair and I fainted again. 

All this time the registration lady was yelling at me because I wasn't giving her answers. I couldn't make that part up if I wanted to! They wheeled me into the back and tried to start an IV. I knew if they started the bags of fluids, I would begin to feel better.

I was very nauseated and started to vomit. This didn't help because my wrenching made me defecate on myself. I was a mess! 

Another complication of Crohn's

I explained to the doctors and nurses that I believe that all of these symptoms are occurring because of the stomach flu. I explained that the stomach bug was going around my school building, and everyone was "dropping like flies."

Finally, I explained that I have zero parts of my colon remaining, making it nearly impossible to absorb anything. The doctors did complete a round of tests such as check X-ray, EKG, CT scan, and blood/stool samples. They wanted to make sure there wasn't something more going on, especially because I have Crohn's. They kept me in the hospital for 2.5 days, which was terrible.

When all was said and done, it was indeed deemed the stomach flu. But my Crohn's had really magnified the severity of it. I am forever grateful to my school staff, wife, and hospital faculty for helping me get through it. 

I will tell you, a day with Crohn's is anything but usual. That is a fact!

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