The Nose Hose

Last month I had a 24 hour pH, stomach acid, monitoring done. They stuck a tube with a little monitor up my nose, then down my throat so the monitor was just at the top of my stomach opening. When the doctor inserted the monitor I gagged a little and when it was finally positioned I apologized. Her response: “You did great–you’re the first person today who hasn’t thrown up on me.” *I try to let my light shine.* Then she informed me I couldn’t shower or wash my hair for the next 24 hours, or take any medications.

Pay no attention to the tube attached to my face

     The monitor was attached to a tube taped to my cheek, went behind my ear and attached to a recording device with buttons to push every time I had an incident (nausea, coughing, heartburn, etc). When I wasn’t eating, drinking, swallowing, or looking in a mirror I barely knew the tube was there and the fact that I was in the midst of a nasty sinus infection just added to the awkward tugging sensation in my nasal cavity.
     Walking through the halls of UIHC with a nose hose isn’t really that noticeable: lots of people have wires and tubes sticking out of them. I didn’t even mind eating out with my parents in Iowa City, but once back in my bucolic villa, I hunkered down at home: I didn’t want to be seen with my nose hose and dirty hair, but apparently I don’t mind posting a picture. The next morning, I decided to get a chai for my road trip back to Iowa City and stopped in the local coffee house thinking that there would be very few people I knew (maybe it was a concussive decision), but I knew numerous folk and was sandwiched between two acquaintances when ordering. I tried to casually hide the hose behind my billfold, but to no avail.  I pressed the incident button all the way to Iowa City and not surprisingly, the nose hose came out a lot more easily than it went in.  
     THE RESULTS ARE IN: The 24-hour pH monitor confirmed that I’m acidic (not bitter though). They plug your recorded incidents (number, length, body position, pH level, etc.) into an algorithm: a normal score is 14.72 or less. Studies done have determined that a score of 30ish is the average heartburn/reflux sufferer….my score was 60.
     Over the years, I’ve tried to solve my acid problem–stomach acid problem. I’d read that if you’re low in acid and drink apple cider vinegar with “The Mother,” it calms your heartburn by adding more acid to your stomach so your body doesn’t over produce acid. I’d purchased what was considered the creme de la creme of apple cider vinegar, it even had “The Mother” and probably “The Grandmother” too. After numerous consumptions and the resulting internal combustion I surmised I was not low in acid production. So, I bought large boxes of baking soda to ingest to relieve the near constant heartburn. I even packed baggies of it to take on European vacations hoping customs wouldn’t question my white powdery substance in unmarked plastic bags.  For now, I’ll stick with prescriptions.

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