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Thursday, November 20, 2003
It was called a liver-function test. I had one right after my last major reflux attack . . . and right before I started taking Prilosec for a year and a half. The test said that my liver had over-produced a digestion-stimulation enzyme, and my stomach had gone into acid overload. Something like that.

Two nights earlier, Michelle and I had gone out for Indian food. I had the chicken tikka masala. I might have eaten a lot, and it may have been a bit later than the usual dinner. Everything was fine until about 3 o’clock in the morning. I woke up feeling nauseous. I’d had these episodes from time to time. I’d get out of bed, take one of Michelle’s prescription-strength Pepcids, and wait for the nausea to subside. Sometimes, it’d be bad enough where I’d linger on the floor in front of the commode taking deep breaths . . . in through my nose and out through my mouth.

But this time was different. The nausea was combined with stomach pain (that punched-in-the-stomach feeling), so I figured I was hungry and I ate a piece of bread and drank some water. Then came the gas pressure, so I took a few Tums. Nothing helped. Soon, I was in unbearable pain and my stomach was so swollen with gas, I could hardly breathe. The thought actually crossed my mind to stab myself in the stomach to let the air out. It was that desperate.

Michelle called the “urgent care” number and we went to the “urgent care” office in the wee hours of the morning. They sent me home with 800 mg tablets of Tagamet, which helped until I could get in to see my doctor.

So, that’s the story of how I ended up on Prilosec. And why I try not to eat greasy foods, or foods with too many onions and/or tomatoes. And why I try not to eat anything substantial within a few hours of bedtime. And why I sleep with my head elevated.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, it’s because I’m going in for a different kind of “liver function test” this weekend. The one where there are several different activities involving open bars with free liquor. It’s an endurance test . . . a marathon for which I haven’t prepared. (And God help Michelle.)

We’re leaving tomorrow morning for Mr. Glory Hole and the Shiksa’s wedding in Cocoa Beach. And, God willing, our collective livers will work okay when we get back home on Sunday. Say a little prayer for us, and try not to burp anything up when you do.