Best Kept Secrets – Popcorn and Gastric Motility

I want to know everything. I’m not one of those “oh, maybe I’ll look that up when I get home,” folks. I usually attempt to find answers straight away via my PDA or verycleverphone and if that proves unfruitful I’ll make a note and continue my search when I’ve made my way home. Perhaps this doesn’t seem all that unusual to you folks inside my computer and others who spend a great deal of time managing connections to the Information Superhighway (Route 0001) – but I have plenty of wonderful people in my life who find it rather strange. That or they have no idea how to properly query a search engine and they rely on me to find things for them. I have one sweet friend who unintentionally mixes sayings up to tell me, “the best kept secrets are those Denise hasn’t looked up.”

So, it seems rather strange – even to me – that I had no idea that coconut oil was what made movie theatre popcorn such a delight.

See, popcorn is my favorite food and for years I’ve popped it on my stovetop with vegetable oil. Like any good Alton Brown loyalist I tried peanut oil but I wasn’t a fan of the taste and went back to my old ways. I was content with my popcorn so I never thought to look into it – until recently. I guess even our favorites can get dull and I wanted something closer to that salty pot o’ golden kernels we find at the multiplex. So, I looked it up … and there is was, everywhere: coconut oil. A couple of nights ago I popped the absolute best smelling popcorn. My kitchen really did smell like the AMC Theatre I grew up going to. I tasted it, kids, and saw that it was good.

Popcorn lovers: use coconut oil. The jar even says it makes a “soothing body oil” so if you don’t like the corn, it’s not money wasted.

I’m glad I finally looked this up.

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A few years ago the gastroenterologist I was seeing took a look at the results of my gastric empty study and said something resembling “well, like I thought, nothing wrong here. Look, you just need to calm down, I don’t see any reason you should be in the pain you claim you’re in.”

I hated this guy. It’s not like I was some crazy drug seeker or I’d surely pick an organ whose pain you could treat with narcotics. He talked to me like I was a huge baby that couldn’t take pain (and, yes, he had no idea of my non-gastric medical history – but this guy probably would have said that a shattered femur was nothing to cry over) and was of the opinion that Crohn’s was no big deal to live with. Turns out, though, after going over my records with other doctors, the only thing this gentleman properly diagnosed after endoscopies, colonoscopies and testing me using every which method radioactive material can be passed through the digestive system, was that I was lactose intolerant – and it was his nurse who performed that test and the results are pretty damn easy to read.

I trusted him, though. Perhaps it was the white coat, the way he chuckled when he looked at test results or the expert manner in which he talked down to me about everything from my health to the Tampa Bay Lightning – but I truly believed that he at least knew what the proper results should be from a test that he, himself, had ordered performed on me.

I trusted him so I never looked it up.

If a doctor ever tells you that 178 minutes is a fine number to have as a gastric emptying half-time, walk away and find another gastroenterologist.

I spent the evening crying like a baby … no … crying like my heart had been broken … when I was told what the acceptable numbers were and just how far off I was. Lifestyle change is now needed – even more so than I had to make for Crohn’s – and, with how bad my stomach looks, perhaps some drastic (surgical) measures. I’m not looking forward to these things but I’m so glad that I now know. I know the pain has an actual cause. The days and weeks where I simply couldn’t eat were not just because I was “stressed out” and needed to “calm down.” I’m so hurt that someone I trusted to know what was going on was just so wrong, and worse, hurtful about it. I’ve always dealt with the most wonderful doctors and always been so involved in my healthcare (be your own advocate – no one else knows you the way you do!) – in fact, I’m friends with some of the specialists I see and would never expect someone to be perfect because they held the title of “medical doctor.” I expect everyone with that kind of power over someone’s life, though, to be kind – even if they’re faking it. It’s a part of the job.

I don’t think I’m going to become a completely untrusting person now – but I’m going to trust myself a little more. I’m not ready to start self-diagnosing but I am ready to start looking things up right in front of my doctors and asking more questions. Afterall, I know how to do things politely and until recently I was paid to research but, most of all, I know how to uncover the best kept secrets.