Monday, October 5, 2009

Attack of the Bubbly Guts: The Importance of Digestive Enzymes


Saturday night Ronnie and I babysat for his cousin's kids. I simply adore his cousin's kids, but that's another story for another time. The important part of this story is that while we were babysitting, after we put the kids to bed, Ronnie grabbed a slice of pizza. Seeing the pizza in his hand I yelled from the couch, "do you need your enzymes?" in my most loving, nagging voice. "Naa, it's ok," he replied. Wellll it turned out to NOT be ok. For the next several hours, he was rubbing his bloated, turning, rumbling belly.

He had sharp pains in his sides, was extremely gassy (yes, not taking pills can negatively impact EVERYONE around you) and appeared to be several months pregnant. He (and the toilet) continued to pay for his pizza sans pills after arriving back home last night and this morning. Needless to say, it was a good reminder of why we tote around enzymes with us everywhere we go.

We've started to get strategic with our enzyme placement so that we can avoid incidents like Saturday night's pizza bloat. We keep them everywhere. We have a bottle in my car and 1-2 bottles in his. We have a few bottles at my house and a small arsenal at his. But he has a new favorite location: a change purse that is kept in my 'mom bag' (a purse so large that you can fit anything and everything in but can never locate something once its in there). We've found the change purse method to be the most handy because I rarely go anywhere without my purse.

Before keeping them in my purse, we'd often have to run back to the car or realize after it was too late that the car stash was out. We just always make sure that the change purse is full and we're good to go. Also, it's nice when they're in a change purse because you can avoid pulling out a huge bottle of pills while at a restaurant or with company (if you're shy about your pills). I'm not sure what Ronnie likes better about this solution, the fact that he is more likely to have pills when he needs them, or that it's become my responsibility to always be fully loaded. Regardless, it has worked for us.

Just thought I'd share our enzyme strategy. I've found that working out simple little systems like this makes it all a lot easier. Also, in that change purse, I always carry a few tylenol so that if he gets achy or a headache out of no where, we have them on hand.

How do you remember your enzymes and where do you stash them? We're always looking for new tricks!

18 people had something to say...:

Princess Talana said...

I've been using the coin purse strategy for a few years now. Every time we go down to San Francisco, I hit up China Town for a few zippered silk pouches. They have a small amount of padding and will hold over 100 enzymes, important when you are on 8-10 a meal, and have to have a few meals at "low" enzyme amount, before I remember to add more.

Katelyn said...

I use old medicine bottles I get from my Zantac or Zyrtec. They're smaller, but not so small I can't find them in my Mary Poppins bag, and I can fit about three or four meals of pills in there.

HArmstrong said...

i used to keep mine in the car too, but then i started getting stomach aches, turns out if enzymes heat up too much, they turn faulty and don't work! so be careful if it gets too hot in the car (over 30 degrees i think they stop working)! i carry mine around in my purse too! seems to work the best.

Deb said...

this is so funny... and true. the drugstore sells these cool, lightweight pill holder/keychains that can hold 8 enzymes. my husband and i both keep one on our keyrings. however, there have been many times we have reached for them only to find them empty.

Jessica said...

I, too, carry a bag large enough to tote small children. I resisted forever, since I have a genetic predisposition to stuff any given purse/bag beyond it's intended carrying capacity, but finally caved my senior year of college when I got tired of being the tiny girl with the huge school bag AND the moderate-sized purse - because really, how small can a CF girl's everyday bag *really* be? haha.

Strategy-wise, I have several smaller zippie bags (mostly Vera) in my big guess bag, but I have one that I found at some goofy store that's shaped like a large, bright pair of "underpants" that I keep enzymes, tissues, an emergency dose of my migraine medicine (it's in a foil packie), and a mini-bottle of tums, tylenol/advil, and cough drops.

That way, even in the giant bag, the underoos stick out quite noticeably and are easy to find, and when I have to be on insulin or other, slightly scarier drugs, I can tell whoever I'm with, "Hey, if anything happens, dig around in my bag and find the bag shaped like underwear." Doesn't have to be underwear, of course, but having a seperate, really obnoxiously shaped/colored mini-bag for meds and such (as opposed to makeup, or pens, which I have seperate but otherwise matching mini-bags for too), makes it easier to find in the.bag.with.no.bottom. :o)

Jess

Cara said...

I was going to say the same thing as HArmstrong! I used to keep a spare bottle in the car until I realized that the heat makes the medicine ineffective. I always keep my enzymes in small bottle in my purse or in the pocket of my camera case, since it goes everywhere with me.

Be sure to yell at Ronnie for me for not taking enzymes with PIZZA, of all things! Pizza makes me sick WITH my enzymes! :)

Amy said...

My issue is the fact that my son (5 months) needs applesauce to take his enzymes. So I found these small bead containers at walmart that I put his capsules in. That way, when we're away from home, it's easy to just open up the container, put the applesauce in, and feed them to him. They're the perfect size for the small amount of applesauce needed.

Kellee said...

I totally have a mom purse!! M calls it my mary poppins bag!
Its complete with enzymes, 2 days worth of am and pm pills, a sugar checker, extra parts for sugar checker, o2 stat thingy, 2 syringes of vinegar (strange I know but vinegar on a cotton ball stops nose bleeds immediately) and a whole lotta goodies!! I put all the important stuff in a HOTT pink bag thing so I can find it quick, since finding things quick is one of the most impossible things to do in my hefty mary poppins sack!

Im so glad Im not the only one!!

Kellee said...

Oh and little secret I adore..when M says "nahh it will be ok" refering to any thing cf I simply high five his forehead and then re ask my question..works on most days :)

Cari said...

I'm with Cara and HArmstrong about keeping pills in the car. My clinic has been very specific about storing enzymes out of direct sunlight and heat.

I've even had trouble with humidity when I've taken my girls camping. Picture this . . . sleep deprived mommy sets out enzyme pills for her infant with a spoonful of applesauce on a child size chair inside the tent next to the pack-n-play the CF baby is sleeping in. Middle of the night the baby wakes up screaming to be nursed immediately (that's right, no time for casual pill searching in the black of night). Mommy quickly reaches for the enzymes set out next to the spoon of applesauce already mental doing the pinch, twist, pull to drop the enzymes into the waiting spoon. The enzyme capsule refuses to budge open!!! That's right folks. The humidity of the hot Texas night has sealed the capsule shut! I had to frantically dig out the pill box and gather the appropriate enzymes and pour them into the spoon of waiting applesauce so that I could nurse my screaming baby before she could wake up the other campers! ;)

Having 2 children with CF I've learned the value of a small pill box (usually found in the craft beading isle normally used to hold craft beads). I stumbled onto the craft bead box accidentally in my search for a less cumbersome pillbox that didn't have the days of the week written all over them.

My 7 year old CF'er is old enough to swallow her pills, but my 1 year old CF'er still needs applesauce to take her enzymes.

I carry around a nice little Tupperware container filled with applesauce. It took me a while to find a good container that didn't leak applesauce all over my diaper bag. (For awhile I had to put the applesauce container inside a ziplock bag for containment.)

The really nice thing about having a compact pill box and applesauce container is that when I drop the girls off at a babysitter it is an easy handoff. I tell them the dosage instructions for each child and let the babysitter know that my 7 year old knows her dosage and to feel free to ask her if they are unsure.

Andrea said...

I keep mine in my purse and at all relatives' houses. And in my car. I'm about to put some in my boyfriend's car since he drives me a lot of places. My mom keeps some in her car too. The regular places!


Also-
will you read my Oct. 5th post and see if you can help me out. Thanks Ronnie/Mandi. :]

-Andrea

Elizabeth said...

I keep mine in an Altoids container- it fits in your pocket or in a side pocket in your purse, and it's inconspicuous. Plus, the light always hits the shiny metal so I can't leave the room without it catching my eye!

Jamie said...

I learned that by not taking my pills I suffered more than anyone. . when people around me ask if I took my pills, I am grateful for the reminder esspecially the next morning :) Hey does anyone notice a difference in Brands? I LOVE Pancrease MT's, but my insurance won't cover them, so I went to CREON and I feel like I didn't even take anything. Weird. .? They have never been regulated by the FDA until recently. . hopefully there is improvement.

Tara Hurlburt said...

Honestly, I carry around the big target bottles of my Ultrase MT 20. I have 2 bottles at my office. Huge bottles at home. 1 in each car and my parter carries 1. We are never without the Ultrase. I do also get the bad belly... but I get Pain. the gas, but mostly the severe middle of the belly pancreatic pain that left me in the ER on Saturday night....

Great post.. it is a continuous source of laughter and discussion in my home.... If I was grabbing a piece of pizza, my partner would not ask by yelling from the other room, she would run into the kitchen and grab the pizza from my hand until I took the pills. I have gotten pretty diligent as it is pain avoidance.... such is life with CF i guess.

Sydna said...

You all are too funny!! I love reading these comments and the post :) I didn't take enzymes for the longest time and never connected the dots until after my gallbladder was removed and the CF problems were highlighted again. Anyway, I take 2 or 3 with each meal so I use those cool blue free pill boxes from CF Services Pharmacy. They hold most of my other pills as well. It has some downsides though. I love the coin purse idea. And yes, the Mary Poppins bag!! Handy when you need it, but I swear I am always "losing" stuff in my bag!

Mandi said...

Andrea - I don't have advice for your Oct 5 post. I will look into it though and hopefully find some more information. I'll sick Ronnie on the answer as well. Good question though, let's see if we can find an answer.

Afton said...

I got this key-chain pill holder from CVS. I think it is called a pill-fob. It is hard to forget because I rarely go anywhere without my keys :)

Lil' Chris' Mom said...

I use little blue pop open containers from CVS. I LOVE them! I keep one on our counter and one in the bottle bag. It never opens and spills, and I've dripped water over the one in the kitchen and the enzymes stay dry:) It's kinda small but holds a lot. All you do is just push a little button on the front and it pops open! Then just push it back down to close it. I'll have to post a pic of it on my blog one of these days;) I love it, b/c it saves time screwing a bottle open and closed, esp when he was little and we had those 2am feedings and my eyes were still half closed;-) I also keep a small little pack in my big purse. I consider those my "backup" enzymes;-) Gotta have backup enzymes;)
M