Major TMI ahead... you have been warned. Maybe someone has some ideas, though, and can correct my understanding...
For years I've always considered myself partially lactose intolerant. Most of the time, I can consume dairy products without problem, but it's always seemed to me that consuming too much can lead to downtime in the bathroom. Most of the time, it's mild, as in I get a minor cramp and know it's time to find the nearest bathroom, but every now and then, something really nasty happens. Tonight was one of those "now and then"s. First, a timeline:
2pm: Breakfast. Strawberry waffle with large blob of whipped cream, and some of Robin's pumpkin pancakes (covered in butter and orange marmalade syrup/sauce/whatever). Two cups of coffee with about 1 Tbsp half-and-half each. (Hey, it's a once-a-week thing.)
Various times in the interim: Water consumed. Nothing more.
9:30pm: Dinner at Olive Garden. Glass of house wine. The sausage and potato soup with a decent sprinkling of parmesan. Their "Tuscan Garlic Chicken", containing a wine-and-cream sauce, also with a decent sprinkling of parmesan; I elect to take about 1/3 to 1/2 in a box. To finish things off, a chocolate lava cake attempt (I thought it was, anyway) with vanilla cream sauce and strawberries. Shouldn't have had it; feel stuffed as we leave.
10:30pm: Arrive home. As I pull into the garage, I feel the onset of stomach pain, and initially think it's from overeating. After fetching the mail and wandering up, it's apparent to me that it's a cramp. Hit the bathroom.
12:30am: Emerge from bathroom; cramp resolved to small sick feeling in the bottom of my belly. (It got way, way worse before it got better. Gory details below.) Go downstairs and mention to Robin what's happened. I'm feeling very dry, so I force a large glass of water down; the last 1/4 takes some effort because my stomach is still quite full from dinner. Almost immediately after I finish drinking, the cramps return, so it's back to the bathroom.
1am: Emerge again from bathroom, again with small sick feeling in the bottom of my belly. Find myself feeling extremely cold, so I crawl into bed with Don Cherry's new book and read. I warm up a little, though not much, and the sick feeling doesn't go away.
2am: Book's done. Robin made some tea for me, so I get up and go downstairs. As I am about to take the first sip, the cramps return. Okay, down another glass of water (easier this time), and back in I go again.
2:30am: Back out, feeling the same way as I did the last 2 times. Return downstairs.
2:48am: Now. Sick feeling has subsided, though I still feel unsettled.
The 2-hour bathroom visit was, in a word, horrible. At first, it was just a moderate cramp, which I can deal with. Somewhere along the line, it got more intense, and then I noticed my hearing was as if someone were putting a paper cone over my ear (or turning down the high frequencies on the equalizer). I generally take this as the first sign that things are about to get really bad. Sure enough, my vision started going fuzzy, and I started to feel like I wasn't all there. (I presume this is because my body's decided that what's in my intestines needs to go ASAP and has directed blood towards them and away from other things, starving them of oxygen.) This combination of incapacitation and cramp is very unbearable, and I sat for what seemed like forever unable to do anything but wait, eyes closed because I couldn't stand the sensation of seeing anything. Oddly enough, I also began to sweat. Eventually, my hearing came back, but I still couldn't stand to see anything. And eventually that went away and my head feeling subsided, though not completely.
Unsurprisingly, I really want to avoid episodes like these, and so I've tried to figure out what sets them off. Food poisoning is a possibility, but I don't think it's too likely, given that Robin had some of my stuff and hasn't had any problems. The aforementioned lactose intolerance is what I thought at first, but it seems like it took a very long time to cause trouble. (Either that, or it was much more quick than I thought, if the dinner is the culprit.) Everything I've read about lactose intolerance says that large volumes of gas are produced, and that diarrhea is not uncommon here, but nothing mentions the sorts of symptoms I described just now.
So, yeah. Ugh. I determined that I spent about 2 1/2 hours between getting home and now in the bathroom. This sort of thing seems to happen on average once every few years, but even that's too much.