Hi. My husband has had c-diff, so I can tell you something about it. C-diff is not just a hospital acquired infection - though it can happen in hospitals. It can happen when you take antibiotics that upset the normal gut flora, and it can happen for people with IBD even if you have not taken any antibiotics. I hope you don't have c-diff, but even if you do, you can beat it - so don't panic. If you are not having frequent watery diarrhea, and if the stool doesn't have a real odour to it, it probably isn't c-diff. Be sure to stay well hydrated - my husband could tolerate pedialyte when he was sick (gatorade made his stomach hurt). Also, the BRAT (Banana Rice Applesauce and Toast) diet (no applesauce, instead he eats bland chicken) + 24 hour fermented yogurt seems to help him when he has diarrhea.
My husband developed c-diff without taking any antibiotics, and wasn't in the hospital! Go figure. They say that people with IBD (like Crohn's and UC) are prone to developing c-diff infections because there is something wrong with the flora in their gut, which makes it easy for c-diff to take hold. C-diff is a very hardy spore forming bacteria, and the spores can be anywhere - not just at a hospital. When people ingest the spores, usually when they get to the gut, when the spores hatch to become bacteria, the normal flora in the gut crowds them out - so you don't end up with c-diff. But when you are on antibiotics, or if your bowel flora is imbalanced somehow (like for some people with IBD like my husband), the flora in the gut may not crowd out the c-diff . . . letting c-diff grow unchecked, to the point where you get an infection.
Because noone suspected c-diff (he'd had no antibiotic use), and my husband had not been diagnosed with Crohn's, we had a very difficult last year, with him being in the hospital for 45 days. It was no walk in the park, but with vancomycin and remicade, my husband beat both crohn's and c-diff and came back home.
The test for c-diff normally done is a toxin test. The test should test for both toxins A and toxin B (make sure of that by asking your doc if they'll be testing for both toxins). It is a stool test. The results can even be available in a few hours (in the ER, but normal labs take 24-48 hours). It is best to submit a stool sample from the first bowel movement of the day. If it is going to take you longer than 45 minutes to get the sample to the hospital, you need to put the sample on ice, or put it in a bag and in your freezer because the toxins disintegrate at room temperature.
Don't be scared of vancomycin, it really does work very week against c-diff - much much better than flagyl, and has very few side effects, because almost none of it is systemically absorbed. My husband was on vacomycin for about 10 months last year, and he fared fine. This year in september he had to take another 2 week course of vancomycin since the c-diff came back. But he's off of it again, and seems to be doing ok.
If you can tolerate some probiotics, I highly recommend them when taking any kind of antibiotic - the SCD (24 hour fermented) yogurt is an excellent source of good probiotics, as is VSL#3. Also, if you do have c-diff, I recommend a product called florastor (which is a yeast called saccharomyces boulardii) which as shown some efficacy in keeping c-diff in check. In any case, probiotics are good for people with crohn's so I highly recommend starting some probiotics.
In a lot of people with c-diff, just stopping the offending antibiotic can result in the gut flora stabilizing. I hope you don't have c-diff - it's no fun. But if you do, don't panic - you can beat it, and you can go back to being normal.
Husband with Crohn's
Diagnosed March 2003 Ulcerative Proctitis
Diagnosed March 2008 Crohn's & C-diff, hospitalized 45 days
Canasa, Lialda, Remicade, VSL#3, Florastor
In Remission since June 2008
Stopped vancomycin for c-diff Jan 1 2009
C-diff free, until Sep 2, 2009
Fighting c-diff, I guess for life