Saturday, March 6, 2010

At the Hospital (Part 2)

Yesterday, I told you about the dehydration that landed me as an overnight guest in one of the finer hospitals in the greater Chicago-land area. I concluded that post with the image of me hobbling around due to my piriformis syndrome really flaring up.

Shortly after publishing yesterday's post, my blood was drawn and it was discovered that my calcium, iron and potassium were low. I already knew about the iron. I'm on supplements for that. My iron levels have dropped much lower than where they were a few weeks ago, but the nurses have assured me that is due to all the throwing up I have been doing. The calcium didn't surprise me much. I know I need more.

The potassium levels were dangerously low. Normal is 3.5 to 5. My potassium was measuring at 2.2. This could be one of the reasons I was having so much pain in my piriformis area. (Time will tell!)

I was given potassium in my IV. While the nurse was getting the IV ready, I asked her if this would be like penicillin and burn going in. She said, "It might." Understatement of the year.

As soon as she left, my attention turned to String Bean who was visiting along with Mr. Bean and I was trying to determine if she had a fever or not. I started to feel a sting in my arm. I called the nurse in. She "stopped" the potassium and left. She hadn't fully stopped it and the pain crept up my arm. By the time she got the potassium stopped and flushed my IV with the hydrating solution, I was on the verge of puking and passing out. Mr. Bean said I looked like death. The nurse was clearly freaking out but doing her best to remain calm. Several other nurses came in during the episode and a call to the OB on call went out. My blood pressure was taken. I measured at 76/30 (or something in that ball park). I am certain my blood pressure was much lower as I was starting to feel a little bit better by the time the blood pressure was taken.

Mr. Bean wondered aloud if that bag was really labeled "potassium" and not "hydrochloric acid."

We finally got the "watered down" solution balanced correctly so I was not in pain during the procedure. The infusion ended at 1 am, and at 3 am, they had to draw my blood. There must be something mystical and magical about drawing blood 2 hours after the infusion.

My number needed to be 3.9 or higher. I was 3.4. So, I am now on infusion #2 which takes about 6 hours to draw. Not sure if the 2 hour thing still applies (assume so), which puts me here until 5 at the very earliest. This does not look good for me going home today. Sigh.

Waiting for the OB to come and do rounds so I have a better idea of what is going on.

Scariest thought: they were considering sending me home after triage and my first couple IVs on Thursday. Glad I decided to stick it out a bit.

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