Monday, April 18, 2011

Ok, Here's What I Think Happened...

Actually I know what happened, but the question is how, if at all, things are linked together...

Last June (of 2010) a doctor's visit resulted in a blood draw for a potassium check. It turned out low. Not good because low potassium can lead to a number of things such as high blood pressure that resists control (even by multiple meds) higher risk of cardiac arrest, muscle tiredness and a multitude of other bad stuff.

So, I went on increasingly large doses of potassium to try to rectify the situation.

To No Avail.

By September, I was prescribed up to 80 milligrams equivalent per day of potassium. But my levels were almost always lower than the bottom limit.

Worse, my GP couldn't understand why I wasn't absorbing it.

I did some googling and found that it could involve the endocrine system. But I wasn't sure.

About that time, I had a job interview. Part of the process involved a pre-employment physical. The company specified the doctor. So, I went.

It took him five minutes prodding me and finding out about the potassium that he shot out "You need to see an endocrinologist and be checked for Addison's disease".

That was enough for me. It congealed my suspicions. And his statement that I was "not fit for work" took a back seat.

So I found an endocrinologist. Problem was he appeared to be dragging his feet. Even worse, getting information back was horrible. His habit of saying "we can't just call you...we have too many patients" kind of tipped him off. This takes us up to (I think) early January. Maybe February.

The one good thing he did was put me on sporonolactone which is a blood pressure med that targets the secretions of the endocrine glands.

So, I decided to find a doctor in Iowa City. Found one. Dr. Thomas O'Dorisio. And we made the trip up there.

Their diagnosis was Conn Syndrome, which is caused by an over secretion of aldosterone by the endocrine glands, which are located on the kidneys. Higher aldosterone leads to a loss of potassium in the urine.

Side note: By early March, I had started (re)memorizing 1 John. By the tenth, my mind became a scrambled mess. I just couldn't deal with it. Verses ran together somewhat and trying to memorize new ones seemed fruitless. On our first visit to O'Dorisio, we found that during that time period, my potassium had shot up too high. The sporonolactone was working...but I was also still taking the large (prescribed) doses of potassium.

Strange though, as my potassium levels returned to "normal", my symptoms continued. The muscle tiredness, the confusion...even tremors and more.

Finally, my wife of 13 years (this August) took me to the E.R. of the local hospital for a potassium check....

To be continued....and perhaps modified.