Saturday, November 24

Doing the same thing over and over

We've got a lot going on- nothing new there.  But I'm kind of stuck and not doing anything.

You see, my mom's in the hospital.  5th time since February of last year.  3rd time in 1.5 months.  She's been there since Monday of this week, so we spent part of Thanksgiving there.  She was there for about 3 days back in mid-October.  Then a week about 3 weeks ago.  And now we're going on a week again.  She's having mega-potassium issues.  I didn't know much about potassium until her whole saga began- very abruptly and unexpectedly in September of last year.  You have a normal range of 3.5 to 4.5 that you should have.  2.5 puts you in the hospital for IV potassium.  Lower than 2 is rarely seen because it results in death due to the heart & breathing issues that it can cause.

Last year she was admitted to the ICU with a level of 1.8 and it took about a week to get it up to the acceptable range with bags and bags of Potassium.  She was out and then she was fine from March to September again this year.

And suddenly she went down again- with heart papaltations and fatigue and  general ickyness.  Her levels were caught at 2.0 so she went to the regular floor instead of the ICU these times (which is nice because the kiddos can visit too).  Last time she was there for a week it took all week to get the levels up then she started a new med designed to hold the potassium.  And it worked great, but combined with the supplemental potassium it worked a little too good and her level sky rocketed to 6.0.  High is also really bad because it can cause heart issues.  Seriously, it's no win.

So they lowered her meds, but lowered them too much causing her to crash again to 2.0 and landing her back in the hospital.  She is getting 8+ bags of potassium a day along with oral potassium but she can't seem to keep it in her body right now.  THey can't figure out why.  She went in Monday at 2.0 and now she's hovering around 2.6 depending on when they draw.  It's so frustrating-- and I'm not even the one in there!  They placed a PICC yesterday so at least she's not getting pricked for blood draws every 2 hours or having new IV's placed for the potassium every few days, but it's really starting to scare me.  When you have a huge (HUGE) team of doctors scouring your charts and trying to figure things out for months and they can't get you to raise more than .6 in several days???  She's totally a mystery case and she's so worn out from the whole thing and I'm just plain scared.  I'm hoping she can get a second opinion or move to a new hospital or something-- what's the saying about stupidity being doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result?  I feel like that's all we're at.  They're pumping her full of meds and nothing is happening, but they just keep doing it.  But at the same time, it's so scary to know that being at 2.0 (2.anything really) is so critically dangerous for your heart and she's just stuck there and there is nothing they can do.  There's no magical treatment they have in their back pocket for extreme cases.  She is just a total unknown.

So... just icky for now.  At this point I hope they can just raise the levels, get it to stick, and then they can worry about figuring out the cause or disease or whatever it is causing this.


Jen: Proud Mom of 1 Genetic Child after 40 and 7 Adopted Miracle Blessings said...

I'm so sorry to read this...I had no idea this was going on or that potassium was so important!!! I'll be praying!!! Hugs!!!

Leah said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. That is really scary, especially because they can't figure out what's causing it. I've struggled with low potassium in the past, but nothing remotely close to what your mom is experiencing. Thinking of you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Just checking in to say hi. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom and I hope she's home and doing better now! Hopefully they finally figured it out and got you guys some answers.
How is the pregnancy going?