So I might have something catastrophically wrong with me, or I might not

I take a bunch of different medications for my bipolar etc., and some of those meds can mess with things they’re not supposed to mess with. No, I’m not sure of the details, but the result is that every few months I have to get blood drawn so they can check it for levels of this and that and the other thing and make sure it’s all normal.

I got my blood drawn last week and then the next day I got a rather frantic call from my psychiatrist’s office asking me, more or less, why I wasn’t dead. Apparently according to the lab work, I’ve got catastrophically low sodium and potassium and what have you. They told me to make an appointment with my primary care person pronto.

I was mystified because I did not have any symptoms; I felt absolutely fine. But I dutifully saw a nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office on Monday morning. He asked me all sorts of questions about my heart and did some basic neurological tests and couldn’t find a single thing wrong with me, and was strongly inclined to believe there was some kind of mistake, but ordered another blood panel and an EKG just in case.

I felt a bit better after that… until Monday afternoon, when I had a phone appointment with my psychiatrist. He said that it was indeed possible to feel fine and still be basically at death’s door from messed up blood levels. He said that per last week’s blood work I’m at risk of a spontaneous heart attack. Like, my potassium is supposedly so low that my heart could just… quit. In fact, when his office had called me last week, the message had been garbled: they were supposed to tell me to not bother with making an appointment but to go straight to the ER.

So yesterday morning I went and got the EKG and got blood drawn for labs. I anxiously waited all the rest of the day and into today to hear from someone about the results but nothing, nope, nada. I called my psychiatrist’s office earlier today and they said they don’t have the results yet. So basically I have no idea whether I’m fine or whether I should start writing my will.

For most of my life, this situation would not have bothered me too much because life was not any great thing for me anyway. Severe depression does that to you; even when I was pretty much functional and life was bearable, I was pretty apathetic and a little in love with death. But in the past year or two, for the first time in, like, literally ever, I’ve been happy. I’ve been happier than I’ve ever been, newly married, enjoying myself.

And I’m afraid if last week’s blood test WAS right, they’re going to have to change my medications. And I really don’t want to, because I know a lot of the reason I’m finally happy is because the medications have been working so well. I really don’t want to mess that up, and spend possibly years trying to find another combination that works as well as that.

It’s coming on four-thirty so I don’t think I’m going to get my test results till tomorrow at the earliest. My friends keep texting me every couple of hours to ask if I still feel okay.

I am okay. But I really want to know what’s going on.

[UPDATE: I did hear back from my psychiatrist’s office, after closing time. The blood levels on the second test are still low but he doesn’t think the medication is causing it. He told me to get back to primary care about it.]

8 thoughts on “So I might have something catastrophically wrong with me, or I might not

  1. Mary Carney April 14, 2021 / 5:14 pm

    Yikes girl! The good news is electrolyte imbalances like this are pretty easily fixed.

    • Meaghan April 14, 2021 / 5:37 pm

      I bought some potassium supplements and some potato chips.

  2. LuAnn Miller April 14, 2021 / 6:08 pm

    Oh dear, just when life is going great something happens! I am inclined to think you are fine but you are doing the right thing by staying in touch with your doctors. I would also ask your doctor what symptoms exactly you should be looking for. I’m glad you are happy now. You absolutely deserve the best life possible!

  3. Ellen Tallabas April 14, 2021 / 7:25 pm

    Sometimes I think they like to scare us into submission! I hate my pulmonologist! He did a ct scan on me a few weeks back and then called me and told me they were getting me in for a PET scan immediately. Was talking lung biopsy and surgery on and on. Got the PET scan and they scheduled my follow up for results for May 11!!! I thought I had freaking lung cancer. My primary posted the report of the PET scan in my patient portal by this time and the radiologist recommendation is for me to get a follow up ct scan in 1 year. Haven’t even talked to the lung guy yet. My point is apparently they don’t know poop! Love you Meaghan!

  4. Karen April 14, 2021 / 8:18 pm

    Bananas are good for potassium. Like the other person said it’s actually something that can be fixed & should be without changes to your medication. Keep us posted!

  5. Catherine April 14, 2021 / 10:15 pm

    A very similar thing happened to me, and I did not need a medication change. I hope the same will be true for you. I’m awful at eating enough fresh fruit and veg, so now I have my “potassium smoothie” every day and take my vitamins and I am good. Incredible you didn’t have symptoms. I felt like hell.

  6. Alice April 15, 2021 / 9:31 am

    I used to have the incorrect medications prescribed to me (I am British, so my situation concerning medical help is very likely to be different from yours, Meghan). I hope that you get the answers you need soon.

  7. GJ April 15, 2021 / 4:27 pm

    I have to take a prescription potassium pill every day. Mine is still borderline low. If I feel a heart flutter, I drink some Pedialyte. My GP isn’t sure why but it’s probably a side effect from one of my meds. Seems like it’s always something with our health!

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