Tuesday, January 17, 2006

gray skies may be clearing up...

so, there has actually been one other major 'fly in the ointment'. one of our dearest had an unexpected lab result- marked hyperkalemia (potassium). i hadn't written anything because it simply didn't make sense biochemically. i couldn't figure where to start in investigating. she doesn't have any of the conditions with which it is associated. i just received word (see below) that the follow-up test was normal.

if my ankle wasn't so tweaked, i would be dancing on dikes.

in the meantime, it is a reminder not to forget a lesson i teach my students. when something doesn't make sense, stop and recheck the result before chasing zebras...

"Jamie", my new friend (receptionist at Dr. ** office with whom I talk daily now) just called. Blood work from yesterday is back and potassium level is 4.1!! Very nice number and much relief. Hi 5's with all three cats and Willie.

When I asked what to do next (go back to my "normal" eating, watch my potassium, don't eat potassium, etc) Jamie said, "go back to normal and keep track of how much potassium you are consuming and come back in three weeks".

As we wrapped up the friendly conversation, she added, "given the look of your arm (bruising and swelling from the two initial samples), it very likely could have been that the potassium released was from the damaged cells at the needle site when the blood was drawn".* I wondered that all along.

*NB: in my field, this is almost entirely an Akita thing. who knew such a little woman had such an enormous animal totem?

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