Thursday, February 19, 2015

Nausea Solved - Low Potassium

Lesson for the week: If you have an extended bout of vomiting or diarrhea, make sure to replenish those electrolytes - particularly the potassium!

It's quite a conundrum - Vomiting can cause loss of potassium.  Low potassium can cause nausea.  Oral potassium supplements can cause gastric distress.

Rudy was given fluids with potassium Tuesday and within MINUTES, he found relief.  Apparently, the steroid was out of his system, but his potassium had dipped so low that he was continuing to be nauseous and he kept vomiting up anything he tried to eat or drink.

Once the potassium was in, he felt so much better... EXCEPT --- he had thrown up so many times that his back and stomach muscles were killing him.     So after, the fluids and potassium, they gave him some happy juice thru IV.  I can't remember what it was, but it looked like fun.  It didn't make him loopy, but it made him loads of fun.  He was entertaining everybody!  He continued entertaining me well into the evening.  He was so happy to feel good.

We had a really fun nurse.  Her name was Brooke and she was hilarious and cute as a button.  She's expecting her first child in a few months.  We're hoping to see her again when Rudy goes back next week.

Wednesday morning, the happy juice was wearing off and the soreness started returning.  I gave him a long massage and he planned to just lay around and recover.  He acted like he was OK (because he didn't want to worry me), so I took off to run a million errands.  I was halfway through when he called and said the pain was horrible - a 10 on the 1 to 10 scale.  He has never said that.  Rudy is generally tough as nails. I flew over to CTCA and my parents, who live right next door, drove Rudy over.  I went to Dr. Thompson's office and Brooke (not the nurse from Tuesday) set everything up for Rudy to get checked into the Quality of Life Department again.  We feel like we know many of the people who work in that department now.  They are all very nice, but boy, the place was hoppin' last night.  Apparently, there were a lot of emergencies all day and all night.  Everyone looked worn out, but still managed to be super nice and happy to be helping people.  We had yet another standout nurse - Heidi.  CTCA really manages to get the best staff!!!

Rudy got some more happy juice and they set up an appointment with pain management for this morning.  If Rudy's pain was going to continue, we'd need to find some other option besides happy juice.  The crazy thing, when he got up this morning, he kept waiting for the happy juice to wear off and the pain to come back.  We thought it might be a little better, but it was MUCH better.  He can still feel where it hurt, but it's nothing that warrants any kind of pain meds at all.  If you'd seen him yesterday, you'd be as surprised as we are at the improvement.

We've had lots of family help and support and love this week.  Linda and Nancy have dashed over for every appointment.  They helped with picking things up. Carl and Linda brought Rudy chair pads that heat up, heated blankets that plug up into the car, Naproxen for me (my TMJ chose this week to flare up big time), and more.  We've had lots of calls and emails and offers of help, too.  Our niece Carly and her husband Evan even managed to send flowers even though Carly's on a fun trip in Hong Kong with a group of her friends.  Evan stayed home and did a great job getting the flowers.

Carly is all the way on the right.  ♥

We have been on a crazy rollercoaster for pretty much the last week.  We got home around 11pm or so last night.  Our pain management appointment was at 8:15 this morning.  When we got home, we both crashed.  Absolutely crashed.  I think we woke up around 3 pm.  We feel human again.

This whole cancer journey is full of surprises and things that seem to make no sense at all.  Last night, in infusion, they gave him the first dose of happy juice and then we needed to wait a bit to talk more to the doctor and get a second dose of happy juice.  Rudy was no longer in pain thanks to dose number one.    There were many emergencies being dealt with all around us, but we were fine.  We sat in the room and talked and talked and as crazy as it sounds, we were happy and had a really nice evening.