Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Up stairs, down stairs

Monday started out perfectly. I went down to Longmeadow and hit some balls on a clay court with Donna. Donna was very patient. I can hit them, if you count miss-hits, but I can't move more than a step from each spot. She mostly hit them to me and we managed some decent rallies. It felt good just to hit with her.

Things went down, and thankfully back up, after that.

Dr. Alyea called that evening at 10:30 after I had gotten my blood tested locally after tennis.

He said the lab just called him about some results.

I sat down at the bottom of the stairs, panic setting in. What kind of news does a doctor deliver at 10:30 at night?

But he quickly got to the point. My glucose was very high – 400 – (normal is 65-105) and my potassium was high too, at 6 (normal is 3.5-5). He wanted me to have blood drawn the next day. The plan was for me to call Melissa in the morning to have the paperwork sent over.

Whew. I didn't realize until later that 400 was dangerously high, so I went to bed relieved.

Yesterday morning, Melissa said they actually wanted me to come in; that way if there was still a problem, they could fix it. "Could I get the blood test today and come in tomorrow?" I asked. "We'd rather you come in today," she said.


Katie had my car with her at work (she's a camp counselor), and Joe needed his car to get to his baseball game. If it was an emergency, he would have bowed out of the game to take me, but it wasn't. We couldn't go pick up my car for me to drive, because then Katie would have been stranded.

So Joe drove me to Boston around 1, came back for his game, then turned around and got me around 10 p.m. It's an hour-and-a-half each way, not too bad once you get used to it, but kind of much to do twice in one day. Then there was the issue of me getting stranded there until around 10 p.m.

My counts weren't bad. Thanks to a dose of Kayexalate (ranks up there with Mepron when it comes to foul-tasting medicine) my potassium went down to 4.9. My glucose went down to 223 (I don't know why), still high but much better. Sodium is still low, at 125 (normal is 135-145), but blood pressure was high.

I don't know what to make of this. Melissa said much is probably drug-related. I bought a blood-pressure monitor, which I'm supposed to use once a day. Also went back on Glipizin, a pill that lowers sugar levels. I guess I'm temporarily diabetic, but the pill should get me back to normal. My diet probably doesn't have a lot to do with it, but I should lower my intake of carbs, which I eat too much of anyway. Not sure what to do about the blood pressure. They already raised my dose of bp medication, and nobody wants to raise it again.

I was done around 4, which left about six hours to kill. Diane was at the Cape. Margaret was at the Cape. Wave of self-pity. EVERYONE is at the Cape. Talked to Ben. Paraphrase: "It's a beautiful day and you're in one of the greatest cities in the world. Just go out and wander around!"

Up I got. Adventure time. Took the T to the Prudential Center. Climbed a lot of stairs. Found the Cheesecake Factory on the first level and got a table outside. Ate salmon and salad and read Lucy Grealy's "Anatomy of a Face." It was a good spot to watch passers-by as the sun cast its afternoon glow on the busy street.

Next stop: the train station at the Hynes Convention Center, where all of the multiple green lines converge. My plan was to go to Diane's and wait for Joe there. I like to consider myself a New Yorker, and my city instincts would probably come back to me if I moved, but now I am a hobbled country bumpkin with memory problems. Had to remember Riverside D (the line she's on) and Eliot (her stop). Repeated it several times.

Walked quite a ways on Massachusetts Avenue. Saw the Hynes stop. Also saw people eating ice cream. Turned the corner onto Newbury Street and found shop selling homemade ice cream. Diet starts tomorrow. Ordered chocolate chip cone. Perfect. Rich and creamy, it dripped down my hand. Transferred to cup and went outside, part of a crowd doing the same thing.

Joe called and said he was about half-way back to Boston. Found Riverside line. More stairs. Took train to Eliot, where Joe met me in the parking lot.

Home around 11:30.

This morning watched some Wimbledon, mostly Nadal-Soderling.

Fell asleep sitting up.


donna said...

Wow, what a couple of days! We had fun on the court and you hit great. Nice slice! I'm sure it is all the medicine you're taking that is giving you the crazy counts. "Thanks Joe for being such a good son to your mom!" Hang in there Ron, and go watch the semi-finals. You're on the right track!

Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Your medical marathon continues, and you continue to rise to the occasion.

As a long-term survivor, I share your philosophy of looking for ways to find or create some happiness whenever "doing the right thing" to encourage physical healing takes me to places or puts me in situations I would not have chosen otherwise.

Put another way, wherever I am it helps to ask myself, "How can I celebrate today?"

With hope, Wendy

Diane said...

Glad you made the most of your afternoon in Boston. You are a chemistry project in the making and they will figure out the right balance of A and B and C etc. Meanwhile, keep hitting those tennis balls... and come to the Cape anytime you want a change of scenery! Love you

Susan C said...

OK, Ronni, I hate to say this, but you disappoint me. Cheesecake Factory? I know Boston is known for its Cheesecake Factory restaurants. (wink, wink)

PJ said...

My doctor once called me on my cell at 9:30 pm to tell me my thyroid was dead and I needed to take synthroid. I doubt he had any idea I was expecting horrible news. He was just in the office late and didn't realize what my reaction would be.

Hope the sugar gets under control.

Trish said...


I'm going to second what donna said about meds---is the concoction you're on affecting liver/kidney function? I would have to assume the kidneys aren't up to snuff with all the sodium (and all the other stuff)? And, you're drinking enough water, right?

have you tried adding some apple cider vinegar? has helped plenty of people I know with glucose issues when nothing else could be explained.

and woo-hooo to Joe and to you for enduring all this! and good job for remembering the trains and locations you needed---sometimes, that is a big part of an adventure!

pam said...

Ronni Gordon, Country Bumpkin!?>!!!???

You, the wondrous daughter of Lynne and Al, could never be that! Once a New Yorker, always a nyer -- and besides, Boston is quite tricky, there are no markers such as Madison Avenue...

my bp has been high for a while now, on meds, but i view your bp as beautiful person, and your sugar will even out...

Ben is quite the advisor! Joe quite the son as well...and Ben has defected to Gotham...hometown run! for Runder-Woman's Son! xop