Monday, June 29, 2015

Prescription du jour: salty snacks

I have been having the worst hand cramps, the kind that is more common in a toe, where the remedy is usually just to stand up and put some pressure on your foot.

It usually happens when I am at the keyboard. My thumb will actually get frozen in a backbend while other fingers can get stuck out straight or in a claw. Naturally I have to stop typing. It also happened when I was at a graduation party and I yelped and said to the person I was talking to, "Look at my thumb doing a backbend," and that might have seemed a little weird.

I looked it up and saw that the causes can include low sodium, magnesium or potassium or also dehydration. Joe Graedon at The People's Pharmacy said sufferers swear by holding a bar of soap, or, if the cramp is in your feet, putting soap at the bottom of your mattress. This did not seem up my alley. I did see something useful, which is exercising your fingers by "letting your fingers do the walking" on a surface or pressing your hand on a table or on the wall.

I had forgotten to ask Melissa because other matters had taken priority, but I finally thought to write her and she said that what I had read is true: The problem can be caused by an imbalance in electrolytes.

Last week when they tested my blood counts at ECP they added a test for electrolytes. It turns out that my sodium is low. This can happen due to a shifting in your blood during photopheresis. Melissa said to eat more salty snacks (ha I just typed salty snakes) and to take salt tablets. I had had this problem years ago and found that it is not so easy to find Thermotabs, the buffered salt tablets that I need. The Big Y pharmacy had ordered them for me in the past. I called on Friday and they said they would get some in for me today.

In the meantime I went to two cookouts and got my fill of hot dogs. Also indulged in potato chips, Cheesitz and other fun stuff...which all made me so thirsty that the other night I could not stop eating watermelon. This morning, I ate cottage cheese, which is very high in sodium. Will get the salt tabs later and cut back on the snacks.

Sugar is more my downfall than salt, and I would rather have had the prescription be to eat more cookies or some more of Evelyn's coffee cake.

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