A new low

I hit a real low on Thursday.

I’d been having a lot of heart palpitations all week. Much more than usual and enough to really scare me. I should have got my potassium levels checked over the weekend but my husband was working, I had the girls, I convinced myself that I was ok and upped the amount of Sando-K I was taking to about 10 a day.

Thursday I had a blood test in the morning. I was feeling terrible, really tired, ‘spaced out’, I couldn’t really focus on anything at all. The heart palpitations started at 11am and just didn’t stop. I wondered if I’d pushed things too far. I didn’t eat, knowing I’d be sick and that would make things worse. I took 6 Sando-K, hoping that would level things out and stop the palpitations. It didn’t. They got worse. I started having chest pains and felt like I couldn’t breathe. That’s when I text my husband – ‘really don’t feel well. Heart palpitations been constant for 2 hours. I’m scared’. To his credit, he came out of a meeting he was in to come straight home.

When I’ve gone to hospital before I’ve driven myself in. This time I knew I couldn’t. By the time we got to hospital I didn’t even know if I couldn’t walk from the car. They took me into triage, in the past they’ve done this and sat me out in the waiting area again. This time, they took my blood pressure & pulse and I set the alarms off by how fast it was going – straight onto a ward & ecg. My husband sat there looking worried, I was lying on the bed feeling like I was about to pass out. He said ‘I need to help you more’. I said ‘I am trying. I know it seems like I’m not but I really am’, and then broke down. I never cry. I’m not sure why I was but I felt like I’d hit rock bottom and just couldn’t stop.

My bloods showed my potassium was at 2.3, lower than I think it’s ever been. I knew I’d be put on a drip and all I could think about was how much weight I’d gain. Every time I’ve been on the drip I’ve gained weight. I needed it, I knew that, but I did not want the weight gain.

I didn’t like my doctor. As soon as she learnt I had an eating disorder her tone changed completely and I had the standard ‘you are making yourself very ill, you are damaging your heart, you need to stop this’ – I know this. I know it all. I don’t expect her to understand or sympathise or anything of the sort but it felt like she was telling off a child who had misbehaved and I hated that.

Once my heart rate had stabilised (it took about 2 hours of being up in the 160’s for it to finally slow down to about 90bpm) and the drip was in I was moved onto a ward. Told that after the drip had gone through bloods would be retaken and if my potassium was up I could go home.

Bloods finally came back at about 11pm. I’d already decided I was going home. Was dressed, husband was back, I was ready to leave. The nurse came back with another drip saying that potassium was only 3.2 and I’d need another 4 hours on the IV. All I could see in that IV was another 2-3lbs of weight. I argued that it was in the 3’s, which was not that low, that I had Sando-K at home I could take, that my heart rate had been stable for hours and I wanted to sleep in my own bed. They agreed to let me go. The first thing I did at home was to weigh myself. 2.5lbs on. 7 stone exactly. I cried again. For how I’d felt like I was dying, for letting things get so bad, for being such a crap mum all week because of it, for letting my fear of putting on weight prevent further treatment and for gaining 2.5lbs in just a few hours.

I wish I could say this was the shock I needed. I think I was hoping it was. I wish I could say I’ve not been sick since leaving hospital. That I could accept the weight gain. I can’t. I can see it in my thighs and stomach. I can feel it. I hate myself.


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