Hypokalemia. Chronically low potassium. Which would be fine for most people because they could just take a pill, but when your stomach refuses to digest things in a timely manner or just spit them up… it presents a problem.

I remember being out with my grandma at Walmart when I felt really nauseated, I assumed it was related to the gastroparesis and began to make my way to the bathroom when the room started to get dark, it felt like someone had taken away my oxygen and I couldn’t breathe, it felt like someone had piled weights on top of my head. I made it into the bathroom in time to hit the floor of the stall and throw up. After I sat for a while I felt better and began to get up and go back out to get my grandma. I was fine for a few minutes but as we headed for the exit I started to feel weak again, and before I knew it the room started getting dark again. All I could hear was an echo and my grandma saying “Grace are you okay? You’re super pale?” And then I hit the floor.

I woke up to people offering my orange juice and my grandma telling me I should’ve ate before I left the house. We assumed it was blood sugar related but it didn’t make any sense considering I had gone longer without anything in my system before and had not had that issue.

After some labwork it was decided I needed to go to the ER because my potassium was extremely low. I would be in there another time that month for the same reason.

A few sticks later and I was hooked up to diluted potassium (because pure potassium burns like a thousand suns and I would sooner die of a heart attack that let them push lava through my veins). They told me my veins were awful, the one nurse was extremely surprised to find I didn’t have a port and after being in that ER a couple more times in the next month of so, they insisted I talk to my doctor about the option of getting a port…they really didn’t like my veins. And I really didn’t like being used as a pin cushion. It was a mutual benefit.

As I left they gave me tons of papers about hypokalemia (a really funny word). I would then get labwork regularly to make sure I was staying stable at at least a 3. While I continued to have issues with dizziness and feeling faint, it was not as bad as the walmart experience so I have since just assumed things have gotten better since they have managed to keep my potassium at a stable level.





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