I Need A Blood App For My iPhone

March 9th, 20102:19 am @ Angela Odom


Since disconnecting my iPhone from AT&T’s dead zone, I can now enjoy many of the apps available for the little device and let me tell you, it’s loaded. My Blackberry, on the other hand, is reserved for more serious applications. Though there are many apps available for it, I often find myself unwilling to explore them because I don’t want to play around with something that may cause Bad App Annoyance.

I found the blood pressure cup above on a website last year and thought it kind of cute and perhaps useful. Today, however, I wanted a different app with an external monitor. I want a blood app. I want to insert a catheter in a vein and when I need to check my blood values, this app will tell me what I need and how bad (or good) I’m doing.

Today the hardass took a hike and left the wimp. I could do nothing productive. I couldn’t even hold myself up for any extended period of time, I was just that wasted. Saturday — one day after chemo — I felt pretty good with no complaints. Actually, I felt no pain. Saturday evening, as usual, the mess hit the fan. Within a few minutes I went from feeling good to feeling horrible. Fatigue came over me like a ton of bricks, my muscles ached, my joints ached, my vision blurred and I felt like hell. I don’t know what happened.

I went into the office on Sunday barely able to keep myself awake. I felt as if my blood pressure had taken a dip to dangerously low levels and it was all I could do to stay conscious. To make matters worse, I made a pot of strong coffee — something I never do but felt the need to do — in order to keep myself awake. This, unfortunately, led to heart palpitations. Not good.

Monday was horrible. I did get a good night’s rest but my body certainly didn’t think so. I got up to drag what felt like 15,000 pounds out of the bed and around the house. Again, everything hurt and my brain was resting comfortably on my pillow. It did not follow me out of bed.

The worse feeling in the world is having pain so bad you cannot open a bottle, lift a bag, or move something from one side of the room to the other. My arms, legs and back wanted to lock up. Added to this my heart jumped around in my chest dancing to some way out hip hop beat.

Yes, the hardass took a hike leaving the wimp and I threw in the towel on Monday. I took a nap hoping for relief but vowed I would do some research, call my doctor, consult the spirits, chant, whatever I needed to do I was going to do it because I was determined to know what exactly was causing my pain. Was it the chemo, the reduction in prednisone, what exactly?

While napping, my doctor called. I heard the phone ring but I didn’t feel like exerting the energy needed to get the body up. Some hours later — realizing sleep was futile — I did check the message and called my doctor’s office and what did they tell me. My blood values from Friday showed my potassium was low, again.

Normal potassium levels in the blood range from 3.5-5.0. Mine was 2.9. This time I could not blame diuretics for the loss of potassium. I was also very surprised to hear this because I’ve been taking 20 mEq twice a day and I eat boatloads of avocados, tomatoes, bananas, green peas, strawberries, cantaloupes, etc. What the heck? Now I must take 40 mEq twice a day and that is no easy feat.

As it is I’m playing pinball wizard with my supersized tonsils and these horse pills to get two down per day, now I must try to swallow four? Well, yes I do and most of the time the stuff turns into chalk anyway before finally hitting the tummy.

After hanging up with the nurse I popped the first one. It went down well. The second one, however, well that was a game of pinball wizard before finally turning into chalk which I swallowed. I took a nap and slept for hours. Hours? Yes, hours. I didn’t know I had it in me. When I awakened, the first thing I noticed was no pain. I could not believe it. My thumb felt fat but it didn’t hurt. I had no pain in the muscles of my arm — the really big deal for me — and no pain in the lower back.

I wanted to jump for joy but there was still that awful feeling in my belly. The fist was still there but I did notice my heart was no longer “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” in my chest. A good sign indeed.

Ten hours had passed since my last pinball game which meant time to swallow more horse pills. I did, but I broke them in half before swallowing which made it easier, somewhat, without too much chalk. Hopefully, if my problem was truly the low potassium I should wake up in the morning with less pain. I hope, I hope, I hope.

The question now is why? Why am I now experiencing low potassium?

I did some research and looked for an exhaustive list on the side-effects of chemo. I found a list entitled “Chemotherapy Side Effects – Understanding what they are“ and found Hypokalemia (Low Potassium) on the list.

I had all of the symptoms of moderate Hypokalemia (between 2.5 to 3.0), confusion, disorientation, weakness, irregular heartbeat, leg discomfort, extreme thirst, and discomfort of muscles. I had lots-o-cramping as well when trying to do anything around the house. I often needed to sit between tasks.

Yes, I need an iPhone app or a lab in my home, something that will let me know what’s going on with my body. I never suspected low potassium and I certainly never suspected Cytoxan.