Monday, May 4, 2009

Maybe a reason???

Charlie's part-time nurse was thinking aloud the other night and she said, "When I have muscle spasms, the tell me to eat more potassium." A light bulb went off over my head! Charlie has ALWAYS had low potassium. Every lab she's ever had came back low. Other things are wacky too, but potassium was always the doctor's main concern. They would keep her an extra night in the hospital just to give her potassium in her IV fluids and check her levels again to make sure it went up. But then she'd be low again, the next time we went in. So if she's chronically low in potassium, maybe this is her body's way of showing it? The one thing that stood out to me in the list of symptoms was irregular heartbeat. Charlie gave us quite a scare the other night when her heart went a little crazy. It's been a bit irregular for a while, but her nurse almost had to call the squad she got so bad!

So I'm giving her bananas, spinach, and pear juice through her Gtube 4 times a day. It's tough though because she doesn't tolerate much and you have to really be careful to prevent puking. I'm calling her pedi today to run my ideas by him. Maybe he can prescribe a potassium supplement because trying to fit so much food in her Gtube is frustrating. I was also going to discuss calcium and magnesium with him. Apparently all these things work together in the body to be absorbed correctly.

I'm going to be really ticked off if all of this was caused by a nutritional deficiency. I would have some not-so-nice things to say about formula, as if I need another reason to hate it. I'm past the point of caring about offending people who use it, by choice or necessity. It's not meant to sustain human life. Period. My child especially went from doing really well to really poorly when I put her on formula. If your child does wonderful on it, consider yourself lucky. It could be much worse.


Emily said...

How low is her potassium usually? If it's above 3.0 then it would be highly unlikely to cause severe problems like heart arrhythmia, not to mention the cardiac problems that hypokalemia cause have to do with the way the heart beats, not the rhythm. Have they tested her magnesium levels. Low magnesium can cause hypokalemia.

Michelle said...

For high potassium, you can also try coconut water - it has more potassium than bananas and it seems like it might be easier to absorb (though I know nothing at ALL about g-tubes).

Shauna said...

I honestly don't remember what her potassium levels were before. I called the doc monday and he agreed that if it's low enough, it could cause the problems or make them worse. We did the finger stick yesterday and he'll probably call us tomorrow. We're checking calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Emily said...

I would not rely on a finger stick for a potassium level. My daughter has a potassium wasting disorder and they will never allow us to do finger sticks for a BMP because it can skew the potassium level.

Shauna said...

Well crap. Oh well. I'm insisting they do a full work-up on her at Children's anyway and if they won't help us we're going to go to Cleveland Clinic.

Nicole said...

Here's a list of potassium levels

These are the foods listed that are over 725 mgs of potassium (1/2 cup raw unless otherwise noted)

Potato, baked, 1 large with skin 844
Apricots, dried 895
Avocado, Florida, ½ medium 742
Honeydew melon, ¼ medium 875
Peaches,dried, uncooked 797

I'm thinking avocado would be your best bet (for some reason florida avocado is higher in potassium than california?). It's one of the first foods they recommend for infants and should be gentle on the stomach. That and maybe honeydew.