Crazy, crazy week. At the end of the week, as I write this update, David is once again, for the 2nd time this week, a resident of Duke University Hospital.
As the attached pictures show we had some fun times this week. David got a surprise visit from his brother, Steve. Steve arranged the surprise weeks in advance, with some specific, fun activities for Dave in mind. My job, was to keep the secret of Steve’s visit and work with Dave’s team to keep Dave’s schedule open. They were very happy to do so. Having visitors is a huge deal to the transplant team for Dave, since he is so far from home.
Dave often mentions visiting the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, along with Hendricks Motor Sports. Home of several great racing teams, where you can tour their garages’, including Dale Earnhart, Jr’s. This was one of Steve’s surprises. So Dave’s labs were run early Monday morning instead of Wednesday, as we needed Wednesday open for the trip to Charlotte.
Since I couldn’t leave Dave home alone, due to his recent falling episodes, I did finally tell him about Steve’s visit just prior to leaving for the airport.
On the way to the airport we get a call from Dave’s team, “get Dave to the ER ASAP!”
His potassium level was close to 7 and he is a high risk for cardiac issues, as he is severely dehydrated and needs fluids.
Dave replied, “not until we pick up Steve from the airport. We are just pulling in.”
So we grabbed Steve and ran to the ER.
Seems we are now dealing with Hyperkalemia – excessive potassium in
bloodstream. In Dave’s case, his potassium was 6.8, which put him in the severe category and a high risk for cardiac problems. Which was the reason for the urgent call. After 7 hours in the ER, the 3 EKG’s apparently supported these concerns, and Dave was once again admitted to get re-hydrated and bring his potassium levels within a normal range. Apparently, high potassium causes low blood pressure. This is the reason for Dave’s recent bouts of BP drops and blackouts.
Understanding the huge importance Steve’s visit was to Dave, his team made every effort to get him to a point they could comfortably release him. And they did by 5:00 pm on Tuesday. Steve had great seats waiting for the 2 of them at the Carolina Hurricanes Hockey Game. They made it with 10 minutes to spare before the puck dropped.
Wednesday found the 3 of us in Charlotte enjoying the racing venues Dave wanted to see the most. It has been a long time since I spent a
day with just my 2 boys. What a great time we had!
Steve left for home and Dave, worn out from all the fun, slept almost the entire day away. Yesterday we went back for labs in the morning. No surprise, his potassium is again high. We went to the Infusion Center for 2 bags of fluid hoping it would do the trick. By evening his potassium level was again 6.1 and again his EKG was showing the peaked T waves so he was admitted to Duke again, where he will most likely stay until this is all figured out. We know he obviously isn’t flushing out potassium. We just don’t know why.
Saturday morning, Dave’s potassium level fell within normal limits. Although, instead of sending home, he is staying in the hospital. His Drs want to see if after receiving such large quantities of IV fluids how long before, or if, his potassium levels will increase. If there isn’t any increase, then a couple believe it may be happening because Dave is not taking in enough fluids and he is eating foods with high potassium when at home. In other words his own fault (trust me
Saturday evening, Dave’s potassium level rose higher than when he was admitted despite all the hydration. It was now 6.4. It is clear his body is not excreting potassium, but why?
Apparently Dave’s liver specialist had an “ah ha” moment around 11:00 last night at home while going over all Dave’s notes. He then made a call early this morning to the Renal Specialist. This morning the Renal Specialist has been consulted and showed up bright and early. Dave’s kidneys appear to still be functioning properly so why is potassium not being excreted properly? Going to start running tests tomorrow looking at his adrenal glands. They are located next to the kidneys. Fingers crossed he will find an answer and there will be another magic pill to fix it.
FYI – Dave’s primary anti-rejection medicine increases potassium levels. So the medicine keeping his organs from rejecting could be a major cause of this And the BK Virus. What a frustrating situation!!!
Hope you enjoy the pictures.
As always, thanks for caring.
Linda and Dave