In late April I was in southern Illinois. I had an IOU from a campground I stayed at last fall and wanted to use it on my way back to The Homeland (northern Illinois).
My plan was perfect…
- I’d use my IOU and spend a week in southern Illinois where the temps were more to my liking.
- In early May, I’d head north once The Homeland warmed up.
An Irregular Heartbeat Changed Everything
While in southern Illinois, I began having heart palpitations. I also didn’t feel quite right.
At first, I ignored it… thinking it was my thyroid. When my thyroid is out of whack I feel weird (not quite right) and I can have a few minor heart flutters.
It didn’t take long to realize the weirdness wasn’t thyroid and the flutters were more than fluttering.
Weighing My Options For Medical Help
As I drank a glass of Propel (an electrolyte drink) I considered which route to take for medical help.
- I could seek medical help in southern Illinois -or-
- I could drive 5 1/2 hours to The Homeland and see my regular doctor.
After drinking Propel I began to feel better and the palpitations subsided.
I’d been feeling exhausted and, since the palpitations stopped, decided to wait until morning to make any decisions.
For the record, I used to work in the ICU and Cardiac Telemetry unit. This can be a good thing as I have some knowledge about how the heart works (even if it’s a bit faded and outdated). It could also be a not-so-good thing as people with “knowledge” can be more stubborn when it comes to their own medical needs.
Shortly after waking up… the palpitations were back.
Without hesitation, I decided to cut my plans a week short and head to The Homeland.
This decision cost me the remaining IOU from the campground. But, I felt good about my decision to leave.
Making A Quick Plan
The Homeland temps were going to be cold the next few days with daytime temps in the 40’s and nightly temps in the 30’s.
I’m fine with night temps in the 30’s as long as it’s warm enough during the day… and 40 degrees is NOT warm enough during the day!
There are very few hotels I can stay at (due to my MCS). None of them come without consequences but… I had to pick my poison and I was definitely not in the mood to deal with the cold.
Thankfully there’s a hotel I can stay at in The Homeland without too many MCS issues.
Seeing The Doctor Didn’t Go As Planned
Back in The Homeland…
I ended in the Emergency Room before I could see the doctor.
Before my post-ER-follow-up with my doctor… I ended up in the ER a second time.
The Results Were In
My thyroid is a tad off… but it didn’t warrant a medication change.
The cause of my symptoms was a low potassium level. This could explain why I briefly improved after drinking Propel.
Why My Potassium Dropped
My potassium dropped because of a blood pressure medication I’ve been taking.
The medication can cause low potassium levels which is why I have regular lab work done to check my level.
Over time, I had to be prescribed a higher and higher dose of potassium to keep my level in the normal range.
To keep my level under control I’d been taking a high dose of potassium, eating high potassium foods and drinking Propel.
But it wasn’t enough.
My Beef About High Blood Pressure
I’m doing everything I can to keep my blood pressure under control so I asked my doctor what else I can do.
His reply… “There’s nothing you can do. It’s all in your genetics”.
My thought is, if it’s genetics… why bother trying.
But I have a stubborn side and hope to prove that I can overcome genetics.
However… I won’t go making any promises.
Since My ER Visits
There have been lots of medication adjustments. It hasn’t been easy to find a medication I’m not allergic to and/or don’t have serious side effects from.
The first few weeks, I mostly hibernated. Exhaustion and severe inflammation made simple tasks more challenging.
At the campground, people checked on me if they didn’t see me out and about. I’m thankful people are watching out for me!
I still have mild swelling. My blood pressure is coming down – but it’s still too high.
The good thing is… I’m starting to feel more human.
Since emerging from hibernation, I’ve been walking more. One day I walked so much that I was stiff and sore the next day!
I’ve gotten medical help while on the road but, when possible, I prefer my own doctor or a doctor I’ve seen before. For that reason, I’d rather not venture too far until this blood pressure stuff is under better control.
I’m foregoing any plans to head to the west coast for the summer. Gas prices helped make that decision final!
I may attend a meet-up with some lady van-life friends in Michigan but, other than that, I’ll most likely hang around the northern Illinois / southern Wisconsin area for the summer.