Lucky for you, the other day I suddenly recalled that time I drank potassium. Maybe it's the cranberry vodka I had tonight since I had to give myself a Humira shot, but I've been waxing nostalgic about the ol' Crohn's Disease lately, and I just wanted to share. It feels good to put my struggles out there to you, dear readers, even if there may be some people that may not like it (i.e., a few of my college friends--you know who you are. You know what you did.).
Anyway, let me spin you a little yarn, that starts with a misdiagnosed "growth plate" that was actually an abscess, and ends with me being poured the nastiest glass of Mr. Pibb.
Summer 2007: While most people my age were kicking off summer jobs or lazying it up at the beach, I was too busy being sickly--I literally ran a fever every night.
|Having the Feve meant having the chills.|
A few days after my glorious fashion triumph, I noticed a swollen spot on my stomach. "Golly gee," I thought to myself, "that's not right!" Maybe not in those words, but you get the idea. Off to the ER we went, for fourth time that year! Turns out, the pain I had been experiencing in my lower abdomen/hip for over a month was not actually a growth plate, but an abscess. Really, I should have known something was off when they told me the growth plate was "normal" for teenage athletes.
I was whisked away to Vanderbilt, where I was scheduled to have surgery in just a few short weeks. I very much remember arriving after midnight, and a nurse was insisting that she accompany me to the bathroom. "NO THANK YOU," I believed I said as I slammed the door in her face. I was twenty, but still had a bit of a rebellious teenager left in me. Or, blame it in the painkillers they pumped into me on the ambulance ride.
It was a brutal week--it was a children's hospital and they didn't get VH1 or MTV...imagine, the horror! I acquired an addiction to Hannah Montana that I still haven't been able to shake. After five days, I was relieved to be going home, even if it was on IV antibiotics and nutrients. I fell into a peaceful rest watching the Scooby Doo movie, knowing full well that I would be preparing to leave when I awoke.
I woke in confusion to nurses bustling about the room, talking about something I needed to "take." What did I need to take? The flowers that were sent by my many admirers? An award for being the best patient over the age of 18? As it turns out, my potassium was low, too low, and I needed to drink it in powder form IMMEDIATELY. "Here," I heard a nurse say, "she can drink it in soda so she doesn't taste it." This lady had clearly never had straight potassium before. There is no substance in this world that can disguise the taste of it, in its pure form. I took one sip of the potassium laced soda and immediately gagged. It was the most awful thing I had (and still have) ever tasted, and I wanted no part of it.
My parents, sensing my anxiety, promised the nurses I would drink it on the way home. As we drove through the streets of Nashville, on our way to the interstate, my mom would ever so sweetly remind me, "Kaaatttee, make sure you're drinking it!" I would take the tiniest of sips, and retort "I AM." (Delayed teenage rebellion, remember?)
Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. After another check-in from my parents on the status of my Pibb-Potassium consumption, I broke down in tears. I begged them not to make me drink it, and promised I would eat all the bananas if it meant I didn't have to take even another sniff of that horrendous concoction. Naturally, the sick kid won that battle. We stopped at Hardee's on the way home and I got a milkshake.
The moral of this story, kids, is to always eat your bananas.