Potassium update 2 – a better way…

As far as I’ve been able to ascertain, it’s impossible to buy potassium in anything below 100mg tablets (currently I have 200mg tabs which I cut in 4), but cutting tablets isn’t wildly accurate even with a splitter, so I came up with a better method.

Crush five 200mg tablets finely (a Continue reading

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The potassium question – a Chronicles of the Heart supplement…

Are some of my heart problems related to potassium deficiency?

For years now, I’ve been supplementing with potassium chloride, as I’m taking 4 drugs which cause potassium deficiency – see this post.

Anyway, the supplement eased a lot of the heart problems that have plagued me for years (I have had heart problems that no bugger has taken seriously since the mid 80s, and then everything went to hell last year). After a couple of false starts with heart failure drugs, we settled on Candesartan, a thoroughly nasty drug which, though, is very effective (was, rather, as it is no longer as effective, though I crash in flames if I don’t take it).

It does, among its many unwanted side effects Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 34…

This morning, with my heart banging and clattering like a broken sludge pump, and with me becoming increasingly distressed, I then, to make matters very much worse, had an asthma attack which, for me, manifests itself as a coughing fit!

For this I have an inadequate supply of codeine linctus – inadequate because without it I’ll cough until I either puke or pass out – or both, which is extremely dangerous. Coughing also puts a severe – and avoidable – strain on my heart.  Not that my GP gives a shit as he flatly refuses to prescribe enough.

So anyway, I took a dose and within minutes my heart had quietened down.

So why did codeine shut down, or at least modify, my heart’s malfunctioning? I simply don’t know, as Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 33…

Since my GP has no interest in checking to see whether I’m still alive and, if I am, what condition I’m in, and my cardiologist has apparently been abducted by aliens (hopefully doing unspeakable things to the useless sod!), I’ve made an executive decision and doubled my heart drug – just one more rung on the self-medication ladder.

I’ve been taking Candesartan for about a year, at 4mg a day. It’s a pretty nasty drug, it has to be said, but there’s no denying it’s effective. What it’s mainly been effective at, Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 32…

I thought this might be a good time to describe the level of health care I’m conspicuously not getting, for a life-threatening condition. And that’s the important bit – sorry about all you people waiting months, but we know I’m dying, you’re probably not.

Average life span for my condition after diagnosis, is 2 years, or the 2-year survival rate is 50%, depending on which research paper you favour – either way, I’m into my second year and I’m screwed, as after the second year the odds against the further survival of the 50% must be getting pretty damn short . Always assuming I make it that far, which is by no means certain.

I’ve been writing this over several days (4 days to write just over 2,200 words is totally absurd – that’s an hour’s work on a good day, and two at most), and, because I’m peeing every 10 minutes – seriously, my Furosemide has gone into overdrive this week –  it keeps getting left, and I get distracted by writing something else that’s more time-sensitive, then I’m tired cos of all the walking back and forth…  So if the chronology is a bit off – and I’ve done my best to sort it out – that’s why.

It’s now one month and five days since I wrote this letter to my cardiologist (and January since I saw him last), since when I have heard not a word.

In it I pointed out that, among very much else, I was going downhill so fast I needed skis; indeed, I have had to radically scale back what minimal level of activity I have been able to indulge in.

Luxuries, like the wildly exciting Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart addendum – running out of Candesartan…

If you’re taking Candesartan, aka Amias (and can tolerate the side effects!), I have a word of advice – do not ever run out.

On Tuesday night, putting my meds together for Wednesday morning, I realised – though I will swear til hell freezes I should have had a sheet left, and the date on the box confirms that (I think I need to look to my security) – I had no Candesartan tabs.

So, just after 4 o’clock on Wednesday morning, I faxed an urgent repeat scrip  request to my GP, so it would be there, waiting, as soon as they opened up and would, I hoped, be delivered later in the day.

Given the seriousness of my situation – depending Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart Part 31…

At the weekend I got an unexpected letter from my cardio consultant (you may recall that I’d previously written to him pulling out of all the planned tests because I was simply too ill to attend the hospital). Rather than telling me to sod off – which I expected – he asked me to let him know when I felt I could deal with the tests and “we’ll try and revisit the situation”. Not a guarantee, clearly, but better than I’d anticipated.

It’s not quite that simple though, as my reply explains:-

Dear Dr. Xxxxxx,

Thank you for your letter of March 7; it’s much appreciated. I fear, though, that I might not have explained myself adequately last time. Nor would I have you think I’m in denial – I am all too aware of the seriousness of my situation. My main problem is Continue reading

Lucky? Not so you’d notice . . .

This morning, and throughout the day. I could barely stand or walk, couldn’t see properly, there is not a joint, or muscle group that doesn’t hurt and/or is swollen (in the case of my hip joints it’s both), and it’s been bloody hard to breathe, too; I couldn’t even use the phone, because I can’t breathe well enough to talk. This has been a perfectly normal Friday.

Because Thursday is the day I go to the pub. Though, to be honest, it’s not hugely different to most other days.

I was told, yesterday, I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m afraid I responded rather snarkily (sorry, fizzi), to the effect that the bill would fall due today – as it always does. And has. In spades.

I don’t feel particularly lucky. Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 30 …

Having given the matter a lot of thought over the past few weeks, I’ve decided to pull out of the tests my cardio consultant is lining up for me.

Partly this is a reaction to his snotty response to my telling him, politely, that I was withdrawing from a high-risk test, as I felt such a risk level was inappropriate in a purely diagnostic procedure (a 24% risk of stroke). I might have felt differently had it been a life-saving, or even enhancing, procedure – but I have my doubts, as my brain is pretty much the only organ that still works properly, and I’m sure as hell not putting it at risk.

The main reason, though, is that I can’t see any way these tests will benefit me – what Continue reading