How Ibuprofen Almost Killed Me

Yesterday morning, I went in for my physical and my doctor decided to draw a metabolic panel. My veins aren’t always particularly helpful, when someone wants to draw blood, and they chose one that had never been used before, but otherwise it went smoothly. From there, i continued on with my day, driving 30 minutes for a 5 minute appointment about my cpap machine, then coming back for an appointment for my 4 year old, before picking up the teenager for karate.

I had just gotten home, and sat down. I was contemplating finally taking off my bra, and Arienette, of course, had already gone into her room, and gotten completely naked, like the 4 year old nudist she is, when, around 9:00, I got a phone call from an unknown number.

The male voice on the other end explained that he was one of the doctors at the office I go to, and that the hospital had called him about my potassium level. I got frustrated. My potassium level has been wonky since my Dr put me on the water pills for my water retention, but I am taking supplements for it, so, I told him I would take extra supplements, and thanked him. He stopped me.

“No,” he said, “Your potassium level is 2.7. You need to take two supplements right now, and go to the emergency room.”


So, I thought about it for a minute. I didn’t understand how my levels could have gone that low… normal is between 3.5 – 5. I take it every day like I am supposed to… and then I knew. A couple weeks ago, I saw my doctor about nerve pain in my shoulder, and she prescribed me ibuprofen, after I told her not to. I don’t take ibuprofen, because it has no effect on me, but she sent over the prescription, and, because it was ready at the same time as my antidepressant, I had to pick it up. When I filled my pill boxes two weeks ago, I forgot I had ibuprofen, and, since it looks exactly like my potassium, and comes in the same bottle… I have been taking shitty painkillers for two weeks rather than my potassium supplements.

I called my mother, to let her know what was going on, and brought Ari over there, before going to the ER. They retested my level, which was now 2.6, and hooked me up to an IV until just after midnight. Then, they told me to triple my potassium intake until Monday, when they want me to come back for more blood work. Yay.

I will be bringing my mother the remainder of the ibuprofen, just so this never happens again.




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