Killing Me With Calcium

For those of you guys who were wondering how we ended up spending the afternoon at the ER last Sunday, here’s the story. BTW, I would have posted this sooner but it has been a really busy week.

Following my thyroidectomy, I was on a schedule of Cytomel twice a day — at 4 am and 4 pm — and then Calcium three times a day — at 8 am, 12 pm, and 8 pm. I had a prescription for Lortab which I didn’t touch because Tylenols were sufficient to keep the pain at bay. I think I only took 5 Tylenols total. I didn’t really need any pain meds because I wasn’t in any pain per se. Mostly I just felt discomfort. The way I described it to Brian is that it was like my neck was sore from a really good workout. I’ve never really needed pain meds a day or so after a really tough Group Power or Boot Camp class so I think that’s how I got by not needing pain meds after surgery. I kept joking that it’s because I’m part Viking but, in reality, I think it’s just ’cause I’m used to being sore all over.

Oh, and contrary to what ya’ll are thinking, the trip to ER last weekend had nothing to do with the “vaginal rest” post on Facebook. It mostly had to do with the Calcium. Well, that and the chest pain that I felt when I woke up on Saturday morning. It actually caused me more discomfort than my neck/throat and I couldn’t get it to go away. It didn’t help that Brian realized that I was overdosing on Calcium. The doctor had prescribed about 300 mg of Calcium three times a day but, when Brian went to the pharmacy, they sold him over the counter Citracal, which they told him was the same thing. Brian looked at the bottle which said the recommended dosage was only twice a day. Upon closer inspection of the bottle, we realized that the Citracal contains 630 mg per tablet. So I was getting twice the amount of Calcium that I really needed. We were both worried that the excess Calcium was what was causing me chest pain.

When I woke up on Sunday morning, the chest pain was still there so I called the doctor. Dr. Sunderland wasn’t available, but the nurse said she would page the on-call doctor. By noon we still hadn’t heard back so we called again. This time the nurse told us that the on-call doctor recommended that we go to the ER, so off we went.

After getting poked and prodded (again), blood tests, an EKG test, and x-rays the ER doctor determined that I was fine. The chest pain I was feeling was just normal discomfort following the type of surgery that I had. And we didn’t really have to worry about overdosing on Calcium because your body just expels the excess minerals in your urine. Your body takes what it needs and you just end up peeing the rest of it out. Who knew? Well, I think maybe I knew that already but the chest pain was clouding my judgment.

I wish we wouldn’t have panicked because we ended up spending almost the entire day at the ER. We were there for almost 4 hours. They had some emergency situations come in around the same time that I was there and, since I wasn’t bleeding or unconscious, I was pretty much put on the back burner. But whatever. It’s not like I had anywhere else to go. I couldn’t go to Zumba because I’m not supposed to workout for a while. My Sunday was wide open.

Anyway, I met with Dr. Sunderland on Tuesday to get my stitches out and we went ahead and brought the paperwork from the ER on Sunday. I’m glad we did because they used that information instead of drawing more blood. I really hate getting my blood drawn. I have such small veins that even the most experienced nurses have trouble. It usually ends up being traumatic for me.

The other good news that I had is that my parathyroid seems to be functioning okay which means I don’t really need to take the Calcium. Dr. Sunderland recommends that I take them anyway because I’m a woman and women need Calcium. These tablets are gargantuan, though. I was quite relieved on Saturday when we thought I was taking too much and we dropped it down to twice a day. After my visit with Dr. Sunderland, Brian and I agreed I could probably get by with just one Calcium tablet a day. Also, I graduated from Cytomel to Synthroid following this last visit so now, instead of taking medication multiple times a day, I just take my Synthroid once at 4 am and then my Calcium tablet at 8 pm. You guys probably think I’m weird because I keep such a strict medication schedule but Brian has been doing some research, and actually the doctor has said the same thing, the medicines work better when you take them at the same time each day.

Here’s to hoping that there are no ER trips or needles in store for me this weekend. Hopefully there won’t be any more surgeries for either. Blech.

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"What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility."

~ Leo Tolstoy