A few years ago I had a regular doctor’s appointment. At the time, we had just moved and my regular doctor was back near our old house, which was an hour away. For whatever reason, we only had one car at the time, so I used it to go to my doctor’s appointment. I had to eat every three hours in order to prevent hypoglycemia symptoms, so I brought my lunch with me and ate it in the car just before I went in to the appointment.
They checked my blood pressure, temperature, and pulse, and I waited for the physician’s assistant. She decided she wanted to do a routine EKG on me since she knew of my MVP diagnosis, so they brought me into a little room and hooked me up to all the wires and ran it. Then they ran it again. Then the physician’s assistant came in and put her hand on my leg and said, “I don’t want you to be alarmed, but it appears you’re having a heart attack and we need to get you to the hospital immediately.” I laughed. It was a bad joke that wasn’t in the least bit funny, but I laughed anyway. She just looked at me and said, “I’m serious.”
They called an ambulance and they put me on a stretcher and carried me out, in front of all the other patients I had just been sitting with a few minutes before. It was rather embarrassing, to say the least — especially because I felt absolutely fine. I told the physician’s assistant that I felt fine, but she said we could not argue with the EKG.
I called my husband and he had to get a friend to make the hour’s drive to bring him to me (from that point on we’ve always made sure to have two cars). By the time he arrived, the hospital had done blood work and they were convinced I had a severe electrolyte imbalance, which was causing the weird reading on the EKG. They pumped me full of potassium chloride and I swear, I felt like Wonder Woman. I felt like I could run a marathon. I felt like I could fly. I felt a-m-a-z-i-n-g. It was like what it must feel like to wake up from a coma — you didn’t know you were asleep, but you now feel very alive. Those were magic pills, for sure.
If you don’t eat regularly, and you’re drinking a lot of water, there’s a chance you could also have an electrolyte imbalance. I never realized it was such a serious issue, but that day taught me that it is. And it reminded me that I always have to have Gatorade with me.