Today started with a blood draw, bright and early. The phlebotomist asked me what I was doing with the rest of my day. I’ll bet he didn’t expect my answer would be, “Staying home and peeing in a bottle!” but hey, I speak the truth. We both had a good laugh about that one.
When I got back from the lab, I measured my blood pressure and it was 165/125. For reference, that second number? Shouldn’t really ever be higher than 80. Mine’s usually in the high 80s, low 90s at most, but that’s because of the PA. For a brief moment I panicked and almost called 911, since a diastolic reading of over 110 is considered hypertensive crisis and holy crap 125?! Then I thought I should check it again: 165/100. Which is ballpark for where it’s been throughout the past three days, and where it should be while taking the sodium. Then just to be certain, a few minutes later, 155/95. Whew. Crisis averted.
Second moment of panic came while I was on the phone dealing with an insurance issue. My network of friends checking up on me called, and I didn’t know how to use the call waiting. (Yes, I’m an old fart who doesn’t really know how to use her smartphone! In fact, I thought I had call waiting disabled. Oops.) When I hung up I had a couple of panicked texts and voice mails and – I felt kinda dumb about the whole thing. But I suppose it was a good test of the emergency support system – at least we know it works!
Anyway, I’ve got one more dose of the NaCl, then tomorrow morning I get to pee in the bottle one last time, and then drop my little offering at the lab, and I’m done. And as long as nobody at the lab screws up*, I don’t have to do it again.
So now that all is said and done? The scary stuff out there about the risks of this test, including potassium dropping too low and stopping the heart, or stroke or aneurysm due to the elevation in blood pressure from the sodium, seem to me to be a bit exaggerated. I think I got lucky on this one – since my “normal” blood pressure, unmedicated, is on the low end of high, the sodium didn’t cause too much of an increase. The other expected side effects – nausea, headache – were only during the first day, and were really minimal. This test seems to have a really bad reputation, but all in all it was pretty unremarkable.
*This morning I had to tell the phlebotomist how to correctly do the blood draw for renin, although there seems to be several schools of thought contradicting each other on this one.