K is for Potassium–No, really it is!


a-to-z-letters-kSome of you might remember in high school that they taught us the elements charts and chemical symbols for different things. K is the chemical symbol for potassium. There’s a reason for this, that I won’t even get into, but I’m told it has something to do with Greek or Latin or something.

When I was hospitalized in 2007 with septicemia, I was found to be potassium deficient. They gave me these big honking horse pills every day. Then, when I was checked out, they didn’t give me any to take home. But when I went to the doc a few weeks later for followup, he gave me some to take home. Was on them for about a year, then got off them. Then, after being hospitalized for congestive heart failure and the pulmonary embolisms a couple of years ago, they put me on Lasix. Lasix depletes potassium, so I now have to take TWO big horse pills every day, because just the one great big huge horse pill still has me in low levels of potassium.

I don’t know definitively what potassium does in the body, but I do know it’s extremely crucial for heart function. Strangely, prior to having to take potassium daily, I had started writing a book that has a current working title of BREEDERS (a futuristic sci-fi suspense thriller). The intro to that book reads:

Too much potassium could stop a heart. Too little could stop a heart, too, but in a less accurate, more painful way. Back when they used to still kill people with lethal injection, potassium chloride was one of the ingredients in the cocktails that were pushed by intravenous drugs to bring about death. With enough potassium, it’s a fast way to die. One way to commit murder or suicide would be to inject the victim with potassium, or somehow overdose them with pills, which would be much harder to do. The autopsy reports might show the extra potassium if they were looking for it, but chances are unlikely anyone would look for a murderer, as long as any needle marks could be missed–which they wouldn’t be. Unless one was suspected. Maybe then. Suicide by potassium overdose wouldn’t be fun. The heart would act erratic, and it’s likely there would be pain. And suffering.

These are the internal thoughts of one of the scientists in the lab. You’d have to read the story to understand how he’s a little whacked out, crazy at this piont, so this is a weird type of rambling he’s been doing. But I found the reference to potassium and the heart interesting, in light of what I’m dealing with now.

I’m going to have to finish that book some day, because I just love the story of it in my head. I have it all written out in my head, just need to get it down on paper now.

I did learn from the nurse in the hospital that even though the huge horse pills of potassium say not to split or crush that when they have to give pills to little people or to the elderly, they crush them and put them in juice or applesauce. The reason potassium pills apparently say not to split or crush is because they break apart into little pellets, tiny little pebbles. On days I’m having trouble swallowing my medication (especially these HUGE horse pills), I can now break them and make it easier to take. Which I think is better than not taking them at all–and that, sadly, is what I think a lot of folks sometimes do when faced with these gigantic horse pills.

Have I mentioned how HUGE these pills are? Why can’t they make them smaller? I haven’t a clue…

Love and stuff,



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2 Responses to “K is for Potassium–No, really it is!”

  1. Derek Odom says:

    Haha, I actually remember this one because it’s so odd. Also, I hate horse pills!

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