time’s winged chariot

February 17, 2006

It is a strange thing to be close to death. I almost died last night and did not know it. And I am not yet over the hump. I was miserable all night, for sure. But not until this morning did I figure out the cause: it seems a Potassium overdose cramped up all my muscles, overloading my entire body. A salt substitute was the cause: in my attempt to choose a “healthy” alternative to salt the other day, I discovered a product that just about killed me. Literally. I spent last night alternating between sweats and chills. Periodically I would get up to, painfully, use the bathroom. I tried to drink water, but it was difficult to force into my throat. Now I know that even my swallowing muscles were hindered, making it difficult for me to swallow, speak and, dangerously, breathe. By the time it was late enough for me to gratefully give up my vain attempts at sleep, my muscles were so constricted that I stumbled around in an attempt to walk. My body was just refusing to function. A few anxious phone calls later, I reached a doctor-friend who “diagnosed” me and coached me through the next few steps. So I wait. I watch for signs of further danger, and I wait for my kidney, liver, and intestines to flush out of my system this necessary for life—and deadly—mineral . . .

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