There’s something about potassium…

It’s been a busy couple of days. Let me see if I can get you caught up:

Friday: Seven swans a-swimming

Mom insists on Christmas shopping for the kids. usually my sister and I do her shopping, but I took her to Target once last spring to shop for their birthdays, and she remembered it.

However, I’ve learned (the hard way) that anytime I take her out into the world, it increases her chances of an “incident” that may result in another hospitalization. The woman is just so fragile…it could be any ONE of her ailments that causes it.

So I put my foot down: I’d take her, but ONLY if she was prepared to shop at 8:00 am. That way, the store would be much less likely to be packed, and it’d make my job easier. Mr. Hoagie was off from work, so he handled getting the kids to school (thanks, honey!).

I picked Mom up at her place at about 8:30 am. We headed to Target–in the POURING RAIN. I pulled up front, unloaded Mom (thank heaven for the golf umbrella), got her a motorized cart (thank heaven for the Target guy who showed us how to use it), and sent her off to shop while I parked the car (I have GOT to get me a handicapped placard).

Mom worked her way through girls’ clothes (thanks for the Christmas dresses!), the toy department, and swung back to pick up new dance leotards. Almost two hours and $200 later, we were done.

I pulled the car up (it was still POURING). I came back inside the store, collected Mom and our packages, and headed back out. As I took out the packages, a gentleman appeared from nowhere with an umbrella. He shielded me just long enough to throw the bags in the trunk and grab my own umbrella. I looked behind me, thanking the nice man profusely, and saw Mom hobbling toward the car with her walker, shielded by a lovely woman with another umbrella. I swooped up with my golf umbrella (thanking HER profusely now) and got Mom settled into the car.

Usually when strangers offer to help me, I’m uncomfortable with letting them. I can do it MYSELF, I think. But this time, it didn’t bother me. I was just plain GRATEFUL, and I really felt that someone upstairs was watching out for us.

So leaving Mom in the car with the hazards flashing, I darted back inside Target to the Starbucks nestled within. I ordered a couple of light peppermint mocha Frappuccinos and a couple of soft pretzels. Back out to the car…where Mom reminded me that she’s not supposed to have chocolate on her kidney diet. Or dairy. Something about high potassium.


She drank it anyway. We headed to her 11 am hair appointment. Then to the post office, to pick up my package full of Christmas presents (couldn’t pick that up with kids in the car), then off to lunch at a new pizza place. Mom’s dietician had said that she could have tomatoes and cheese in moderation, due to their high potassium level, so we ordered a white pizza with a few tomato slices.

So we’re sitting there at lunch when my cell phone rings. It’s the nurse at the kidney clinic. They just got her labs back from two days earlier, and her potassium is a little high.

“Really?” I asked, as I grabbed the last bite of potassium-rich slice number three out of Chiquita’s hand and threw it down on the table.

“Do you know if it could be because of her diet?” she asked.

“Well, I don’t eat with her at EVERY meal….” I’m terrified that she’ll somehow be able to peer though my cell phone and see what’s laid out on the table in front of us.

“We’ll need to test her potassium again…do you think you might be able to get her to a lab?”

So I made arrangements to take her to the local Vampires R Us–I mean, lab. We paid our check and I loaded her up into the car, grumbling about potassium the whole way.

“So what did you eat before that test, Mom?”

“Wasn’t that the day you brought me that bagel with cream cheese?”



We go to the lab, and Mom bets that it has to be a fasting blood test. So I hike up the stairs to see if they’d gotten the faxed order and to see if Mom could have it done that day.

Yes, and yes.

So back down the stairs, collect Mom and her walker, back up the elevator and into the lab’s waiting room.

Cue the Muzak. Pierced occasionally by the screams of a 13-year-old boy who’s CLEARLY terrified of needles.


He comes out after being successfully and painlessly stabbed in the arm. Chiquita’s turn.

Twenty minutes later, she returns. Apparently they only got about 3 drops out of her, and they don’t expect them to be able to test such a small quantity. We’ll probably have to come back next week.


We leave the lab, and I call home. Big Sis has a doctor’s appointment that day after school, and I was planning to leave Little Sis with Chiquita. It’s already after 2 pm, and I calculate that I’ll save at least half an hour in travel time if I just pick up Little Sis now and drop both of them at Chiquita’s.

As you can imagine, I’m getting tired. We pick up Big Sis from the bus, have an after-school snack consisting of a blueberry muffin, and have to leave. She’s still hungry, so I grab a cup of milk and a couple of peeled oranges and bring them to the car.

Upon discovering that the milk and oranges are her only options, Big Sis begins to pout.




Plead to be taken to McDonald’s.

Folks, that half-hour drive was HELL. By the time we get her in and out of the doctor’s office, Mr. Hoagie and I have HAD. IT.

And we still have to go collect Little Sis from Chiquita’s.

By the time we get home, it’s after 7:30 pm, and only 25% of us have had dinner.

Did I mention I had a party to host the next day?


About Kathleen

Kathleen Heuer is a serial arts advocate and volunteer. She is the mom of two beautiful girls, wife to a brilliant nuclear engineer, and referee between her golden retriever and her hissy 18-year-old cat. For more, go to
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3 Responses to There’s something about potassium…

  1. Bless your heart! I’m sure I wouldn’t have it in me to do all of that!

  2. Nessie says:

    I wish you a New Year filled with PEACE!

  3. Beq says:

    You did well managing all of that between Chiquita and the girls. Life isn’t easy, but you’re doing great!!

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