Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Electrolytes

I'm stuggling with electrolytes this week. The only science I studied in university involved plant reproduction and I'm quite behind in the worlds of potassium and hydrogen and their cation and anion friends, extracellular and intracellular fluids and other basics of biochemistry that everyone else seems to absorb with ease. So I have to slog through it and it's no fun at all. In the fall I mastered metabolic and respiratory acidosis/alkalosis (too boring/complicated to explain but essentially when you have too much acids or bases in your body because you're in some sort of physical distress) so I have the confidence that one day I, too, will be able to calculate an anion gap with ease and let you know why, exactly, we want to avoid hyperkalemia. Or not.

This Thursday I will be in the operating room all day. A friend of mine saw a below-the-knee amputation, inguinal hernia repair and a ERCP (gall bladder exploratory surgery) last week. I'm not sure if I'm excited or not but I think it's in everybody's best interest if I skip any amputations. Our professors' advice: eat breakfast.

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