How NOT to go to the ER after parathyroid surgery

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I woke up on day 3 post op and started having muscle cramps in my shoulder, leg, arm, my lips and finger tips were tingling… these were things my surgeon had told me to watch for.  We called the surgeons office and he told me to see my regular doctor… so called my General Practitioner, not really understanding why since I haven’t seen my GP for weeks, but got in two hours later.  On the ride in the car there the cramping started getting worse and worse,  I was tingling and having muscle cramps & spasms all down the left side of my body and it started cramping my diaphragm which made it feel difficult to breathe.  After explaining that my surgeon had said to watch for this my regular doctor didn’t know what to do,  and didn’t have the ability to run lab results quickly, so she called 911 and had me go to the emergency room in an ambulance…  At this point the cramping and numbness or “buzzy” feeling is getting worse and worse.. partly due to the low level of calcium in my body and the other due to me getting more and more upset and freaked about the cramping..  I got there and had to repeat everything once again to the ER staff that I’d told to the Hunky firemen that drove me to the hospital… uugggghhh..

I was sure I was having a stroke or a heart attack at this point, my fingers started cramping up like I had severe arthritis… and it felt like a huge weight was on my chest.  All my vitals were normal but I was still having all these symptoms.

How to not have all of this happen? If you start feeling muscle cramps or numbness, eat another tums! Calcium with Vitamin D, etc… The surgeon should have told me that rather than just warning me to watch for these symptoms and then sending me to the doctor that was clueless.  (not her fault, this isn’t her specialty and it was impressive that she caught the condition in the first place) When the doctor in the ER finally came into the room he said.. oh yeah… that’s common with this type of surgery, (Removal of an adenoma on your parathyroid gland) just take more calcium.  Duh!

What’s really maddening was that I had that “womens intuition” that you’d think at this age I’d be wise enough to listen to and I thought when I first started having the muscle cramps…  “I wonder if I should just take some more calcium” but I was afraid to over do the calcium and figured if it was that easy it would have been on my post op instructions.

Before the ER staff could get it together I closed my eyes and prayed… “God, help me“….  I started feeling large hands on my head, cradling it and the numbness and muscle cramping started lessening, starting at my diaphram the cramping diminished, the pressure lessened, and the tingling felt like it was being drawn out of my body to my head and out…..  within 5 minutes I was almost none of the previous symptoms and just a touch of numbness in my lips and fingertips.  Was it God? Did my body just re-regulate its hormone and calcium levels on it’s own?     Next time… I plan on praying FIRST!

The rest of my Parathyroidectomy journey:

Pt 5: 2 Days Post Operative

pt 4: Tomorrow is Surgery Day

pt 3: Consultation with the Surgeon

pt 2: Appointment with the Endochronologist

pt 1: I thought it was just Menopause

Definition :


Parathyroidectomy is surgery to remove parathyroid glands or parathyroid tumors. Parathyroidectomy is recommended when one or more parathyroid glands are producing excessive amounts of parathyroid hormone.