“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”*
Welcome to the toughest clinical topic in the Exploring Medicine course. This is a fun and challenging subject, in that it will bring relevance to some of the biology and chemistry that you have learned in high school and college. If you have been around hospitals much or even watched medical shows on TV, you have probably heard terms like D5W, normal saline, bicarb, and arterial blood gas (“ABG”), among many others. These terms are all references to fluid and electrolyte, and/or acid/base balance. As always, we will start with a presentation of a challenging clinical case; we will then pursue a limited discussion of relevant anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology. We will conclude this chapter with a return to our case scenario and discuss the diagnosis and treatment of this patient’s disorder and other related disorders.