It seems each time I am ready to put some thoughts down for you guys, I’m apologizing. Before surgery, I felt like I had a deadline. I had to get to at least one entry a day for the WEGO Blog Challenge and if I could get to a second, that would be awesome! I really thought I could make all 30 entries before the 22nd. Well, I give myself an ‘A’ for effort and I will finish them hopefully before the next challenge in April! Ha ha! So again, my apologies, Dear Readers, for pretty much sucking at timely blogging.
I recently spent a weekend in Michigan that I am dying to tell you all about! It was so amazing that it will simply take me more than one entry to get to everything. I have pictures galore, too! You know how I love to share visuals with you guys! This is just one blog topic I have on a list of several, but…I’ve been back for almost 2 weeks now and have been detoured from sharing. Why? Well, it seems I have a new hobby.
So, what do you like to do for fun?
Well, my new hobby is to constantly make anguished noises. Aaaarrrgghhh! Rrrgghh! See! Pretty good, huh?
A new hobby, you ask? Well, not necessarily new. Let’s first rewind to August 2011 when I passed my first kidney stone. It’s a great story, as they all are, right? Well, I had been having urgency issues, but not the Crohn’s kind. The “I have to pee right now or I’m going to pee my pants”, kind of urgency. And when that happened, I never felt as if I was fully relieved. Now, for those of you who have experienced dehydration, you are familiar with that nagging feeling like you still have to go but there’s nothing in there. You have to guzzle a couple bottles/glasses of water, get yourself a bit more hydrated, have a real pee and all is well. But this wasn’t helping either. I knew these signs but I couldn’t figure out how or why I’d have a UTI (urinary tract infection). During one of those urgency moments, I passed the mother of all stones. I was kinda freaked out because at that moment, it didn’t hurt at all, it just, well, happened. However, the night before, I thought I was dying. I was having severe pain on my right side and I thought it was my hip alignment and all my “old lady” pain. I had two heating pads, one on the front and one on the back. I wouldn’t even let my boyfriend at the time get near me…he was a snuggler and I swear if he got near me, I would have punched him in the face. I basically overdosed myself on Advil and was in agony. He thought I should go to the ER and I was totally against it because I didn’t know what was wrong and I was not about to go sit in an ER for “nothing”. I’m such an ass sometimes…LOL!
Urinary System AKA Renal System (of Man)
A sample of the different types of kidney stones. Mine tend to look like the top and bottom right.
Okay, back to passing this stone, I was in total disbelief. I took it to my computer and Google Imaged kidney stones and sure enough, it looked just like multiple ones on the screen. I had seen my mother’s stones before and it looked like them also. But, I had heard the pain of passing a kidney stone is worse than giving birth. There is no way the blinding pain I was in the previous night was all the pain there was to childbirth, right? So, I went to the doctor, looking all stupid with my stone in a Ziploc baggy and said, “I passed this. I think it’s a kidney stone. But I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do now.” (Thinking back on it, I’m laughing so hard, I have tears.) The doctor looked at me as if I had 3 heads and it was evident she did not believe I had passed this kidney stone. She explained there was no way I was not on the floor in the fetal position with blood present in my urine when I allegedly passed this stone. I seriously think she thought she was being Punked. So, she said she would send the stone to a laboratory to see exactly what it was, get a urine sample and have me scanned to see if there was any evidence of stones in my renal system. I dutifully peed in the cup. The scan was quick and back in the room I sat…waiting. Eventually, she came back into my room and was a brand new doctor. In a gentle, motherly voice she informed me I had passed the stone I brought in (DUH!), there was blood in my urine and the CT Scan film showed I had 11 stones between both of my kidneys (5 in the left one and 6 in the right one). Say whaaaaa?
CT Scan Machine
A CT Scan film showing a kidney stone.
I ended up at a urologist’s office and they too confirmed by looking at my scans and having the results of the compounds of my stone that I was full of kidney stones. Their plan of attack was to perform a series of the same procedure called a lithotripsy. It would take more than one treatment as they could only keep me sedated for so long. When I was told this procedure would break up the stones, I was in! Let’s do this! On the day of my first lithotripsy, I was dressed in a hospital gown, those super ugly socks they love to have you wear (and I brought my own fluffy socks to wear but wasn’t allowed) and a hair net. They started an IV where they gave me an antibiotic, Cipro, if my memory does not fail me. I was wheeled into the room where I was transferred to what looked like a hospital bed but the middle of it was like a water bed. My renal system (basically my bare butt) had to be strategically placed on the cold water bed section. They would use shock waves on the outside of my body to break up the stones. Luckily, they knocked me out for this as I needed to be perfectly still and my nerves would not allow that; however, it is standard procedure to sedate patients.
The next thing I know, I’m out of the surgery room, off the half-waterbed half-hospital bed, sitting up in a giant leather recliner. Apparently as I was still coming to, I was offered a choice of drinks and snack as I was sipping on a ginger ale and had a pack of crackers waiting to be opened. I felt more “drugged up” than I usual when coming out of a colonoscopy or upper GI endoscopy. While I was sitting up, looking wide awake and chatting with everyone, later I did not remember a thing…not even the ride home. Evidently, after I finished my drink and snack like a good patient, I was allowed to change back into my street clothes, was given my discharge instructions and released to go home. Thank goodness for David that day! I think I asked him the same five questions 13 times on the way home. Two of them being, “How many stones did they get?” and “From which kidney?” The surgeon was able to treat four stones in my left kidney.
Part of my discharge instructions were to use a urinary hat to collect my urine each time I used the restroom. I was then to pour the contents of the hat through a strainer to collect any and all bits of broken-up stones, otherwise known as gravel. By the time we had made it back home, I had to use the restroom. I got all my supplies together (they gave me an empty urine sample cup in which to keep my findings). I relieved myself, which was slightly painful, but nothing major. Major came when I saw the color of my urine and nearly passed out; it was black. Now I know I didn’t remember much of what I was told regarding my discharge instructions, but I was pretty certain black urine was not mentioned. I immediately called the emergency number and they acted like everyone has black urine everyday, all day. It was no big deal. It would eventually clear up as would the pain. So I pulled myself together and strained and collected. It was quite shocking just how much gravel the four stones produced!
Urinary Hat Strainer
Kidney Stone Gravel
Did I have the rest of the stones treated? How am I doing now, two+ years later? Well, all of that will be covered in Part 2 of this entry. The long and thorough background I provided will help you understand Part 2. I promise it will not be as long and I will post it as quickly as I can, as I know you are simply dying to find out what happened next.
In the interim, and as always, thank you so much for dropping by and reading today’s entry. I hope you enjoyed it and at least learned something! Feel free to leave questions or comments publicly or privately! Until next time…