Monday, February 27, 2012

All A Fella Needs to Know About Having Stones

Passing a kidney stone is not quite as simple as the old kidney dropping them by the sack full.

Leading up to my birthday, I celebrated last weekend with a great dinner with my son and family, topped that off viewing a superb stage presentation by the Peking Acrobats.  Life was good.

Then things started going to hell in a hand basket..

Monday last (my birthday) no less, I commenced to feel sharp pains in my lower abdomen, not my back where kidney pain is supposed to originate.  Being the anti-sawbones guy that I am, I suffered through what I thought was minor indigestion.   It persisted throughout the night and into the next day.   I had had enough of the deal, so off we went to the hospital emergency room for treatment.

Have you ever been to an emergency room?  No?  Well, do yourself a favor and call your rancher buddy and have him shoot you, it will be less painful!

We arrived Tuesday at the ER at eleven o'clock (p.m.) and I was whisked in right away for an EKG and blood work.  Wow, this is going to be good.  But, that's where things started to break down (not my kidney stones, though).  After being sent back to the waiting area, where kids were screaming, parents whining, sick folks moaning, and waiting patients bitching (why do they call them patients?  (There is nothing patient about most of them.)  I waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally, after several hours, the pain subsided, and I said to hell with it, and left the ER.  We got home at three in the morning.

I didn't realize this is the nature of kidney stones.  They move just enough to fool you into thinking that things are improving, when all of a sudden, they stop the journey and all hell breaks loose, again, and again, and again.

This persisted until six o'clock Wednesday evening, when I once again headed for the ER.  This time I waited to be seen -- at midnight, no less.  More kids, parents, sick folks, and 'patients'.  Finally, I saw a doctor, and after enough poking, probing, Xrays, and CT scans, he decided I had a 4mm kidney stone (isn't that a comfortable looking little critter?) lodged in the plumbing and that it would pass at some point.  He juiced me up with an injection of Morphine, and sent me home (at five in the morning) with a saddlebag full of other stuff, from Flomax to Hydrocodone.  As long as I stayed medicated, I was good to go the four-hundred meters, but the stone, she did not pass.

Fortunately, I had a regular Dr. appointment on Friday morning.  I went in feeling as shitty as I did Monday, and my sawbones took one look, called his urology buddy and within a couple hours I was back in the hospital being prepped for surgery.

A nurse told me to undress completely and put on the gown she tossed at me.  Geez, that was a hoot!  She said,  "the ties go in the back".  Well, it was a little small and my ass was well exposed whenever I stood to walk, but that's probably better than if I'd have tied it in front.  So much for maintaining dignity in the hospital.

If the pain of the kidney stone was not enough, the doc ran me through the whole surgical plan.  He was going to go in through my peepee with a lighted wand all the way into the kidney to take a look around and to determine what he would do next.

GAWD!  Isn't that enough?

If he could, he would remove the stone, but in any case he was going to insert a stint (a perforated wire) with curleeques on the ends, into the tube between the kidney and the bladder (where the stone had taken permanent residence) so that fluid would drain properly.  OK.  Then it dawned on me that the wire (the thing in the photo at the right) was also going in through my peepee.  MY GAWD, what next?!

Well, I hit the table and once I regained my senses and the pain was gone, I realized how bad it really hurt.  I think a person adjusts to the pain and doesn't realize after a while how intense it really is.

The stint must be removed at some point!  Oh, No!   And guess what, it went in under general anesthesia, which was painless, but he announced that it will come out in his office, while I'm awake.  But, I get a little Lydocaine squirted up there to lessen the pain.

My gawd, is this torture or treatment?!

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