"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The pièce de résistance

This is what my kidney, bladder and ureters look like right now, as of Friday evening. I have a swollen and backed up kidney, a swollen, irritated ureter, a stent in place, and a 5 mm stone that so far doesn't want to go anywhere.

Anyone who follows my Facebook page knows that the past six weeks or so have been difficult for us in terms of sickness... there have been flus, fevers, coughing, vomiting, diarreah... doctor visits, blood tests, stool tests and more blood tests. As of this writing, we are still waiting to hear on whether or not Everett's blood disorder is going to require treatment.

I try to keep most of that stuff off my blog, because really, who wants to read it?? But this was too much. There comes a time when a person just has to purge.

Mike was home from work on Thursday (he was on day three of the flu, complete with high fever, cold sweats and hot sweats), and I woke up, out of the blue, feeling like I was getting a UTI. Nah, why would I be getting a UTI? I drank a whole bunch of water, and got through the day. I was distracted because I was still nursing Tegan back to health (she too was on day three of a fever and had thrown up the night before) Friday morning Mike stayed home again - THANKFULLY - and the first thing I did when I got up was get pre-registered for a spot in Urgent Care. My symptoms were not going away no matter how hard I tried to ignore them. I was there promptly at 8:00, and was seen shortly thereafter. The urinalysis showed that yes, I had an infection, but more concerning was the huge amount of blood in my urine, that didn't seem to jive with a simple UTI. He said we'd assume for now it was just from the infection, but that I needed to follow up with a doctor in a couple of days. So off I went with a prescription in hand, shaking my head at the randomness of getting a UTI in the middle of everything else.

I dropped off my prescription at CVS, came home and ate a huge piece of chocolate cake (I will always remember that, because I had to disclose what and when I last ate to all the doctors and nurses later at the hospital) I was online, answering some emails and browsing around Facebook when the pain started hitting me. I was trying to craft a message to a friend who I'd unintentionally offended which led to her taking me off her friend's list. I will always remember that because I at first attributed the increased pain to feeling stressed about the situation. It didn't take me long to realize that that was not the case. Shortly after that, I was doubled over in pain, barely able to walk, speak, or make any kind of coherent sense. Two hours from the time I'd gotten home from the doctor's, we were back in the car, headed to the ER.

I have to stop here and say that up till this point, I would have told you, without hesitation, that my gall bladder attacks were the most painful thing I've ever experienced. That is no longer true.

Mike signed me in at the ER, then left with the kids. We had no one to watch them, and I didn't want them in the hospital with their immune systems already so compromised with the month they'd had! The hardest part of those first couple of hours, besides the searing pain of course, was`just being there all alone. I got a room after just a few minutes, and they started murmuring about a kidney stone right from the beginning. They had me give a urine sample, and took blood, and otherwise left me sitting hunched over - it hurt too much to lay down - shaking and nauseous (really regretting the chocolate cake by that point) in the little exam room. They took me for a CT scan, and wrapped me in warm blankets. Finally my nurse, who coincidentally remembered me from a previous visit, became my personal savior and brought me drugs. An anti-nausea drug, and morphine. Oh the sweet, sweet relief of morphine.

The pain relief made everything much easier, as did the fact that my mom came down to watch the kids so that Mike could come sit with me at the hospital. I'd kept him updated by phone as I got each bit of information. Yes, there was a stone. It was 5 mm, a good size but not the biggest ever. A urologist would have to be consulted because my kidney and ureters were extremely irritated and swollen, and the stone was blocking the path to the point that urine wasn't getting through. The urologist looked at the x-rays and announced that I'd have to get a stent, basically a tube to let everything drain.... which would require general anesthesia, a breathing tube, recovery, and the whole she-bang. Seriously?

A few hours later we were down in the OR, feeling a very unpleasant sense of deja-vu. It was just over a year ago that we were there for my gall bladder surgery. My favorite part was the drugs that they gave me to relax, just before they wheeled me in. Good drugs. Everything was blurry after I woke up, with the exception of the overwhelming, and overwhelming painful, urge to pee. I did finally go, but it did nothing to relieve that awful feeling. The doctor told me - in my drug induced haze - that it was just irritation from the stent, and that it might, or might not, go away as my body got used to it. Swell. It was Mike who actually got the most information from the doctor though, as the nurse got me up and unattached from everything and dressed again. The procedure went well, but the amount of damage in my kidney and ureters was not consistent with just a few days of pain. He said something had been going on for a while, that this wasn't a simple case of a kidney stone. Which means... xrays next week, a follow-up with the doctor, and in the event that the stone doesn't pass on its own, yet another procedure to remove it.

I'm on antibiotics now, and pain killers. Feeling woozy and sore and uncomfortable, and I get to pee in a strainer. Mike goes back to work tomorrow, and I'll have to figure out how to take care of myself, the kids, and the house without any assistance. Oh and I have to deal with the water heater guy on my own too, since ours exploded yesterday afternoon and we're getting it replaced tomorrow.

Ah, life.

1 comment:

Erika Seirup said...

Jen! What a time you guys have had...I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that pain again! I hope you and the whole family are on the mend and back to normal, and SOON!


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