Stories and Lessons from a Kidney Stone: Part I

What do you when you wake up one morning peeing blood, and have kidney pain???

Well, if you’re me you try to ignore it, brush it off as a UTI, take some herbal shit from your hippie medicine cabinet, and go about your day…for the next week or so.  And on some level it helped.  I think the infection I had did subside, especially in the kidney without the stone.

I’m the type of person who under reacts.  I always think it’ll get better on it’s own because for the most part things generally do.  Plus I don’t like to inconvenience anyone and I knew that I’d need to find someone to watch the kids and whatnot.  Annnnd I don’t trust western medicine.

kidney stone

The next Tuesday I was struggling to move or breathe because of the pain and started vomiting.  That’s when I texted Sal that I  might need to go to the ER.

When I was wheeled back to the ER I was put in the “safe room”. You know, the room they put the patients who might be a danger to themselves or others.  Score!  I wasn’t flailing about or cussing at anyone so I’m not sure why I got that room.  No one ever gave me confirmation if I was or was not put there for that reason.  They just kept smiling when I’d ask.  WTF?!?!  I still wonder…

Yeah, so I cannot just go into a hospital asking for Dilauded.  I'll look like a drug addict.

Yeah, so I cannot just go into a hospital asking for Dilauded. I’ll look like a drug addict.

But, I got a shot of Dilaudid while I was in there…a few hours AFTER getting in there because apparently patients with a stroke and a heart attack came in after me and they got priority.  I totally get that.  The doctor was apologetic when he came in a explained that the 5mm kidney stone patient (me) kept getting bumped down on priority.  I don’t mind waiting.  I just wanted to wait with drugs in my system.  I’ve had Morphine before but Dilaudid took pain management up a few notches.  That’s some good shit.  Why don’t they sell this stuff on the street.  Wait.  They do.  I found forums online of people shooting this stuff up in place of heroin and some people liking it more than heroin.  See, when drug addicts give their seal of approval, you know you’ve got the good stuff.  And good it was.  I hadn’t a care in the world.  I was flying high on Dilauded.  I was content, pain free, oh so pain pain free, I could lay in any position and it not hurt, but I was also loopy at shit.  I also cannot be help responsible for whatever words came out of my mouth while on drugs.

When I was being transported to my room after being admitted (mind you I was on drugs at this point), I asked the transport guy if he was taking me to the psych floor. I swore I thought they all thought I was not mentally stable and lying about a kidney stone since they put me in the “safe room” and didn’t give me pain meds for hours.  This had to have been the pain meds but those voices were quieted down with the carefree, on Dialudid, voice in my head that said, “You’re cool as a cucumber.  Nothing phases you.”

In the time I was there I had 5-6 nurses.  Something like that.  There was one who was a repeat.  I had 2 doctors. One urologist and one internal medicine.  Only one nurse was really really good.  I made sure I told her so too.  I made sure I complimented the shit out of her.  She deserved it.  She seemed to actually genuinely care and went out of her way for me.  One nurse yanked my arm down and forcefully injected morphine into my IV when I told her morphine wasn’t working and it wasn’t what I was given.  She basically told me I didn’t know what I was talking about and I just needed to give this a second chance.  Did it work? Nope.  She finally found the paperwork (which had been crumbled up – not sure why) and it said Dilaudid.  She had an “oh shit” look on her face and changed her tune.

The urologist saw me the next day and said that I needed the stone out immediately because of the damage/blockage it was causing since in it wasn’t passing.  I was put on the books for a noon surgery for removal.  Kidney stone removal.  I’ve had this done once before when I was in college.  It was more mortifying then because I hadn’t been through childbirth where a roomful of people can see your vagina.
kidney stone surgery
This kidney stone removal involved going up my urethra with a scope, camera, and a bunch of other tools (I’m not sure how they fit all those instruments up such a small tube) and either break it up and get it or just grab it and pull it out.  His goal was to not put a stent in.  The possible consequences of breaking it up is causing pieces to lodge up into the kidney and usually ends up with a stent to allow them to fall out over time.  When he went to grab the stone it flew up into the kidney and he had to fish around for it.  He was able to pull it all out though.  No stent needed.  However, my whole naked lower half of my body was on display for the 6 people in the surgical room.  I’m just glad I wasn’t awake to make eye contact with any of these people while the surgery was going on.  It’s not like a beautiful newborn baby is coming out and everyone ignores the vagina.  I was giving birth to a kidney stone, through my urethra.  Totally different.

Pain afterwards was more intense than it was before.  There was a lot more inflammation since there were lots of instrumentation up there and he had to go digging around for gold, I mean the stone.

It is things like this why western medicine is helpful.  Acute, emergency type situations.  From here, I will handle this a non-western route and get to the root cause of my now 2 episodes of kidney problems and stones.

I do not think my hippie medicine cabinet failed me.  I actually think it helped in this issue.  I did need a manual removal of the stone in order to clear the infection on the left side.  My right side was fine.  This is a case of complimentary medicine working.   I think that if I had gone to a traditional doctor prior to the ER, they’d have put me on antibiotics for a bladder infection and sent me home.  I’d still have a had the stone and I’d have had to have it removed anyway plus more antibiotics.  I do not regret my path or decisions.

I broke this post up into two parts because the second post is less funny and more of a serious tone.

Stories and Lessons from a Kidney Stone: Part II

2 thoughts on “Stories and Lessons from a Kidney Stone: Part I

  1. “I was giving birth to a kidney stone, through my urethra. Totally different.”

    I’m sorry for laughing … actually, I’m not, as I’m sure that was partly your intent. I’m glad you got that thing out, it sounds like a miserable experience. When you get a break from four kids, it should be a VACATION not a hospital stay.

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