Friday, March 3, 2017


I had every intention of catching up here sooner.

I have a good excuse. 

Let me start by saying that I'm OK :-)   And then let me say that I do not recommend kidney stones in any possible way.

I hadn't felt quite well since last Thursday.  On Saturday, the pain started.  Bad pain.  I messaged Linda the Chicken Lady to ask her what it felt like when she would have an attack of diverticulitis.  But it wasn't that.  I lay down for awhile and the pain stopped.  On Sunday I went to a book study at church, and then to the store, and over to the dojo where they were having a vendor market - which was great!  But I left early because it felt like the pain was coming back . . .

It was - and it came back even worse this time.  After a discussion with my primary care doc, I drove myself to the ER with a possible kidney stone.  Level of pain at that time was 7 or 8.  Once I got to the hospital, the pain subsided and I felt like I was wasting everyone's time and my money - but the CT Scan showed a 4mm kidney stone.

This is apparently right on the edge, size-wise.  At 5mm they probably would have admitted me because 5mm is usually too big to pass.  But they sent me home with pain meds and and antibiotic because a 4mm stone should, in theory, pass on its own.  I had some anti-nausea med left over from my shoulder surgery last summer, so I was armed with everything I needed.

I stayed home from work on Monday. Unfortunately my arsenal of drugs were not effective because I was not able to keep anything down.  Who knew that a kidney stone makes you barf.  I couldn't keep the pain meds down and my pain was getting worse and worse.  One of my cousins, S, was on her way over to me because she was going to pick something up for me.  I told her I thought she was going to have to take me back to the ER.

S did drive me back to the ER (second night in a row) on Monday evening and I was - literally - screaming and attempting to throw up (which wasn't really possible since I hadn't been able to keep anything down). I was soaked in sweat and my BP was 187/85 (my normal BP is 110/70).  I have never felt such pain in my life, and I think I was only sicker one time in my life - back in Germany days.

It took them 45 minutes to free up a bed in the ER for me.  In the mean time, they took me out of the waiting room (I'm sure I was scaring everyone) into another interior waiting room where I continued to scream.  It was off the pain chart pain.  Once they got me a bed, I was dosed with another anti-nausea med, and a super strong anti-inflammatory called Toradol.  That worked for awhile and at least I wasn't screaming any longer.  S stayed with me until two of my other cousins, ME and R, came.

The pain returned and it was too soon for another dose of Toradol, so they decided to try morphine.  Apparently I am likely allergic to morphine because I developed a bright rash all over my face.  I'm already allergic to codeine and tramadol, so this wasn't much of a surprise to me.

It became clear that the ER was not going to send me home a second time, so I encouraged ME and R to go home. Rather than admit me where I was, I was transferred to the larger hospital campus of my local hospital around midnight on Monday night because they thought I might have to have surgery, which they couldn't do where I was.

Another rough night, this time in the hospital.  Almost no sleep.  Then, all day Tuesday they tried everything they could to help me pass the stone. Another cousin, K, sat with me all day on Tuesday and conferred with another cousin who is a nurse (her sister, M who is not local, and yes I really do have all these cousins). This was helpful. I really needed K and I was so glad she was there.  The Toradol was no longer working well, and I was apprehensive about trying the morphine again, so they gave me Dilaudid.  It was terrifying and I didn't like how it made me feel, K looked at the nurses and said, "she didn't like the high back in the 70s either."  which is pretty hilarious since I never did anything like that back in the 70s  :-D  Another nurse came in and told me that I could ride out the high or that they could give me Narcan to reverse the effect but then my pain would come back.  I looked at her said, "I'll calm myself down."   It took the pain away.  I made K sit next to me and hold my hand.  That's how bad the drug made me feel. 

Next was a bolus of liquids into me, and then a dose of lasix to make me pee out all the fluid I could in case I could pass it at the last minute.  That didn't work - and it turned out to be quite painful with the fluid pressure on my left kidney and bladder.  I was so dosed with Dilaudid that I couldn't understand how I was feeling any pain again.  The lasix didn't work either.  So, on Tuesday afternoon I had a surgical procedure with a laser that broke up the stone, and then they suctioned out all the bits and put a stent in to help me heal and allow the kidney to drain better after surgery.  They decided to keep me another night in the hospital just in case. 

ME joined K and was there after the surgery, and she picked me up on Wednesday when I got to come home.  You'd think I would have lost weight not being able to eat anything for 2+ days.  Nope.  You'd think I would have stayed the same, though, right?  Nope. I gained like 6 pounds. Seriously, can't a girl get a break?!?  The urologist told me it was all the IV fluids I was given.

Another cousin, J, took me yesterday to my follow up appointment with the urologist where they removed the stent. Later last night, the pain and vomiting came back.  It was controlled this time by the Norco they sent me home with from the ER.  I'm certainly peeing a whole lot, and today I'm not in any pain.  Cross your fingers.

I have to see my primary care doc next week, and then I have another follow up appointment in six weeks with the urologist.  I have to get another renal ultrasound before then.

They should have the results of the stone composition next week - that will help me know what to do/what to avoid/what to eat/what not to eat, etc. going forward. The biggest thing seems to be to drink more water.  According to the urologist, we're supposed to pee out 2-3 liters a day.  ===:-O

I always thought I was a good water drinker - but apparently I have more work to do in that area.

You guys, this has seriously been the No-Fun Plan.  On the positive side, I'm pretty sure that I've met my insurance deductible and blown by my out-of-pocket max for the year again. 

I'm not 100% yet and I'm off the rest of this week. I should be back at work on Monday.

I know that many people all over were keeping me in their thoughts and prayers.  I so appreciate that and I know it helped.  And I continue to be grateful that I have such wonderful family. 

We Are Family indeed.


Michelle said...

Well, yay for no more deductibles in 2017!?!

Seriously, friend, I cannot imagine that kind of pain, and am so sorry you had to go through this. I hope they are able to give you the knowledge and tools to keep it from happening again!

A :-) said...

Michelle, thank you. People keep telling me it's worse than giving birth - but since I never had any kids, I can't say for sure. I can tell you that it's off the chart painful, and you don't get a beautiful baby at the end to help you forget how much it hurt.

Once the results come back on the composition of the stone, I'll know more about how to avoid another one. In the meantime they just tole me to drink more water.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Annie! I am sorry that you've had to deal with this problem. I do hope that the results of the stone composition will give you some much needed ammunition in order to avoid this happening again. Pain is bad. I had intense pain that lasted for hours before my gallbladder was removed. They told me it was about the same as giving birth. I had nothing to compare it to, but a friend who had 7 children and gallbladder attacks, said she'd rather have another kid. :) But thank the good Lord that you have family to help you through this. You know they love you if they're willing to stay with you while you aren't your normal best. That's like I had greater appreciation for my brother when he willingly cleaned up my vomit after surgery. [didn't move fast enough to the bathroom!]

You have had so much to deal with healthwise - - - I wish you better days. And keep on drinking that water!!

Janice H.

candy said...

I really had no idea how much you had to go through. That was harrowing experience to say the least. May you have a speedy recovery and please keep us posted on the composition.

Carolee Carter said...

While I was so happy to hear your voice literally minutes after you arrived home, after reading this entry into your blog, it really blows me away what you have gone through. All those drugs! Yikes! Well, hopefully everything is calming down now and you will learn what caused this, what you can do in the future to not have to go through this again, and what you should be eating, etc. My virtual hug is being sent to you now my friend.

calicokitty6 said...

I'm so sorry you are going through this.

My husband had this twice about 8 years ago and he sais it was the worst pain he ever had. They blasted his with good results.

Knittinggarden said...

I'm so sorry to read about your painful ordeal and am glad that it's behind you. From my experience in kidney transplant land, I can second the advice about the water. We are both drinking at least two liters a day. To make that more fun, I just bought a camelback water bottle with sheep on it from Ravelry. It's so cute and somehow makes it easier to keep drinking. Best wishes!

A :-) said...

Janice - thank you. And yeah, I'm about done with all these weird health things :-D

Candy - thanks Yes, it was quite an ordeal. I wish it had been a simple matter of passing it.

Carolee - I was glad to talk to you, too. :-)

Debbie - thank you. I'm sorry your husband had to go through this twice. I hope it never happens to me again.

A :-) said...

Laurie - OMG - I had no idea that was going on for you and Pat. You are so amazing. Seriously. You hadn't posted for a long time and I thought you had stopped blogging. Wrong! I just caught up on the entire story. Wow.

Thanks for your good wishes, and I'm going to check out that bottle!

Knittinggarden said...

Great; I love the bottle! Thanks; I don't know that I'm amazing but I'm glad that I could step up and do something personally to help two people get their health back. I'm glad you're feeling better and hope that you can get some answers as to what you should eat and/or avoid so you don't have the problem again.

Kristyn McCain said...

Oh sweetie I am so sorry you had to endure this. Get better soon.

A :-) said...

Thanks Kristyn :-)