It was a day like any other. I had a continuing education meeting for my periodontists’ office Friday, February 6th. The conference was about infection control protocol in the dental office. I just felt off all day, running back and forth to the bathroom to pee every 5 minutes.
Flashback to some personal medical history: I have been suffering from frequent peeing for over 1 year now. I have been back and forth to my Primary Care Physician (PCP) and had an ultrasound on my bladder conducted last summer, as well as underwent 3 medicinal treatments for suspected urinary tract infections since then. I just always felt like I had to pee. My my 8 month pregnant bestie was even shocked at how many trips to the bathroom I was making in December when she was visiting. Sometimes when I am out and about, I have to stop at a restaurant or gas station to pee before I get to my destination – during a 20 minute car ride! Eventually, I chalked all of these symptoms to the fact that I would live forever with this un-diagnosed condition, and I was terrified of ever getting pregnant since my friends warned me “Its only going to get worse”.
Fast forward to the end of the continuing education meeting, and I am on my way home. It’s a 38 minute ride from the hotel where the CE meeting took place to my house. I was on the phone with my prego bestie – due any day now- telling her how bad I had to pee on the way home and that my left lower abdomen felt like there was this intense pressure feeling & joking around about “I hope I make it…” home. By the time I pulled into my driveway I was in crippling pain. My left side/lower abdomen hurt so bad, it took my breath away. I wasn’t sure I could make it into the house, but I mustered up all of my strength to open the front door and holler for my husband John to take me to the hospital.
So off we go to the hospital: me gripping my side and saying “Ooooh” and Ahhhhh” between deep breaths, thrashing around in the passenger seat, & my husband intently focused on his driving skills to get us to the hospital as quickly and safely as possible. I am pretty sure he ran a few red lights…..We finally get to the ER at the local hospital. After 15 minutes curled up in the waiting room chair, they call me back to the triage area. Take my vitals, ask me a few questions, and then find me a bed in the ER – my new home for the next 8 hours. I didn’t even get a bed in one of the ER cubicles….it was in the hallway next to the nurses’ station: Bed 10x. They pumped me full of drugs…dalouted for pain and zofran for nausea (caused by the pain med). I have never been on any heavy pain medications like these. I was feeling alright – the pain in my side and back mostly subsided. I still had to pee every 5 minutes. Eventually I was wisked away to do a CAT scan.
Diagnosis: “acute unilateral obstructive uropathy with a 5mm Kidney stone on left side”. Treatment: cystoscopy with a ureteal stent placement
I wasn’t going home Friday night. 610 Bed 1 was my new address. I was to sit in the hospital and try to pass the kidney stone for the next 2 days. If the stone didn’t pass, Monday morning they would go ahead with the cystoscopy and stent placement if needed. Dr’s orders were to “drink at least 60 oz of water each day and spend time walking” the halls of the hospital daily (to help the stone pass). I spent the weekend drinking water till I felt bloated and walking the various floors of the hospital after each meal. My husband brought me yummy food 3 times per day, so I had decent meals and I tried to order healthy options. It was so nice being able to visit with John while I was cooped up at the hospital. We value mealtimes and eating together and I was grateful to still be able to have that. He was also my walking buddy when I was touring the hospital. I was hooked up to an IV drip the entire time I was in the hospital. The worst part about the whole waiting game was that after the pain I had on Friday night, I generally felt OK…just had to pee every 5 minutes. So ultimately I was pretty bored sitting around for 2 days while the stubborn kidney stone just irritated my insides and increased the inflammation to the point where, on Monday morning the Dr’s were forced to place a stent that went from my kidney to my bladder to keep my ureter open enough to allow fluid to pass through.
Initially, I had this crazy roommate, “C” who was admitted to the hospital for some GI issues. She talked non-stop. Mostly on her cell phone at 60 bazillion decibels about how Mo-Mo and Sexy “gotta pay for her overdue storage unit”, She kept her over-bed light on constantly and she was all up in my business every time my doctors would come and talk to me. She would call the nurses into our room for the most ridiculous things, like asking for pain meds every 10 minutes and making sure to state she was “overdue” for her meds. At one point, I even heard her ask the nurse to comb her hair! She was fully able bodied. Even the nurses apologized to me for having to be stuck with her. I didn’t get any sleep when I was there with her. On Saturday I begged the nurses to transfer me to another room. Thankfully there was one available.
My second room was 604 bed 2 – a window seat! Yippie! My new roommate “N” was very nice and currently on her 7th visit to the hospital for kidney stone related sickness. She was an expert in what I was going through! She had just received the cytoscopy procedure I was destined to have on Monday, and told me that having kidney stones was worse than childbirth. Awesome. I felt like a bad ass after talking to her .
Each day played out the same: Wake up, eat breakfast/lunch/dinner with John, walk the hospital halls/floors after meals, sleep a little, watch a little TV, roll my IV cart everywhere and go pee a million times per day. I did have a few other visitiors: My Dad, My Twinnie, along with my oldest sister, her husband, my niece and my stepmother. My stepmother brought me my new favorite mug…a Crazy Cat Lady mug filled with Dove chocolates. I began to hate my IV and the cart. Nicknamed him Lucifer. The fluids made me feel so bloated and puffy. My fingers looked like snausages.
Sunday “N” got discharged and I didn’t have a roommate for the entire day. That was nice to get some privacy. Sunday night at around midnight, I got my 3rd roommate “R”. The room filled with the scent of stale Marlboro reds as soon as she got there. She definitely had a case of the Emphysema and coughed alot. But she was nice, and we became friends while we shared the room for the next 2 days.
Monday morning, bright and early the OR team was at my bedside ready to take me down to do the cystoscopy.
I was nervous. I have never had surgery or even been in the hospital since I was born. I wasn’t sure what to expect. And didn’t even get to call my husband beforehand. I only had time to text him “They are taking me now. I guess I’ll see you when I am done” & dis-robe and throw on the hospital gown. The nurse wheeled me down to the OR where they changed my IV to the right arm, and reviewed all of the pre-op questions. I sat there in the bed in the OR for over an hour waiting until it was my turn. I started to get the nervous pee feeling…like I had to pee every 5 seconds again. This happens to me when I am nervous…anyone else experience this phenomenon? I kept telling the nurse I had to go to the bathroom, but because I was hooked up to the IV, she insisted I would be “alright” and that the urologist doing the procedure would drain my bladder before hand. I started to lose it and began bawling uncontrollably. Why wouldn’t anyone listen/believe me when I said I needed to use the bathroom?! Finally a nurse took pity on me and let me go before they sedated me. John also hightailed it to the hospital so he could see me before they took me back. The cystoscopy requires a twilight sedation but basically you are knocked out as soon as they slip the propofol into the IV and you don’t remember a thing.
I woke up in the OR recovery with a decently clear mind, but I couldn’t move any of my limbs or lift my head very easily. After I was wheeled back to my room, John was there and told me he spoke to the urologist. They had successfully removed the kidney stone and placed a stent that ran from my kidney to my bladder.
All the Drs and nurses explained that when the procedure was done, I would feel so much better. This was a load of bull. I was in some major discomfort. Not only could I feel the stent in my left side, but it hurt to pee like I was peeing ground glass and there was an alarming amount of blood in my urine (which my Dr assured me was normal after the procedure). I spent the rest of Monday and half of Tuesday in the hospital and was discharged Tuesday afternoon. My Rx’s were Norco and Naproxen for pain and inflammation as needed. I was glad to be home, at least in the privacy and comfort of my own house. I rested up through Friday. My first day back to work was very uncomfortable. You see, with the stent it makes you feel like you have to pee with a vengeance, and every step you take hurts. Sitting still and working with my patients chairside was easy…it was getting up to go bring my patients back to the operatory and taking my instruments to be sterilized that was the tough part. My co-workers told me I shouldn’t have come into work that day. Over the weekend I tried to rest as much as I could. The house was falling apart, chores were pilling up. I did a bit of laundry and cooked a bit but mostly took it easy. I was ready for Monday, when I would return to the hospital, sedated and they would remove the stent. I spent the whole week so uncomfortable and miserable. This Monday the stent was removed. It took the rest of Monday, but by Tuesday I was back to work and feeling human again.
While most of this blog post may sound like a lot of complaining, I am thankful that I was able to be treated, that I had medical insurance, that the kidney stone was not anything more serious and that eventually, I recovered. As far as I know, there are no lasting effects. I have been told that once you have a kidney stone, you are more susceptible to getting future stones.
Also, I have been instructed to
- drink at least 60 oz of water daily,
- limit my coffee & tea, alcohol intake & avoid grapefruit juice
- Don’t take more than recommended daily doses of Calcium or Vitamin C & D
- Avoid antacids
- Limit salt intake
- Limit foods containing oxalate: dark green leafy veggies, chocolate (WTF), wheat bran, nuts, cranberries and beans
My story has a happy ending. I am feeling better with each passing day. I know I am new to the blogosphere, and I may be sharing too much with some of you…but I wanted to share my story while it was fresh in my mind, and if it helps just one person, then it would be worth it. I sincerely hope none of you have to ever go through this process. I had never been really ill before, let alone have any surgery or surgical procedures. I considered myself generally healthy. This experience has been my wake up call. I am determined to do whatever it takes moving forward so that hopefully I don’t have to go through this again and to change my habits and become a healthier version of me.