Friday, April 25, 2014

My other "kids"---not a post for the weak of stomach

Years ago we sent out an annual letter with the line, "I had a kid.........ney stone." We didn't have kids yet so this seemed like a funny way to introduce the subject. It was April of 1992. Fast forward to January of 2011. Yes, 19 years later and 2 real kids later, I started this new trip down kidney stone lane. That year I ended up having 2 stones removed by ureteroscopy and passed some smaller ones. Since my husband and I like to take turns with major  health issues, in 2012 and 2013 he had oral cancer. As much as I hate kidney stones, I would rather he had those than cancer. It was not pretty. Oh, and I did have this little health issue of my own called a complete hysterectomy. The same week he had a feeding tube put in, then ended up in the ER from dehydration, and spent 2 months off of work (he was finishing his chemo & radiation by then, but the physical pain and wear on his body left him barely able to function). By the grace of God we made it through those events and even a major move, which involved a month in a motel and buying our first home after our rental was sold out from under us.

While we were in the motel, I  had  extreme back pain. I was going through physical therapy (wow, what a year we had), but one day the pain was so bad I had to stop as I was walking from the bed to the bathroom. I also had seen some blood in my urine. We went to the Emergency Hospital where I was told that I had bilateral kidney stones (meaning both kidneys were rockin' them), but no, that could not possibly be causing my pain since they weren't in the right position to do that. They also tried to do me in with morphine. I prefer dilaudid.

The pains subsided once we moved in and finished all our heavy box lifting, so I figured it was just muscular pain. Until Good Friday, that is. That night, I went to bed and felt like I was having the world's worst gas pains. They weren't in my stomach, but in my back. My stomach did hurt some, too. Here is a funny tidbit, I had taken a new natural supplement called, "Regular," which does what its name suggests! Or is supposed to. That night I was SURE that was causing my pain and that I was bloated and constipated. I got through the night by dosing with Maalox every few hours and taking tylenol. The next day I took some Milk of Magnesia, sure that would be the final cure for what ailed me. It did its job, but still I had pains. By Saturday night I figured out that these pains were kidney stone pains and at 3 a.m. Easter morning I woke my husband to take me to the ER.

More scans, indeed I had a 4.4 mm stone moving, plus a small one in the kidney, on the left side. On the right side I have 5 stones, the largest one is 5.5 mm. Of course, they tell you, "They could sit there the rest of your life and never cause a problem." Oh, that would be glorious!

The earliest I could get in to see the PA (the doc was booked) was Wed. so I hobbled along on Vicodin. Very strong vicodin. I've never had the 10 mg codeine hydrocodone before. I also got a migraine (from either lack of sleep or just pain or something). I hadn't had one of those since I got a night/bite guard for TMJ. It was a weird experience after 1 1/2 years of no headaches.

When I saw the PA she sent me to get an xray. The doctor was in the office, so he looked at the xray, too, and told me that this time I could get the stone blasted based on where it was and we could do it the next day! So yesterday I went into a surgical center to have lithotripsy (which, for you word nerds like me, I read comes from the words English Litho---of stone and Greek tripsy---to rub). I thought this would be a walk in the park after having ureteroscopy, where they have to put in a stent, then use a wire type thing to go inside of you to remove the stone, then  you get to keep the stent a few more days. There was the possibility that I could get a stent with this, but he opted not to do that. Yea! I knew I'd be going under with general anesthetic, but I've done that & usually it's pleasant & just means I get to sleep soundly all day.

Pleasant is not a word I will ever associate with this procedure again. I feel like they gave me too much anesthesia. In the recovery room they were saying, 'You should be waking up by now. Most patients are alert by now." Not me. I could barely lift my head. My procedure was finished around 7:30. They wanted me to be up and moving by 10. After I got home, I slept until 4:30 on & off then dozed more all evening. I think what's made this worse is that I have been dizzy all week with what I believe is fluid in my ears. That compounded with narcotics/anesthesia have made me very "woozy" feeling. I was able to get some meclizine and found that if I take that with 12 hour sudafed it helps. I also used a "Sinus Rinse" to try to get some of that moving out of my ears. I'm on Cipro antibiotic and they gave me shot of a major antibiotic the day before surgery, so if I have an ear infection, I'm pretty sure it can't live through this!

And my throat...oh, my throat. I knew it would be sore from the tube. The only other time I recall having a sore throat like this from a tube was one of my many endoscopies. I wish I had asked my husband to get some chloraseptic spray. I'm using salt water gargles and mint and/or ginger tea sweetened with honey. I also mixed up some "Magic mouthwash" with benadryl & maalox then added in some liquid (oral) lidocaine. The salt works better than that, though.

Then there is the asthma factor that has never been an issue with the other procedures. The anesthesiologist had me take a breathing treatment before surgery. When I finally got out of bed yesterday afternoon, I needed to use more albuterol. I've used the rescue inhaler about 4 times now in about 12 hours. I wanted to do a breathing treatment, but I can't find our liquid albuterol. I'll see if I can get a refill at the pharmacy & see if Natalie knows where I put the box when we gave some to a friend along with her nebulizer  after Christmas when she got sick (we had 2 borrowed nebulizers).

They told me I would probably be sore in the area where they blasted the stone. Blasted---shockwaves---a far cry from "to rub!" I am not sure what they did to me while I was under, but sore is fitting. It's just not limited to that spot. My kidneys are sore, by legs are sore, my neck is sore. I'm pretty sure if it's attached to me it's sore! :) I did NOT want to take more vicodin. I really thought I could go with just Tylenol. However, between the sore throat and the sore everything else, about 3:30 I took 1/2 a vicodin with 1 Tylenol (since I was cutting down the tylenol in the vicodin to just over 150 mg). It helped a tad. I woke up at 5:30 and took the other half. It hurts to cough. It's like I've just had my hysterectomy all over. But my throat didn't hurt after that surgery. When I cough it hurts from my stomach up to my neck. And I have a big stomach, so it's big pain!

Now, here is something I really didn't expect at all:
This is my arm where the blood pressure cuff was. I've never had this happen with a cuff or with anesthesia. At first, being a good dork that I am, I thought maybe it was red dye as I had dyed some fabric yesterday. But I looked closer and knew it was blood lines. And a bruise.

I would say my bottom line advice in all this is just don't get kidney stones. If only it were that easy. I've done the dietary things that should have helped based on my type of stones and urine samples they've tested. There are a lot of things that CAN cause kidney stones from berries & nuts to dark chocolate. My top things were red meat and salt.

I know that God is faithful and always has a purpose in things even when we don't see them. He says He can use  ALL things for His purpose. I also firmly believe that things like cancer and kidney stones are part of living on this earth full of sin. I am really happy to know that these broken down bodies of ours won't be going on to Heaven!

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