Monday, September 14, 2009

Kidney Stone Endeavor - Not for the squeamish. Really, you've been warned. Graphic details involved.

So I have been posting to facebook about my travails with the kidney stones. I had two, one at 10mm blocking the ureter and one at 5mm in the kidney. Since one was blocking, the doctor decided that I needed to have an ESWL (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy ). This would be to get the 10mm stone blasted up into smaller pieces so it could pass. Thankfully my husband went with me to this appointment when the doctor told me this, and he saw the stones on the CT scan with me, so I knew I wasn't imagining it, and I knew that I actually would have to go through with the ESWL.

I was scared, because my sister told me that after she did it they inserted a stent. That just freaks me out. Really freaks me out. The thought of someone pushing something up into my urethra just well... thump... I can't handle it. I almost passed out when the doctor started talking to me about it.

In order to do this ESWL they put you under general anestheisa, which I wasn't afraid of, because I had the lap band surgery a few years ago. The worst part of that for me was waking up. I had TERRIBLE pain after waking up from that surgery, and the worst cough. The doctor assured me that I should not have that kind of pain after this. Of course I peppered the anethesiologist with lots of questions about the procedure and what they were going to be doing to me. I think it's creepy that you are lying on a table with all your business for the world to see.... anyway. That isn't nearly as weird as being wheeled out to the TRUCK that housed the ESWL machine. It's mobile I guess, and they move it according to which clinic it is needed at. It was definitely a weird experience. Thankfully the doc gave me something to relax before wheeling me back there. J sat with me for as long as they would let him and then they took me away.

They had me climb up onto the bed that had a water mat on it and had me move around until they had me where they wanted me. I remember they put cushions under my legs and I remember thanking them profusely for the comfort they gave me and the pressure it took off my back.

I woke up about an hour or so later in the recovery area and I was pretty chilly... I think they ended up bringing me about 5 or 6 warm blankets. I was also in a bit of pain, which they promptly gave me medicine for. My throat was really, really sore and they brought me some water for that. They said that the doctor had a hard time getting my breathing tube in and out and they gave me some additional medicine with steriods for the throat swelling. The water tasted really good. Unfortunately the pain didn't abate much, and they offered me additional pain meds and I agreed to take them. I would say when I woke up my pain was about a 6 and when they asked me again it was at 3 or 4. Why be in pain if I didn't have to be though.

The doctor came by and told me that I was very lucky. The stone that was in my kidney had exited and snuggled itself right next to the other one, and even though they don't normally do two at a time, since they were right there next to each other, they were able to zap both of them. I am so thankful for that.

In the recovery area, I remember people walking in and out, and I remember the lady next to me was in a TON of pain, they gave her morphine. She was very loud and upset and kept crying that she wanted to go home. I felt bad for her. I also wished she would hush up.

After a very long time, a very sweet lady helped me get dressed again - and showed me the bathroom and asked me to fill up a cup with any pee. It was like a 20 oz foam cup, I was like gee... you are pretty optimistic since i haven't had anything to eat or drink since 11pm the night before. Well apparently the IV fluids went through me pretty good, cause I filled up that cup and some! I was freaking out though, because it was brick red. I guess all the breaking up of the stones was pretty rough inside there. She said it would be fine and they would go ahead and strain it.

They brought me out of the bathroom, got me a warm yummy blanket and put me in a reclining chair with wheels. I was very happy to be sitting upright and knew I was going to be wheeled over to the area when the family comes in. She went and got my husband and then finished up my paperwork. It was so good to see him. I got a big kiss and hug, and I was so thankful that he was able to be there. He and the nurse went through all the paperwork and rec'd the prescriptions for pain meds (Toradol) and we were on our way home.

We stopped to get a little bite to eat at the drive through - Long John Silvers Cheese Curds with marinara - even though I knew I shouldn't eat that crap, i was craving it and I was starving dammit. So I had some, and promply threw it up.

Later at home I think I had some soup or macaroni and cheese or something. I really don't remember. We dropped off the RX and J went out to get it later on. That night I think I slept ok, and made sure to lie on the opposite side of my stones. This was hard for me, because I like to sleep on my left side to start. It worked out ok. I was dead tired.

The next day was pretty rough. The meds were not really cutting the pain. It occured to me that they gave me Lortab elixir while I was at the surgery center, so it should be ok for me to take the Lortabs that I had at home from earlier. I took one and it was wonderful... for a while. I had to take another one. That night, nothing helped. I thought I was going to freaking die. The pain was so bad. If you can imagine knives scraping through your urethra/pee hole, from under your ribs, all the way to between your legs. Then alcohol running over that. It's ridiculous pain. The toradol AND the lortab didn't even come near covering up this pain. I asked J to call Summer at around 11:30 desperate for some kind of relief. Poor J, I was screaming in pain and crying like a two year old that just lost their lollipop. It was not gratuitous, it was real and true screaming pain. Summer suggested that i get in the hot tub, and also put the heating pad between my legs, and drink lots of water... LOTS LOTS LOTS of water. I tried everything, the heating pad helped the most. I also took another lortab and eventually drifted to sleep in the wee hours... like 4 am.

The bitch about drinking lots of water is that it pushes the gravel / stones through which HURTS. It's the only way to get rid of it though. I seriously wonder if the stent would have been better. At least I wouldn't have to feel every little grain that goes through there. You feel every grain too, let me tell you.

The next morning I called the doctor and requested him to call in a RX for lortab liquid. I remembered that that helped my pain significantly at the surgery center, and knew I had had it before after the lap band surgery. Fortunately, he prepared the RX, my sister picked it up from his office and dropped it off at Walgreens, and finally J picked it up from the pharmacy and brought it home to me that night.

This isn't the impetus for me writing all this down though. The last straw came today. I had constipation. This is only the second time in my whole life that I have had this nasty little problem. I had it once before a few weeks ago after a bout with the flu. I tried all the normal things, enema, suppository, magnesium citrate, correctol... nothing really seemed to help. I guess it must have been mostly gas, because I never really eliminated anything worthy of all the discomfort I was feeling, even after all of that medicine.

Today though, was different. Today was awful. I had a feeling I was in trouble earlier in the day when I tried to go number two for about 20 minutes and nothing came out. I knew there was business to be done though. I KNEW there was... but nothing productive was happening, and it was really uncomfortable. I gave it some thought and decided to take one correctol pill. Thinking that would soften things up and get me moving. I really don't know if that was a good idea or not, later on, I had a very strong urge to go. I brought the kitten, and both phones in the bathroom with me, because I had a feeling I was going to be in there for a while. I was not wrong.

******************** Squeamish do not read any further ******************************
********************Seriously, I'm not kidding ***************************************

I was able to push, but nothing was coming out. I had very strong urges, but it just seemed like mission impossible.

It occured to me that I was going to have to do the unthinkable.

Funny enough, I went through this with the baby kitten a few weeks ago when I took him to the vet for the first time. He was constipated and they rubbed his bottom with KY and moved it around. They ended up taking the end of a thermometer and kind of moving it inside and around the edge of his butt so that it would free up what was inside.

I didn't know what else to do... I didn't even know that there was a name for this until I looked it up later. Manual disimpaction.

Really. I had to do that and it didn't help at first, but I couldn't stop trying to go, because the correctol had taken over my bowels and something was going to happen one way or another. I tried again with the manual disimpaction. I have to tell you that this is thoroughly disgusting, and I hope I never have to do it again. BUT it worked. It worked finally and I was so happy, and so exhausted after.

My rear still hurts, and so does my left side. I'm learning new things every day with this.

I'm especially being vigilant about staying hydrated.

Someone mentioned that the opiates in the lortab may have contributed to the constipation. I kind of shrugged that off, but now I'm sure it probably had a hand in it. I'm trying to be careful here, because I don't want to be on any of these meds longer than I have to. I've already ditched the Toradol, because well the "information sheet" on that scares the living hell out of me. I'm instead sticking to the RX for ibuprofen, and the lortab elixir.

I was up and even cooked breakfast for myself this morning. I also made some turtle brownies from a box. They were good. It felt good to be in the kitchen again.

The pain is kind of a dull ache at the moment, and I'm getting a little sleepy.

According to my little strainer, I'm still passing gravel. According to what I have read online it could take anywhere from a week to a month or longer to pass all the gravel. Please say a prayer for me that it is sooner rather than later, and no more constipation!


1 comment:

followthatdog said...

Good God woman! I'm sorry you had to go through that. I hope your kidney stones for a good long time, if not for the rest of your life.