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The kidney stone that was, wasn’t, maybe was, and then definitely was.

The plight of my kidneys continues. The first ER said, “well, we did find a calcium spot that could be a stone, but it could also be a phebolith; oh, and your WBC is slightly elevated” and sent me on my way with IV pain meds and a prescription for Percocet. The second ER said, “well, we saw that calcium spot, and oh look your WBC is elevated AND there is some blood in your urine, but since you’re not presenting other classic kidney stone symptoms we’re just going to load you up with a shit ton of morphine and Zofran, throw an Oxycodone prescription at you and send you on your way”. One of the physicians at our family doctor’s office said, “well, calcium spot + elevated WBC + blood in urine + that pain are all indicative of a stone, but what about the possible return of endometriosis? Or maybe some weird non-fever-non-rash presentation of shingles?” – then she gave me a shot of high-dose NSAIDs in my ass, took blood for testing, and sent me on my way with a prescription for Flexeril (which I’ve yet to fill because what is a muscle relaxant going to do for kidney stone pain, endo pain, or even shingles pain?).

That was all last week (29th, 2nd) and Monday of this week (5th). On Tuesday afternoon, after Dan was out of surgery and my bariatric surgeon had updated me on how he was doing, I picked her brain about the kidney pain. I described the primary symptom: PAIN that almost always originates in my left kidney, and often arcs across my back into my right kidney. A bruised, achy feeling is constant, and bouts of stabby spasms come and go. Nothing alleviates the pain – curling into a ball does nothing, changing positions does nothing, walking or lying down does nothing. The only thing that has helped thus far is prescribed pain medication. I’m also guzzling water like a horse — which I’ve always done, but I’ve upped my daily intake from 72+ ounces to 90+ ounces to ensure everything stays hydrated and flushed out. Still, the pain PERSISTS, and it’s AWFUL. I was practically writhing from it while in Dan’s hospital room on Tuesday night, but there was no way I was going to leave his side to go check myself into the ER again (which is what my semi-useless family doctor’s office told me to do, and only reluctantly scheduled me for the “maybe endo?” doctor appointment after I persisted in NOT wanting to just go get more pain medication pumped into me, but get tests and scans and a definitive ANSWER – with a side of pain management as needed). So I paced, walked, and alternated between sleeping in the comfortable but wouldn’t-stay-reclined recliner and the hard, cold, concrete floor. I got a total of maybe 5.5 hours of broken sleep on Tuesday night, but that’s not uncommon when you’re staying overnight with someone in the hospital – and especially when said someone is your husband who just went through a routine but painful surgery (and his first major surgery, at that!) that wound up not being entirely routine and thus was more painful than anticipated.

So I told my bariatric surgeon all of this, and she’s like, “Yup, it’s a stone”. She said she would pull my ER visit records from that hospital and contact me only IF she thought it was something else, but based on my symptoms, the location of pain, the elevated WBC and blood in urine and pain persisting for 2+ weeks now, as well as being a five year post-op gastric bypass patient, a kidney stone is the most fitting, and thus definitive, diagnosis.

On one hand, I want this fucker OUT and almost hope it blocks my kidney or ureter completely so that the doctors/hospital would stop throwing narcotics at me and go in after it, but on the other hand I don’t want to put myself, Dan, and the sprogs through another medical crisis. Bah.

And on that note, I need to wrap this up, because guess who has an endoscopy today?! It’s too bad it wasn’t scheduled for yesterday, because I’m having it done at the same hospital Dan had his surgery at – and this hospital is 50ish miles from us. Since Dan’s in no condition to sit and wait while I’m prepped and then undergoing an endoscopy, let alone drive me home, Puff (my 19 year old brother) is going to stay here with him, and I’m going to pick up my mom on the way to the hospital – and then she’ll drive me home, and stay with us for a few hours while I doze off the effects of the Propofol and whatever else they might use. This endoscopy is to explore my pouch and small intestine to see what’s up on the ulcer front (it’s been so refreshing to not have had any ulcer pain for about a week and a half now, but the kidney pain may just be taking my mind off of it!), and then go from there in terms of a course of action.

I swear, I hit 25 and fell apart, and Dan hit 30 and he fell apart. There’s still the Cushing’s Disease diagnosis that we’ll definitively have next month, and then the hunt for the cause, probable surgery, and god knows what else…

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Surgery is hard

Surgery is hard. (Obvious statement is obvious.) The role-reversal is weird: Dan and I are way too used to me being the one in the hospital bed, and him being the one worrying and schlepping belongings and bugging nurses and fetching drinks. Thank goodness we’re home, but also: thank goodness we stayed overnight. Dan’s routine cholecystectomy wound up not being entirely routine for various reason, but he’s okay now, and starting the healing process. Thank you for all of the well wishes and positive thoughts! ♥

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I am currently sitting in Hershey Medical Center’s surgical waiting room, waiting rather anxiously for my bariatric surgeon to finish removing Dan’s gallbladder. Of course, I’m probably going to be stewing in my anxiety for a while, since Dan was just wheeled into the OR about 10 minutes ago. To say it’s WEIRD for me to be not in the operating room but in the waiting room while my significant other is being operated on is an understatement. And while I know that having one’s gallbladder removed (the medical term for this type of surgery is cholecystectomy) is pretty minor in terms of surgery, it’s still abdominal surgery, it’s still major surgery, and complications or unexpected difficulties or surprise issues are all always a possibility.

Maybe that’s why I teared up when the OR transport nurse wheeled Dan away… anyway, all crossable things are crossed that this laparoscopic abdominal surgery is nothing but routine, and that soon Dan will be in his room and we’ll have news that everything went smoothly.

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Pre-surgery nesting

I remember being pregnant with Alyssa, and then with Ryan, and going through the typical pre-labor “nesting” phases: manic hours/days of cleaning, organization, and to-do-list-checking-offing in preparation for giving birth. I’ve done the same with all six of my surgeries (plus the surgical wisdom tooth extraction, the pre-hysterectomy D&C, and the root canal). Dan was always amused by my flurry of activity, but now that it’s the night before his cholecystectomy, he too has experienced the nesting urges that hit before childbirth or surgery (in his case, the latter).

My 19 year old brother, Puff, will be staying with the sprogs, and Dan and I will be arriving at the hospital at 7:00am tomorrow morning, and will stay until he’s discharged sometime on Wednesday morning. Please wish Dan luck – this is his first major/abdominal surgery, though I think between the two I’m more nervous – outwardly, anyway.

(As for me, the flank pain continues to nag away at me and exhaust me. I followed up with one of the doctors at our physician’s office today – she suspects either endometriosis aggravating my internal organs (kidneys in particular), or possibly shingles presenting in a non-typical (aka without a fever and rash) way. Blah. Blood was drawn, and tests will determine what we do next in terms of treatment. For now, I have a 3 hour old shot of Toradol in my ass to help with the pain, as well as a prescription for Flexeril.)

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Paging Dr. Internets

I started and ended my week with ER visits, both times due to severe flank (kidney/side/back) pain, as well as some difficulty peeing and worse pain during peeing. Both ER visits sent me home with pain medications and inconclusive diagnoses – I’ve got the pain of a kidney stone, as well as the “phlebolith” that could be a kidney stone since it’s in the right area and a little too coincidental with this ongoing pain (a week + 3 days now!), a slightly elevated white blood cell count, and blood in my urine, but that’s it.


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