Sunday, January 11, 2009

Renal Calculi

Friday afternoon, during my 2:00-3:30 meeting, I started to develop a back ache. I'd been sitting in meetings all day, so it wasn't anything of a surprise, but when I moved around and tried to reposition myself and couldn't find anything comfortable I was a bit confused by how bad it ached. I made it through the meeting, despite an incessant amount of squirming about, and was thankful that it was time to head home. Maybe I was having some sort of blockage from the surgery a month ago? Maybe I just needed to take a heating pad to my back or a hot bath. The pain got worse as I drove home. However, once I was in a warm tub it started to feel a little better and a little better and a little better. Things were good. Back ache taken care of without so much as an ibuprofen.

After dinner, it started to act up again, so I called my sister, the nurse practitioner, to ask what it might be, particularly as it was extending around the back to my abdomen and was localized to the right side of my body. While I was on the phone asking about whether it was urgent care or ER, the pain ramped up so much it was getting unbearable. And it wasn't leveling off. Pooteewheet and Eryn bundled me into the car and we were off to the ER in Burnsville again. How often have we been there? Often enough that when they had me on the gurney (we'll get to that) I recognized the back tattoo of a woman bending over her child. When she stood up, I was sure we'd bumped into her at the ER in the last year.

By the time we got to the hospital, it was letting up, although I was dry mouthed and shaking. The took my blood pressure and temperature and released me back into the waiting room where I was a cheerful soul for 40 minutes, when the pain ramped up again and I laid down on the floor. Which was sort of pointless. Pooteewheet watched me squirm for a while and then went to find someone, someone who promptly put me on a rolling stretcher/bed and left me where I could see the lower-back tattoo lady while I tried not to groan and squirmed like a worm. None of these incidents involved the same level of pain. Each time was just a bit worse.

After a while they rolled me in the back and my pain slowly let up again while they did a CT and an EKG (the doc likes EKGs, I didn't really need one) and finally came back with the pronouncement "one kidney stone, approximately 2 mm" (and a "couple" more in the kidney, not currently a problem). As I was fine, they gave me my second prescription for percoset in a month, a strainer to pee into to catch the stone, a jar to put the stone in, some other drugs to relax the muscles, and sent me home to pass the stone as it was under 5 mm. But not before Doctor Palomino drew me this very nice picture of the problem.

That thing in the upper right is my kidney, where the stone starts. Then it goes through that tube, which is where it was at the time, causing the spasming. Then it ends up in the bladder, and goes through the urethra on the bottom. At which point she noted, drawing that rather strange sideways oval and pointing at it, "that's your penis". Apparently I have a putter for a whang.

Everything was fine until Saturday morning when the backache started up again so bad I was throwing up (I did manage to make it to the bathroom). That was the magic bullet, however, and the stone passed a few hours later. All I'm left with now is the stone in it's jar for the clinic, a nasty lower back ache (I still biked 12.5 miles tonight), some stories to tell Ming, Brad (suffering from his own back pain), Kyle and Logan over breakfast at the Capital View Cafe' this morning, that nice picture, the threat of more stones, and a nice story by my mother about a 7 month pregnant woman who got staghorn calculus (wiki, kidney stones) so bad it ruptured her kidney.

If you're counting how many health problems I've had since turning 40, or since switching jobs, please stop. I'd like to. What cheers me up is that most of them seem somewhat self contained. One cured with a decrease in alcohol and caffeine. One fixed with surgery. One self-resolved (with the potential for more, but resolved for now). Unfortunately, I don't know how I'm going to fix my club-foot penis.


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that you got rid of the stone. At gaming this month you and Cindy can exchange kidney stone stories.

TallBrad said...

I feel really bad for Logan. Here he had the chance to have breakfast with the guys and hang out. But all he got to hear about was kidney stones, back problems, gastro intestinal issues and hemorrhoids.

Conversations 5 years ago were so different.

Unknown said...

Hey Putter D,
I am sorry to hear about your plight, but that picture is awesome and I laughed...a lot!

Kevin hopes they find a cure for your case of malleus mentula.

May all your stones be washed away in the yellow stream of life.

Anonymous said...

Kidney Stones ... Welcome to the club. At least they were small enough to pass.


Scooter said...

Goon, where are you? I don't have an address for you and your name defies the best search algorithms.