Monday, February 21, 2011

Kidney Stone, Remix (last one was 2 years ago)

I had some back pain recently, and thought it was related to shoveling and bicycling.  It occurred to me for a moment that it felt sort of like when I had a kidney stone two years ago, but I wrote it off because of the exercise.  Then yesterday, after the amazing amount of snow that dropped on us - I shoveled three times and that didn't take care of all of it by any means, let alone the two feet of snowplow churn that was all over the bottom half of the drive this morning - perhaps 20" if you base it on our bird bath, I developed a sort of spasming backache that I was certain was shoveling induced.  Until about hour number three of the pain which was both across my back and in my abdomen.  We called my mother, the Nurse Practitioner, and she said to go to the ER as I wasn't sure what it was (could be kidney stone, could be ruptured bowel - who knows until you get it checked out).  That was easier said than done as the plow hadn't come by yet.  We bundled into the car, backed down to the end of the driveway, and promptly went no where.  The neighbors came out to help push the car back into the driveway while my wife called the ambulance.

But the ambulance couldn't get to our house either, so a cop showed up in a big SUV to find me laying on the floor (didn't really stop the pain, but at least I'm not teetering all over).  He asked some questions, loaded me into his truck, and hauled me to the end of the neighborhood road where the ambulance was just getting unstuck.  From there it was into the back of the ambulance and hooked up to saline and drugs, waiting for the plow to come blaze the way like some icebreaker.

A very bumpy half hour or so later, we were at the ER.  They put me in a room, asked me some questions, and I took a nap while they got around to me for a bit of blood (she missed - I hate that - I really hate it when it's one of those teflon suction needles.  They hurt.) and scheduling me to go get a CT.  Later the doc came in to tell me the CT had found a 4mm stone and that it was in the tightest spot and on its way out.  That said, they checked me out and sent me home.

Easier said than done.  It was 12:30 a.m., my wife still couldn't get out of the driveway, and taxis were running 2-3 hours behind schedule.  I picked up some percocet at the pharmacy (vaguely works with me, at least it cuts the pain if it's not a full on attack), and noticed this sign.  This is funny if you've had surgery in that area.  At least I thought it was funny.  Rectal cancer itself is in no way funny.

Percocet in hand, and a bag of vending machine fruit snacks in my stomach to make up for all the vomiting I'd done earlier in the evening when the pain got too bad, I went back out to the ER and sat in a wheelchair facing the sliding doors and waiting for the cab while reading a Discover magazine.  Around 2:30, my cab hadn't shown up yet, but another cab company was dropping someone off and had availability.  It was an interesting ride back.  In certain places, they'd plowed one lane out of six, leaving a road between two tall mounds of snow.

When we got close to home, I took a look at the roads going back into my neighborhood and told the cabbie to drop me off on the corner about four-five blocks from my house.  I gave him a good tip, and then started walking home.  I'm glad it was relatively warm out and that it was a beautiful evening, but trying to get five blocks with back pain and abdomen pain is a bit of a hassle.

By the end of today, despite the doctor's assurance there was a single stone, I've passed 3.5 stones (one was very small), maybe 3.75 if I count the sliver, and there's obviously more left given the cycling of pain I feel.  And there's more snow.  But at least I'm pretty sure the back pain isn't from shoveling.


Geri said...

That is NOT a good story. Hope the rest of the little devils go away soon. Larry has had kidney stones on multiple occasions and sympathizes.

Kyle said...

That was weird. I read the bit where you wrote about teflon suction needles and thought to myself, 'What is he talking about?' That very instant, I turned to the TV to see a Children's Hospital nurse doing a blood draw with a weird looking capsule-like device just before exclaiming 'See? No needles!'

Oh television, is there any question which you cannot answer?

Steve Mickman said...

A kidney stone is a hard mass developed from crystals that separate from the urine within the urinary tract. Normally, urine contains chemicals that prevent or inhibit the crystals from forming. These inhibitors do not seem to work for everyone,

kidney stones