Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A tale of two kidneys (ok really just one)

OR "Just in case you got here by googling lithotripsy"

So I'm sure all 4 of you really want to know about all the fun I had last week. If you don't you should stop reading now. Because there is nothing else here.

Last Sunday I woke up with a dull pain in my side - just to the right side of my belly button. I didn't think much of it and figured I had slept funny or some such thing. I showered and got dressed and ready for church. Then I got Will ready for church. Then I went to get Sawyer ready for church. I changed his diaper and leaned over to get some pants out of his dresser drawer. The moment I leaned over the dull pain in my side became a "holy crap did someone just stab me?" pain in my side. I couldn't stand up and was immediately nauseated.

Bryce helped me get to our bed and then he made some phone calls trying to figure out what the problem could be and what we should do. I thought maybe it was an ovarian cyst, but the obgyn thought that was unlikely. He suggested that I should rest for an hour with a hot pack...which suggests to me that he thought the reports of my pain were exaggerated. Bryce was afraid it might be my appendix and I was busy hoping I would pass out so we decided that we needed to get to a doctor. The original plan was to go to urgent care, but I vetoed that idea in the car and we went to the E.R. instead. Somehow this process took about an hour from the sudden onset of pain until we left for the hospital. Decisiveness is not my strong point.

Meanwhile, what were the boys up to? Will kept asking if we had to go to church. We kept ignoring him. Then he asked Sawyer, "Sawyer, do you think we're going to go to church today?" and Sawyer looked around the room and said "Yup." I guess he figured we were all dressed so it was inevitable. On the way to the hospital Will asked again if we were going to church and Bryce said "I don't think we will today...we have to take Mommy to the hospital." Will exclaimed "See Sawyer! I told you we wouldn't have to go to church!" Once we got to the E.R. they took me back to a room and both of the boys started complaining that they were sick. I thought it was sympathy pains, but then it became clear that they were trying to make sure they wouldn't have to go to church. And then they started arguing about who was really sick. And then they started hitting each other and screaming. At which point Mollie arrived and took the boys home which I'm sure the entire E.R. appreciated.

Now here's the thing about the E.R. - I'm sure that if your life is in danger they are capable of moving very quickly. But if you just feel like you are dying they are in no great hurry. The nurse was perfectly nice, but he wasn't about to move faster than his normal mosey. It took another hour before I got any kind of pain meds. A different guy came in and gave me morphine through the i.v. and told Bryce that it should do its thing in 5 minutes. Unfortunately, it never did anything. After another 45 minutes or so the nurse came back and established that the first dose hadn't helped and gave me another dose. That dose didn't do anything either. And when I say it didn't do anything, I mean it didn't do ANYTHING. It didn't effect the pain at all and it didn't make me loopy or sleepy or light-headed or anything. I might have expected this because the same thing happened when they gave me morphine when they were trying to stop me from being in labor with Sawyer. So we have now confirmed that I am resistant to morphine. Therefore, when someone tries to take over the world by injecting everyone with morphine and everyone else is too doped up and happy to care I will do my best to defend the motherland. Otherwise it appears to be a pretty useless talent.

Sometime during this the doctor came in and said that he "would bet it was an ovarian cyst." The plan was to do an ultrasound to find out.

After another 45 minutes the nurse came back and determined that my pain level was, if anything, going up instead of down and said he would go "talk to the doctor and re-evaluate what we are dealing with." He came back with a different kind of pain killer. I wish I could remember the name. He put that one through the i.v. and within 5 minutes I was somewhere else. It is a weird feeling to hear people talking and understand what they are saying, but at the same time you know you are not really acting right. They came to get me for the ultrasound and I know they asked me something which I didn't respond to right and I remember the nurse telling Bryce "Now is the time to pump her for information" and Bryce replied "I don't think she has any" and I would have said something, but my brain wasn't working right. But I didn't care because I wasn't in pain for the first time in 3 hours.

They did an ultrasound which seemed to take forever and then wheeled me back to the E.R. The doctor walked over and asked the ultrasound lady what she found. She told him that I had a cyst on my left ovary. He said something like "I knew it!...wait, what side?" She said it was on the left side. He said "but her pain is on the right side"...then he walked in the room and asked me "where does it hurt again?" I told him it hurt on the right side and he said "Well sometimes the pain can spread." I think he really wanted it to be a cyst like he had guessed. Then he said that they were going to do a ct scan before sending me home "just to make sure they hadn't missed anything." A guy came and got me and wheeled me down for the ct scan. Which, if you ever have to have one, is not a big deal. He injected some stuff into my i.v. and warned me that in 15 seconds I would get a weird taste in my mouth and would feel warm and "like you peed your pants, but you really didn't." And that pretty much sums up how the dye makes you feel. Then he left the room and the machine scanned several times, but the whole thing took about 5 minutes. Then he wheeled me back to the E.R. It took somewhere around an hour for the results to arrive and then the doctor came in and announced "Well it is kind of a surprise, but you have a big kidney stone!" So a good 5.5 hours later we finally knew what the problem was. He said I'd have to go see a urologist and have it broken up because it was almost a centimeter and too big to pass. And in case you are wondering "passing a kidney stone" means that it passes down into your bladder. Once it gets to the bladder it doesn't hurt anymore. And as long as it is in the kidney it doesn't hurt. It is only when it tries to get down the tube in between (or in my case lodges itself so that it is totally blocking the tube) that you want to die.

They gave me some more pain meds by i.v. and sent me home with prescriptions for antibiotics, pain meds, and anti-nausea meds to counteract the effects of the pain meds.

I was able to get into the urologist the next day. I wasn't in a lot of pain, but the pain meds made me super nauseated and dizzy whenever I moved. The urologist did an x-ray and showed us that he couldn't see the stone because my kidney was glowing like a sparkler from the ct scan dye that was still stuck in there from the day before. He said that he would have to insert a tube into my kidney to drain out all of the dye before they would be able to do the procedure to break up the stone (lithotripsy). Otherwise we could schedule the lithotripsy, but if we got there and the dye was still there they wouldn't be able to do the procedure and we'd have to pay for it anyways. The lithotripsy machine travels around the state and its availability also apparently "depends on your insurance" so we weren't sure how soon we would be able to have it done. The urologist made some calls and we decided that I would go in the next day to put in the tube to drain the dye and then would go back on Wednesday to have the lithotripsy done. The doctor had the nurse give me a phenergan shot to help with the nausea and I felt okay that night.

The next morning I had to be at the surgical center by 6:30 a.m. I got there and checked in and they took me back and started an i.v. Then the surgical nurse and the anesthesiologist came and got me and took me to an operating room. The anesthesiologist was asking me questions as he put stuff in my i.v. and it dawned on me that he was asking me questions so he'd know when I was out.

And then I woke up back out in the recovery area. It was about 30 minutes later. My throat felt like it had gunk in it and I asked if I had had something in my throat and they told me I'd been intubated. I hadn't known they would be doing that, although I guess I should have known that was standard procedure when you're put under. They told me that when they went to put the tube in they discovered that the dye had drained out on its own, but they weren't able to just go ahead with the lithotripsy because the machine wasn't there or something like that. The doctor said that instead of waiting until the next day I could come back and have the lithotripsy done at noon. The nurse told me I could just wait at the surgical center, but it was only 9:30 and I decided I would rather go home to wait. I went to change into my clothes and found that I still had EKG nodes stuck all over me. Which was an odd surprise. Bryce said they hooked me into the matrix.

I went home for a few hours and then went back and checked in again. I was not first in line for the lithotripsy machine so we had to wait for several hours. Then my urologist came in and said that he had to be back in his office by 2 and asked if it was ok if another doctor did the lithotripsy. Like I cared who did it at that point. I could hear a doctor talking to a middle-aged man in the bay next to me. He was ahead of me in line for lithotripsy. The man was asking 8 million questions about the lithotripsy and about kidney stones in general and what was going to happen, etc. etc. I felt like shouting "Buck up and get in there! I'm after you and I'm sick of waiting!" The new doctor came over and introduced himself and discussed the game plan. My urologist had said he would leave the tube in until Monday to help any remnants of stone pass through, but that he would leave the final decision to the replacement doctor. I was REALLY not enjoying having the tube in so I was highly against that plan and told them so. Finally the anesthesiologist came and got me again, telling me that "the second verse is the same as the first...a little longer and a little more meds." They wheeled me into an operating room and told me to slide over onto this water bed type of thing. The anesthesiologist had already injected the meds and I made it halfway over to the table and then thought "sorry guys but you're gonna have to do this yourself."

I woke up back in recovery. It was about an hour later. I was very happy to find out that the doctor had been able to break up the stone so completely that he decided it was okay to remove the tube at the same time. Apparently when I was coming out of the anesthesia I was making a fool of myself by asking over and over again if they had taken the stent out. Every time they told me yes I would cheer and give thumbs up. It is very strange to have multiple people telling you about things you did which you have zero recollection of. I "remember" waking up after the procedure, but the moment I remember as when I woke up was a good while after I started talking to everyone. Not only was I talking to people, but I'm told that I had a conversation with the doctor and asked him questions about preventing kidney stones in the future. Isn't it scary to think that your brain can function without you? The anesthesiologist told me that it takes 5 seconds from when he injects the drugs in the i.v. until you are out. There was no "I'm getting sleepy" feeling at all. I was awake and then I woke up somewhere else. Nothing in between. Crazy.

I got back home around 5 p.m. The lithotripsy may have taken care of the stone, but it left me feeling like someone had gone at my side with a baseball bat or ran over me with a truck. I had a hard time controlling the pain and nausea until I gave up on the percocet and switched to good old advil. The advil seemed to do a better job with the pain and didn't make me nauseated like the percocet did. The lithotripsy pain lasted until Sunday.

So it was not a very fun week. In fact, I'd really rather not do that ever again, thank you.

Many thanks to my sweet friends who called, brought food, and took my kids. I didn't see my kids for about 5 days. And I'm acquainted with my kids so I really, really appreciate what it means for someone else to have taken them every day. The boys came up to say goodnight before they went to bed every day and that was it. They were so cute. One night Sawyer brought me his dolphin puppet and said "Here Mom. I'll put this next to your face until you wake up." The next day he brought me his puppy. Then he colored me pictures to "make me feel better." Sawyer kept saying "Are you a little bit sick Mom? Feel better. Wuv you!" Will gathered up all his favorite toys and put them on my bed for me to play with. He kept asking "When do you think your pain will go away?" On Friday I was parenting from the couch (that counts right?) and I told Will to do something. He yelled, "No! You are sick. Remember? You can't be the boss again until you aren't sick!" I guess he figured it was his turn to step in and have a turn being the boss.

And my awesome friends brought 5 days' worth of dinners...not to mention treats. The men in the house weren't complaining about Mom not being able to cook. I think they preferred it actually.

And last but not least my wonderful husband took care of everything that needed to be done. He was my medication distributor and kept track of all my doses and set alarms to wake up at night to make sure I took the next dose and dealt with a lot of vomit. "If that's not love what iiiiisssss?!" And he kept the house cleaned up. Maybe he should be the stay-at-home parent. Hmmm.

Thus ends (permanently...please?) Erin's adventure with kidney stones. I have a check-up with the urologist in 2 weeks, but don't expect it to be anything more than a formality. Oh yeah, and just because I'm extra lucky and have that ovarian cyst as well I have to go back to the hospital to have another ultrasound done at the end of the month.

E.R. copay: $100
Urologist copay: $40
Prescriptions: $33
Deductible paid before they would do the lithotripsy: $1000
20% of hospital, doctors', and surgical fees: ????
Follow up with urologist: $40
Follow up ultrasound: $40 + ????

Having sweet kids, sweet friends, and a sweet husband: priceless.


Anonymous said...

Funny, your allusion to Fiddler on the Roof. I was transferring videotapes to DVD yesterday and discovered footage of you and Evan lip-syncing "Do You Love Me?". There you are with your mouth wide open singing, "If that's not love, what is?" I had no recollection of you doing that and neither did Evan but there it was. And today it's on your blog!

Glad you're back on your feet!

Anonymous said...

Funny, your allusion to Fiddler on the Roof. Yesterday I was transferring videotape to DVD and came across footage (circa 1993) of you and Evan lip-syncing "Do You Love Me?" There you are with your mouth wide open singing, "If that's not love,what is?" I have no recollection of you ever doing that and neither does Evan, but I guess it is buried in your brain because today it is on your blog!

Glad you're back on your feet.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. The first comment I wrote disappeared into cyperspace when I clicked on publish your comment so I figured I had typed the word verification wrong and started over. That time when I clicked on publish your comment, my first comment appeared and some time later, the second one came up. Don't know what that's about but my laptop is responding very slowly today for some reason so I guess it was just taking forever to show my comment and I thought it had erased it.

Anonymous said...

I guess I should have written, you were singing, "If that's not love, what iiiiiisssss?"

Now I'm done writing comments.

M.M.M. said...

Wow. I had no idea kidney stones could be that intense. No wonder you were out for the whole week. I thought it was like a day thing. I was wrong.
This reminded me of the most horrible week of my life when I had a blood clot. Not the same ailment, but also the misery level was off the charts. Anyway. Not that this post should somehow go back to me...I am a little self centered you see.
Anyway, that is sort of funny about the morphine.
Also, who knew a machine to break up a kidney stone would be in such hot demand. They should get another one of those things.
Glad your ordeal is over. And that it never happens again. You might need some post traumatic stress counseling.

ottspot said...

I'm surprised Evan doesn't remember (more like he doesn't want to admit it). As I recall, it wasn't a one-time thing. There were several performances ending with the one that we videotaped.

Jenny said...

Hoping there are no more kidney stones in your future!!!!! We went to Orem Community's ER for mine & if I ever have to go again, I'm going back there...they were so quick & attentive, going the extra mile over & over again. Love them!

Jess Dickerson said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better! Surgery is lame. Also pain. I hope you keep doing well!

Kate said...

This is the worst part about moving out of the ward - I had no idea! I'd be happy to take your boys some day, even though it sounds like you are doing better! I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I will never forget when my dad had kidney stones - I know they are the worst.

Kami said...

no fun! :( Sean had alot of kidney stones in the past and had to have 2 lithotripsy's as well. Hope you're recovering well! :)

mollie said...

psh. way to mention nothing about your amazing sister(s).

p.s.- mom's conversation with herself for a little while there was pretty entertaining.

Chad said...

... i am pretty amazing. (-Megan)

ottspot said...

I was waiting for the Midway weekend update. So there you go.

Mike &; Lauren said...

Erin this is quite the summary of a horrible ordeal... so sorry you had to go through that! I wish I had done something to help! I am so glad your family and ward took good care of you.

I remember having similar feeling about being put under when I got my wisdom teeth out. My mom said I said some really funny things. Those anesthesiologists must have interesting days.

emilymhjohnson said...

Poor Erin! That sounds awful! I'm so glad it all ended well, though! I'm curious - were you resistant to the epidural when you had your babies? Because I really was - and the anesthesiologist didn't believe me! So I'm wondering if those two things are related. I'm glad it's over for you! Here, I'm sending you some cyber flowers: *-- *-- *-- Cute, huh?