Friday, January 30, 2009

Kidney Stone Episode Update…

This past week has been hell.

As noted in my last update, it was discovered that I had a kidney stone in my right kidney. After visiting the ER at Centerpoint, Thursday night, I called my doctor’s office the next day (I didn’t make it to work Friday, either), and set up an appointment with his nurse practitioner, Mary Ryan for Tuesday, the 27th. I called my boss and told him what was going on. He said he’d heard horror stories about having kidney stones, and to just keep him informed.

Through the weekend, and most of Monday, I pretty much lived on the pain pills that had been prescribed, taking two at a time. By Monday night, my last two pills were taken, and my appointment was for 1:30 Tuesday.

Jo and I spent part of Monday evening trying to air up the right front tire, which had developed a slow leak. We had to fight with my compressor, which naturally decided to pick now to start malfunctioning. We finally managed to get the tire inflated, hoping it would hold until we got to the hospital.

The tire held up, and we drove to St. Joseph Medical Center for my appointment with Mary. I was out of pain pills, and had made the drive to the hospital in a great deal of pain. We got to the doctor’s office a bit early, and I signed in. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait very long until they called me back.

The nurse that called me back asked if I was having kidney stone trouble; she could tell from the way I was walking and holding my back. She took me into a room, took the usual vitals, and went to get Mary Ryan. Soon, Mary came into the room, listened to my breathing, and I told her my sad, painful story. She said she was going to speak with my doctor, Dr. Boullier, and would be right back. She said I may have to be admitted to the hospital.

A couple minutes later, she came back in, and Dr. Boullier came in a few seconds later. He took one look at me, and said “We need to get him down to ER, and get him admitted.” He had the medical report from Centerpoint, and told me that after trying to pass a 5mm stone for 5 days without success, it wasn’t going to pass on its own. They brought up a wheelchair, and hurried me down to Emergency. While waiting, I called my boss, and told him what was going on, and that I was being put in the hospital, and would need to have a surgical procedure. He said to just take it easy, and not worry about anything. He would cancel my trip to Dallas for next week, and we’d just do it later.

Soon, I was taken back to a room in Emergency, and hooked up to all the IVs and other stuff. They ran me through another CAT scan, and still didn’t find any cats. What they did find, was that the stone was actually 6.5mm instead of 5mm. A silly 1.5mm isn’t much, but when the stone is trying to go through a tube with a 4mm hole, it’s not gonna work weather it’s 5mm or 6.5mm. They gave me some pain medicine, and took pretty good care of me, but we had to wait from about 1:50 in the afternoon to almost 9:00 in the evening until they had a room opening.
After getting more or less settled in my room (which was, of course, a two person room), Dr. Boullier came in to tell me the findings of the latest CAT scan. He said I’d have the surgical procedure the next day, and he had contacted the urologist, and he’d be talking to me in the morning. My first-ever night in a hospital was underway. They even let Jo spend the night with me, sleeping in a chair next to my bed.

The next morning (Wednesday), Dr. Boullier came in, and talked to me a bit more. He was going to find out how soon they could get me into surgery, and that the urologist, Dr. Bock, would be in to see me. Soon, he returned and said the surgery would be at noon. Shortly afterwards, Dr. Bock came in and introduced himself. He described the procedure that would be done: They would insert a stint, or length of tubing into the kidney then into the bladder bypassing the stone, and relieving the pressure on the kidney. This insertion would be through the penis, and there would be no incision made. This first step is intended to prevent damage to the kidney caused by pressure from the blockage caused by the stone. After a little time for the kidney to fully recover, they would do a procedure to break up the stone with sound waves. This could be done on an out-patient basis.

Waiting in Surgery Prep

Around 10:30, they came to take me down to surgery prep to get me ready for my procedure. Several folks came in to talk with me during the hour and a half, and just before surgery, Dr. Bock came in to talk with Jo and me. A nurse came in, and shot some medication into my IV line to get me relaxed. I was wheeled into the operating room, and I was able (with just a little help) to move myself onto the operating table bed. Someone put an oxygen mask on me, and said to take several slow, deep breaths. I remember taking about three.

The next thing I knew, I was groggily coming out of a fog, with bright square lights all arranged in a matrix above me. My first thought was “Great – I’ve been abducted by aliens…”, but I was just in the recovery room. A nurse leaned over and asked if I was feeling OK. I said I felt fine, and that I must have had a good time with them. She chuckled, and said, “I think Mr. Shelley is ready…” They wheeled me out, and soon I saw Jolene waiting on me.

Back in my room, I enjoyed a pretty decent supper of turkey and mashed potatoes, and a glass of grape juice. Spending a night in a hospital is definitely NOT a restful experience. This particular night between the constant din and clatter in the hallway, and my roommate puking all night, I think I managed to get maybe a good hours’ sleep. I had just fallen into a good sleep about 6:00 AM (Thursday), when Dr. Bock came in. He hated to wake me up, but he wanted to see how I was feeling, and give me some good news: I would be released from the hospital this morning. I ordered breakfast, and soon afterward, Dr. Boullier came in, and said he was signing my release papers, and they would be sending me home soon. He said I was OK to drive home, so Jo went out to check on the tire, which of course, was flat. She went down to Security to see if they could help, and they met her at the car to air up the tire. It wasn’t long before we were on the way home.

I’m taking it pretty easy at home now (Friday), and slowly getting back some of my energy. It’s been a long road, and I still have some way to go. I have more appointments and procedures ahead, but hopefully, I’ll be back to normal within a few months. It’s been pretty intense since Christmas with the food poisoning episode, and now this, but hopefully the medical issues are over – or at least stabilized – for now. I know I’m ready to get back to the good times again.

Obviously, I’ve not done a lot with the website, and updates are likely to be a bit slow for now.

I have tow insurance included with my car insurance, so I called them today to see if they would send someone out to change the flat tire, and put on the spare. I was amazed when it took about 5 minutes for someone to show up, and switch the tire! I have the van set up for 8:30 Saturday morning at Jack Miller to get a few other issues taken care of, and I’ll get the tire fixed then. Dr. Boulier has faxed a work release to my job, so I’m clear to go back on Monday. Maybe things are starting to fall into place for a change. That would be a most welcome change!


Friday, January 23, 2009

What A Pain.....

It's time for another update! It's overdue for another update, actually.

We're now in a new year, and it's time for some new beginnings. We have a new Prez, there are some neat, new things at the Lair, and it's time for me to get busy with some of the things I've been putting off for months. Assuming, of course, I can stay healthy enough….

Things have been a tad insane since Christmas. Jo and I ended up with a nasty episode of food poisoning over the Christmas Holiday, so we didn't really enjoy most of it. We're pretty well over that, thankfully!

Then, last night about 11 o’clock, I started having a pain in my lower right flank, right about kidney level. I thought maybe I was having indigestion, or some remnant of the food poisoning episode. Antacid had no effect, and the pain just kept getting worse, and moving around to the front as well. I finally decided it was time to have it checked out, so we drove over to Centerpoint Hospital, and I checked into the emergency room. They checked me out pretty thoroughly, took a bunch of blood samples, a urine sample, and so on. I was still in a lot of pain, and was beginning to wonder if they were ever going to give me something to ease it. Presently, a young lady came in, and wheeled me off for a CATscan. Apparently they didn’t find any cats.

Shortly afterwards, the doctor came in and told me I had a kidney stone that was passing from the kidney. She said it was about 5mm, but from the pain it was causing, I’d have thought the damn thing was the size of a bowling ball, boulder, or small planetary body. OWWWW!

Once they knew what it was, the male nurse came in with a treasure trove of syringes filled with various flavors of happy juice. By the time he was done, I was feeling no pain. They wrote out a couple prescriptions – one for pain, thankfully – and sent me home. We finally got home about 4:00 AM. Obviously, I didn’t make it to work, today.

Now, I’ve got to go see a urologist, and they want me to try and capture the dang rock if/when it finally passes. So now, I have to pee in a bottle and run it through a strainer to capture the rock for analysis. Then they will probably tell me to change my diet by eliminating all the stuff I love.

Damn. I just turned 60, and my body is already falling apart….

Looks like I'll be taking a little trip to Dallas, Texas the first week of February. I'll be taking a week-long class on some new equipment. While I usually enjoy these trips, I'm not looking forward to this one as much as I have in the past.

I still enjoy the training, but the part I'm not going to like is that – unlike all my past training trips – I'll have to share a hotel room with a roommate for a week. To save a little money, my company requires you to share a room. My roommate will be someone else in the company, but I have no idea who. And that's something that resides near the top of my “I Hate This” list. I'm a very private person, and sharing a room for a week with a complete stranger rates right up there with running naked through a cactus patch, or rolling around in pig poo. I hated it when I was in the military, and I still hate it. I always end up getting stuck with some bunghole that likes to go out drinking until 3 AM, then comes back to the room and pees on the floor. And guess who has to end up cleaning up the mess.

Ah, well, enough ranting. Suffice it to say if my roomie ands up being the roomie from hell, I'll just pay for my own room out of my own pocket, then file a complaint with my manager. Hopefully, I'll end up rooming with someone somewhat compatible. I could just get a private room, and pay for half of it, but I'd rather save the money for a nice vacation in the fall. I'll just have to bite my lip, and see how it goes.

Well , for now, I’ll sign off, and hopefully, I’ll feel a little better by my next update.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

A brand new year is upon us! I've just updated the Monthly Updates with a new January 2009 link. I'll let this blog entry be rather short for now, but I hope to post a lot more frequently this year.

If you are not on my website, click the link to the right that says "This blog is integrated into my website..."

Hope you all had a great Christmas, and I wish you a happy New Year!