Sunday, January 10, 2010
Romancing the Stone
This week kidney stones decided to pay a visit. Early one morning, after the pain woke me up and wouldn't go away, I found myself, in escalating worry. I told my dear daughter, who recently earned her driver's permit that she might need to take me to the emergency room. Eye's wide, head clad in a turban after her shower, she's all like, "Okay..." I hadn't even said "Good-morning-how's-it-going-get-dressed-you're-taking-me-to-the-hospital", I just sprung it on her, just like that.
To her credit, she not only got herself ready to go, she got her brother up and told him he needed to get himself to school today. And to his credit, he did.
I've had two kidney stone episodes in the past, the first one two days after giving birth, oddly enough, to my third child--this particular dear daughter. The other one four years later. Kidney stones are worse than childbirth because at least with labor pains you have a break in the contraction (unless of course you are foolish like me and opt to have your last child naturally, only you are induced, forgetting that induction means one long contraction with no relief. Well, no one explained it to me beforehand because if they had I would have sensibly asked for the epidural--which I'd had with varying degrees of success with the others and was tired of that nonsense, but I digress).
With the stones I tend to hyperventilate--to keep from screaming and freaking out the innocent around me, so my leg tends to seize up like an ironing board and now I can barely move. Plus if anyone touches the leg it's like a board made of iron. And that hurts after awhile, plus it makes sitting in a car very difficult. Not to mention walking, dragging it along uselessly like some sort of injured zombie.
Dear daughter follows directions well and gets us to the hospital, parks, and drags me into the emergency room which was pretty empty. This was in our favor, unlike a previous time where I had to sit in a crowd and provide information in between hyperventilating gasps and moans of pain before they were convinced that maybe someone ought to check me out.
Here they got me on a bed and started doing whatever it is they do. I'll spare you the embarassing details, but there were CATHETERS and cat scans involved, and (what's with all the cat references? My kitteh--were I to actually have one these days--would be insulted). and of course, inadequate dressing gowns that cover nothing and which in my distress I didn't bother to tie so it covered even less.
The most embarrassing part of all though...was the drugs. I don't do drugs well, according to the male nurse that was tending to my hyperventilating distress--which by the way, probably looked remarkably like Bella writhing on the floor after James bites her in the teen hit Twilight. In fact, the trio of doctor/male nurse/dear daughter could have easily been Carlisle/Edward/Alice discussing treatment, while Bella/I convulse and make scary sounds while silently screaming JUST !@%$#* DO SOMETHING ALREADY!!!
The ever helpful nurse mixed quite a painkiller cocktail, since much of it didn't work at first, and after awhile, he tells dear daughter, chuckling, "This is your mother, high". I'm hopeful that witnessing that may have seared the thought, "NEVER, EVER DO DRUGS" in sparkly neon across her brain and count myself lucky. If that doesn't turn her off forever to the joys of highs, I don't know what will.
The hospital/doctor/nurse/catheter person kept me there all day, but unlike previous kidney-related hospital visits where I had to beg to be released to wait out the stones, this insurance is a tad finickier so they were more than happy to release me. In fact, they insisted I leave (except for the male nurse, who was having too much fun keeping dear daughter entertained with my loopiness). And this time, single-momming it, I wasn't ready. I'm all, are you sure? In previous attacks they didn't dream of letting me go! I stopped short of PLEASE, PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME LEAVE YET, probably because I was still too high to make much of a fuss. But somewhere in there my reptilian brain was hissing and lashing its scaly tail, let me tell you.
So off we went, dear daughter following instructions to a local pharmacy to pick up my very own cache of drugs. They even threw in an antibiotic. After some fun times there, she got me home and up three flights of stairs, and finally, into my very own bed. And that was the kindest thing the hospital did do for me after all, banishing me from their cold, overly bright room to mine. Quiet, comfy, and welcoming dark.
And that's where I spent the next pain-ridden day or so, in between drug dosages. No food, lots of water (mainly during the drug ingestion, when I bothered to come around) and finally decided I couldn't endure the nauseating semi-hallucinogenic-making pills anymore. I stopped the pain killer and anti-nausea pills (how ironic, I know) and did some homeopathic thing which for your sake, I'll spare you. But it cleared my head and the pain is only a twinge as now I wait for the passing of the stone. Which I'm sure, close-up, is a pretty little thing, after all. Too bad I'm not fully in the mood to appreciate it's crystalline glory.
So for now, until I meet with a urologist for a follow-up and have another cat scan with contrast--whatever that means--because they found something on a kidney in the first scan which ought not be there, I will rest.
Wishing there was at least a real cat as consolation. But willing to settle for a moment or two of
Credit: Scanning Electron microscope photo of a kidney stone crystal found at http://www.data4science.net/essaytags/Kidney_stone_crystals_SEM.jpg