A Kidney Stone Adventure

Well Alex is off hiking this weekend, so I guess I’ll take this time to fill you all in on the details from last weekend’s drama…
A week ago Thursday I had a bit of a tummy ache at school. It started in the morning and grew throughout the day so that by the time seventh period rolled around I pretty much told the kids, “I think I’m going to throw up. I’m going to sit here at my desk and if you have questions you are going to have to come to me. I’m really sorry.” They took it well and were amazingly good despite the fact that I was a funny shade of green and sitting in the corner.
I headed straight home on the bus after school with the intention of curling up on the couch until I felt better. Only, curling up didn’t make the pain go away. In fact it didn’t matter what position I sat or laid in the pain was still excruciating. And then I did start throwing up…everything I had eaten the entire day. Alex was still at school due to the fact that our school was hosting a huge Model United Nations event (something he is in charge of), but he kept calling to check in on me. By the third phone call (and nearly 2 hours of writhing in pain and puking my guts out) I finally admitted that I thought the hospital might be necessary.
Because Alex is a quick thinker (and I was in no condition for thinking), he called the neighbor to have him take me to the hospital and then hopped in a cab to meet us there. Wyatt was an angel and very supportive in the taxi ride, only speaking up once before we left to mention that it might be a good idea to bring a plastic bag along for the ride. I managed not to need it in the cab, but it came in handy later in the ER.
Now, I’ve never been to the ER in the States so I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but the ER at Hospital Metropolitano was impressive! Alex and I were ushered into the waiting room and as the staff watched me stumble in doubled over in pain they immediately led me to a bed and started taking my vitals while Alex filled out paperwork. Within an hour I had an IV and pain meds and the nurses had already drawn blood for a blood test and taken me to get an x-ray.
In that x-ray the doctor could see a 7mm kidney stone somewhere just south of my kidneys. I’m not so good at the metric system so I later googled the conversion and that’s nearly 1/4 of an inch in diameter…or as my dad pointed out, it would be a pretty fancy sized pearl for a necklace. A urologist was called and “surgery” was scheduled for Friday morning. Alex and I checked into a private room with a pull out couch and spent the night getting woken up every few hours by nurses checking my temperature.
I say “surgery” because it was not really all that invasive. I was knocked out with general anesthesia and then the doctors used this giant pulsating machine to basically beat the stone into submission and shatter it into a million pieces from outside my body. They then went in with a camera to make sure it was all broken up and put in a tiny tube so that the pieces wouldn’t scratch the walls of my urethra for the next week. We headed back to the private room, filled out lots of paper work, and headed home in Friday rush hour traffic.
So I should have been on the road to recovery right? That’s what I thought too. Friday night wasn’t easy, but I woke up Saturday determined to lay around, watch movies and just feel better. And that’s when the migraine started…followed shortly after by the fever…and then my entire body aching. These symptoms wouldn’t normally freak me out so much except that I was on antibiotics, two different pain killers, and a muscle relaxant. It didn’t seem like I should be in that much pain while on that many drugs! After several phone calls to family, friends, and nurses at the hospital we headed back to the ER just 24 hours after we checked out.
I was readmitted although this time not nearly as cordially. The weekend staff left a bit to be desired compared to those we dealt with on Thursday. The general impression was that I was being a bit of a wuss and Alex had to argue with the ER doctor when he said it was impossible that I had an infection from the tube that was placed inside me. This was especially entertaining when the urologist came back and immediately stated that I probably had an infection from when they placed the tube inside me.
It was determined that the antibiotic I was on wasn’t working as well as it should be and it was suggested that I stay until Monday morning so that they could administer my drugs intravenously. So we checked into a different private room and proceeded to spend the next day and a half watching better cable than we have at home and getting my temperature taken every 3 hours.
We headed home Monday afternoon and I have been slowly recuperating ever since. I took almost the entire week off of school, something that made me feel horribly guilty since I felt find laying on the couch at home. Yesterday I headed to our teachers teaching teachers conference and realized that it was a good thing I didn’t try to go back to work on Wednesday like I felt I should have! Most of last evening was spent in pain on the couch and all I really did yesterday was sit in workshops!
Luckily I have two more days to recover although I’m still a bit worried about going back to work on Monday. It is one of my easier days class load wise so it will be a good baby step back into school and will help me decide if I can handle a full day of teaching like I have on Tuesday.
It was an exhausting week both physically and emotionally and Alex and I feel so lucky to have such supportive friends and family members.

4 thoughts on “A Kidney Stone Adventure

  1. Good grief Cait! I am glad you got it all figured out and are on the road to recovery. Scary. I have to admit, if I took a week of school, I would feel super guilty too but it also sounds wonderful right about now. Spring break can not come soon enough!

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  2. I am glad that you are feeling well enough to write about the experience. I hope that next week isn't too difficult. We are thinking about you… and just think, only two weeks until semana santa!!

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  3. Thanks for all the well wishes everyone! I went back to the doctor on Thursday to get the stent removed (not sure that I included that in the post, but I basically had a foot long plastic tube in me for the last two weeks) and all the pain miraculously went away!! The stent was in so the stones could pass more easily, but I'm so glad to have it out and am finally feeling 100% better.
    Now I just hope this doesn't become a recurring problem! πŸ™‚

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