This month has been insane, seriously. Things have not slowed down one bit. A few weeks ago I had my first visit with my new urologist. After my third kidney stone in three years, I’m finally meeting with one. Better late than never, right? She’s been the best I could get at this point. She has been playing up the “You’re way too young to be dealing with all of this” spiel, but I’ve honestly been getting that from everyone recently.
With the first visit, I was already faced with the fact that I was definitely the youngest person in the waiting room. I’m pretty sure there were at least two people with walkers in there. The great thing is that there’s a fancy Kurieg. In fact, there were a lot of things to drink in there. Basically, if you didn’t need to pee for the urine sample, you would soon.
When I was finally meeting with my doctor, she said that my urine sample had traces of blood in it, so there was a pretty big chance that my kidney stone never passed. It being 8 mm made it an even bigger chance that it didn’t. My doctor said that a CT scan would be a lot easier and faster, but since I’m of “reproductive age”, she didn’t want me to “undergo too much radiation”.
Cue eye roll.
Instead, I had to fast for almost two days and take laxatives the night before a series of x-rays. It involved a ton of iodine being shot through me in an IV and they would monitor it going through me until I could pee it out. The iodine was to make everything, including the stone, stand out more in the x-ray.
I inhaled food for the rest of the day after that procedure.
A few days later, and a week after the first visit, I had a follow up visit with my urologist. Just as she predicted, the stone was still stuck in there. She let me see the scans, and there it was. It was stuck around the inside of my right pelvic bone. Basically where I felt the pain when it was first trying to pass about a month ago. It looked huge compared to everything else in that area. Maybe because I’m a smaller person.
I did some research (I probably should’ve done this a while ago) and a millimeter is about the width of a dime. Imagine 8 dimes worth of calcified pee trying to pass through a tiny tube on its own. It ain’t gonna happen.
I’m super pissed at the ER doctor I got stuck with.
My right kidney looked swollen as well. Everything had been blocking it off since the stone was in the way of everything. Based on everything, I’m assuming my left kidney was about the size of the palm of my hand. My right kidney was almost as big as the first joint on my middle finger. My doctor then began to discuss treatments.
She mentioned the use of shock wave lithotripsy, but she was worried that it would hurt my other organs, more importantly, my ovaries.
Cue eyes rolling into the back of my skull.
She then said a ureteroscopy and the placement of a stent would be more appropriate for me. The procedure consisted of me getting knocked out with general anesthesia (expensive nap time), them sticking a camera up me (not the first time that’s happened), shooting a laser at the stone, then placing a stent to help clear out my kidney gunk faster. She said recovery time was minimal and that it was even an outpatient procedure. She gave me a phone number to call the next day to schedule the procedure. She said she usually did her surgeries on Wednesdays.
I began to scramble for a day in my head that I could possibly risk taking time off. With finals coming up, there were also final grades coming up. The next day I had my last Spanish 2 test and the day after that I had my last American History test before finals. Also I was in the middle of slapping together a 15 to 20 page American Romanticism paper (which I’m currently taking a break from working on).
I half joked if she’d do it the day before Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t miss anything if the procedure was done in the afternoon and I’d have a few days to recover, too. She said everything would be closed then. That reminds me of when I had to wait in the hospital an entire weekend before I could have a colonoscopy done.
I feel bad for the people who have medical emergencies over holidays and weekends. This whole kidney stone business probably would’ve been taken care of a long time ago if it didn’t happen on an early Saturday morning.
The next day came and I made the phone call. I told the nurse who I was, who my doctor was, and the procedure I was trying to schedule myself for. She said that there was an opening on Wednesday (the next day) at 11.
Here’s how the rest of that conversation went:
“Wednesday? As in tomorrow Wednesday?”
“That’s what it says right here.”
“I’m gonna write that down right now.”
“At 11 o’clock.”
“So the surgery’s going to be tomorrow.”
“Yes, ma’am. Just make sure to show up an hour early.”
Talk about a surprise. I definitely didn’t expect to get anything that early. I didn’t have a ride there or back, but I figured I could manage.
Turns out that nurse’s name was Liar McPantsonfire, because the surgery wasn’t the next day at all. All I was doing is giving a blood sample and filling out a ton of paperwork. I was super annoyed since I had rushed through my American History test and was basically prepared to miss class that afternoon.
Aka: I didn’t do my homework for the class I thought I’d be missing.
I guess it ended up working out in the end, because I found out that there was a zero percent chance that they would let me drive myself home. I even had to sign a form saying that I’d have someone there with me.
Turns out my surgery was going to be that Friday. I couldn’t eat anything after midnight and I was required to have a “responsible adult” take me home. I don’t think I know any of those, but I made do with my dad.
The annoying part was that I had to show up for the surgery at 6 in the morning. It was past 7:30 when I was finally brought in for the procedure. The last thing I remember was being scooted onto the table and a nurse putting a gas mask to my face and saying “Hold this on your face”.
Next thing I knew I was in the recovery room wondering what time it was and why I couldn’t talk. Last surgery I had, there was a reason I couldn’t talk and that was because I had my tonsils removed. A nurse noticed I was awake and pulled a tube from out of my mouth. Aha, there’s the culprit. Apparently having straight oxygen shot to the back of your throat for an hour can dry it out and just make everything in life difficult.
I remember being really intent on finding out what time it was. I tapped on my wrist at the blurry outline of a nurse near me. She said it was 8:50. Then I remember looking around, wishing I could actually see things. Let me tell you, my vision is absolutely terrible. I can’t see anything past my fingertips.
I laid there in the room for about an hour while I slowly turned back into a normal person. I started caring less and less about what time it was. They wheeled me back into my room and they gave me some Sprite to drink. They had asked me what I wanted to drink when I was still half asleep and apparently that’s what half-asleep Lauren chose from a list.
Once I was finally out of the hospital, my dad took me to my grandma’s restaurant to get breakfast tacos. While I was waiting for my food, I decided to give peeing a shot.
Bad idea. Worst idea. Literally the worst thing I could’ve ever done to myself.
I almost thought fire was coming out of me. Maybe actual scorpions. I bit my knuckle to give myself something else to focus on. Not to mention that everything was just straight up blood.
A little over a week later, not much has changed from that first attempt at peeing with the stent in. I’ve either gotten used to it or the pain actually has subsided. I’ve been using a cane at school and public places, mostly to help myself get up and sit down, but I’ve actually had to use it to push myself into walking. I think my left arm is more toned than my right arm now. Pain medicine has been my best friend.
I’ve also dealt with some anonymous assholes who thought that I was using the cane to get attention. Psh, I almost wish I was. You try walking without help when you have a line of pain from the bottom of your rib cage to your pelvis. I’m not even allowed to carry more than 20 pounds. This rule was the hardest to actually follow. Even though I had a rolling backpack, how do you expect me to get it in and out of my car when I’m always alone when those things happen?
I swear that’s the only time I break it.
That and I actually don’t know how much my cat weighs. He’s pretty fat.
Luckily I’m scheduled to get the stent out on Monday, December 1st. Honestly I feel like I could take it out myself, but my doctor probably wants to see how I’m doing, too.
So yeah, things haven’t changed at all in my life the sense of pace. Hopefully things will slow down around Christmas.
I highly doubt it, though.