Last Friday night I woke up at 2 AM with super intense gas pains. Or so I thought. I went to the bathroom a couple of times, thinking Red Lobster’s Endless Shrimp had gotten the best of me. But there was no relief. I finally got back to sleep about 5 AM. When I got up at 7 AM with Lexi, I felt a little crampy, but I attributed that to my morning cup of coffee because coffee had been irritating my stomach/bladder for a couple of weeks. Or so I thought. Around noon I went grocery shopping, and, by the time I got home, I was in extreme pain. It felt like a cat was clawing the inside of my lower abdomen, and now the sides of my lower back were aching. I couldn’t get comfortable or sit still. I tried some gas medicine, still thinking it was a stomachache. But when that didn’t provide “fast, effective relief”, like the box said it would, I headed to the minor med. The nice receptionist asked what my symptoms were and said, “I’ll tell you right now the doctor is gonna send you to the ER. All we can do here is take an x-ray and do a urinalysis.” By this time I was suspecting a bladder infection, which the minor med could’ve treated, but I decided to go ahead and go to the ER.
Elian, Allie, and I spent the next 10 hours in various exam rooms. My blood test and urine were ok, and the ER doctor thought my x-ray was clean (we would later find out it wasn’t.) But given my pain level, the doctor didn’t feel comfortable sending me home. She passed me off to another doctor. He wanted to run a CT, do a pelvic exam, and cath me to double check my urine. When all the results were in, the doctor had this to say, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you. I see two stones in your kidney, but that shouldn’t be causing the pain. Your ureter is dilated, which would indicate you passed a stone, but there is no blood in your urine, so that doesn’t make sense. If you still hurt in a couple of days, go see your general practitioner.” He sent me home with a Lortab prescription.
The Lortab helped with the back pain, but the abdominal pain kept up. By Tuesday afternoon I was on my way to see a urologist. He was able to pull up my CT and x-ray from the weekend, and he saw some things the ER doctors missed. As I told the urologist my story, he said the x-ray wasn’t clean, and, not only did I have two kidney stones, I also had one in my ureter, the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. When I told him they did a pelvic exam in the ER, he laughed as if to say, “You sucker!”. What he actually said was, “Bet you weren’t expecting THAT!”
Anyway, he said I had a 50% chance of passing the stone in my ureter on my own, so I could wait it out, or he could go in and get it. I chose the latter, thinking it would be less painful and faster. The next morning I was put to sleep, and when I woke up, I was told all 3 stones were in my ureter, so the doctor was able to remove them all. That was great news because the alternative treatment for the 2 stones in my kidney didn’t sound fun. (He was going to shoot energy into my kidneys to break up the stones, making them easier to pass). The bad news is the doctor had to put a stent in my ureter to keep it from swelling shut. This uncomfortable piece of plastic is causing an already irritated area to really hurt. And the stent has to stay in for a week, meaning I will be in this state until Thursday. Normally, I would just take the prescribed Percocet and sleep the week away. But because I am nursing a baby, I can’t. Something about narcotics not being good for infants. So I either have to take an ineffective Lortab so I can nurse, or I can take a semi-effective Percocet and bottle feed Allie. The downsides to the second option are I still have to pump so my milk supply doesn’t disappear, and Percocet makes me too loopy to take care of my children. Thankfully, Elian and my mom have been taking care of the girls for me as much as possible.
I’m counting down the days until the stent comes out, although I am afraid of how much that is going to hurt… But at least then my insides can begin to heal… And it will stop feeling like someone is stabbing me in the abdomen… I’ve forgotten what it feels like to pee without the sensation that razor blades are passing through my urinary tract…
I am also interested to learn what kind of stones I had – what they were made of. The doctor gave me two to take home and sent one off to be analyzed. What am I supposed to do with two kidney stones in a test tube? Maybe I could offer some witty suggestions if I weren’t so drugged out.
I’ve learned that kidney stones are sometimes hereditary (both my parents have had them), and that women are more likely to get them while pregnant than when they are not (I’ll have to ask the doctor if he thinks the stones were formed while I was pregnant because I need one more reason to hate pregnancy).
Time to go drink some water…