Sunday, November 20, 2016

This Too Shall Pass

Tyler had kidney stones on his mission in Brazil, 18 years ago. Ask him about it sometime. He has some hilarious and disturbing stories as you can imagine. Over the years he has felt some twinges of pain but they have gone away. But it seemed the possibility of more kidney stones was always lurking in the shadows.

Let's rewind two weeks. Tyler was having some uncomfortable pain. The problem with pain is figuring out where it is coming from. In this case, it wasn't self evident, but it was constant and so Tyler decided to go to the doctor. By the time he got there, the pain was familiar enough that he told the doctor that he suspected a kidney stone. One CT scan later and there was no doubt that he had a 9mm stone that wasn't going to come out on its own. In Brazil, his stone was also too large to pass so he did Lithotripsy. This is a procedure where they use sonic shock waves to break up the stone into passable pieces. His stories of this process in Brazil are kind of scary actually. They didn't put him to sleep and later he passed not only stones but large pieces of kidney.

So when Lithotripsy was mentioned at least we could be happy that we were in the United States and hopefully things would go a bit smoother.

By Friday Tyler was in to see the Urologist. Sadly, his one piece of bread for breakfast meant he couldn't have surgery that day and that meant he had to wait through the weekend. We were a bit nervous because kidney pain is nothing to scoff at, but surprisingly, the pain stayed at a dull ache with nothing too acute. In fact, Tyler was able to work on a home project with me that we had planned but I thought would be delayed. (Way cool project too, but that is another post.)

Monday dawned and it was surgery day. (Although, Tyler does not like to call it surgery. He calls it a procedure since they weren't planning on slicing him.) I took him into the hospital in the afternoon. I mistakenly thought we would be back right after the kids got home from school, but I did not factor in all the waiting and extra waiting. After we checked in, Tyler was shown to a room and given some spiffy duds to wear. Check out these boxers. One size fits all?

Over the unders he got a nice purple gown. I made fun of his gown a little bit, but it turned out to be quite nifty.

For those of you who have been in the hospital recently, maybe you have used the Bare Paws. There is a little tube that attaches to the gown and pumps heated air into pockets in the gown to regulate temperature. It is very convenient in a cold hospital when you are waiting for over an hour for the doctor to clear you for surgery. We took some x-rays in there somewhere. I guess they wanted to make sure the stone was still there. Yep. Just hanging out in the kidney waiting to make its big debut. (Sadly, we had crushing news for it.)

We spent plenty of time talking and waiting. It is no fun waiting for a procedure you don't want in the first place, but Tyler was staying calm and enjoying his warm cocoon.

Finally, he was off to surgery the procedure and I was off to the waiting room. In a little less than an hour, the doctor told me it all went according to plan. Now Tyler just had to pass all the sand they had just created inside him.

We spent another hour at the hospital letting Tyler come out of anesthesia and get walking again. (Yes, they put you to sleep here in the states.) Tyler walked around the entire time. The nurse said she had never had such an active patient.

Tyler is rather stalwart. He doesn't like to rely on hospitals and medicine. This ended up being a problem the first night. The key to kidney stones is to stay on top of the pain. Don't let it get ahead of you or you are going to have a hard time catching up. I believe we learned this the hard way the first night. There was little sleep, some vomiting, and more pain than is recommended in a lifetime. Tyler made my five labors look like a walk in the park. We learned some valuable lessons and decided never to have another night like that one.

And we didn't. It has been a week since the stone was pulverized. Tyler has collected quite a nice cache of sand. Once crushed into small pieces, each one still has to pass. Some are larger than others, and still quite painful. All together, there are probably 100-150 pieces. (Scheduled to be close to 200 by the end.) Tyler was more than happy to show his collection to the kids. You want to have something to show for all your hard work.

Tyler spent a lot of last week 'high' as he likes to say. As an outside opinion, I would say that he doesn't get too loopy or silly. He does seem to slow down. Sometimes he would call me the 'Flash' because he felt like I was moving so quickly. My favorite day was when he called a client and his boss while on his pain meds. I'm sure it was one of the weirdest conversations they have had for a while. (The client who he called was having a birthday and he told her he was passing a stone for every year she was alive. Isn't that considerate?)

A week later now, Tyler seems to be doing much better. The kids have been so cute coming home from school each day and wondering how he was doing. I've liked having him home for a little while. I believe my actual word were, "I'm sorry you have to go through this pain so we can enjoy this time together." Kind of an oxymoron.

Although I have never had stones myself, I feel for those of you out there who have, and those who have had to watch a loved one go through that sort of pain. Kidney stones are not for the faint of heart. I hope it is more than 18 years before we go through this again.

* I tried to link the stones to soda and energy drink consumption. No luck. The doctor said it was more likely from spinach and nuts. Who would have thought?

1 comment:

meganmushrat said...

I think my hernia operation has probably been easier on me than that kidney "procedure" was on Tyler. I certainly hope kidney stones aren't in our future!