Retired in Delaware: Kidney Stone Redux

This morning when I woke up I had “that” feeling again.  Oh no, another kidney stone passing.  There was no denying what was happening.  I had nausea, and my right side was hurting.  Yes, I just had a kidney stone pass a few weeks ago.  That time it was on my left side.

This time I decided not to wait and make myself believe that I was imagining things.  I put my clothes on and left my bedroom to see Bill in our sunroom.  This is our usual morning routine.  He is up much earlier than I am and waits for me.

I told him “I’m passing another kidney stone. Could you take me to the emergency room?”  Of course he couldn’t believe it either and I had to repeat myself.  I decided not to call 911 and take the ambulance because the last time that took just too long.  You have to wait for the ambulance and once they get here they take tests to make sure you’re not dying before they put you in the ambulance.  The last time it seemed like it took forever to get to the emergency room.  This time I wanted to get to the emergency room and have the painkillers before my pain got too bad.  Of course I knew I would have to go through a possible delay if the emergency room was busy.

One good thing if there is any good thing about passing a kidney stone, it was early this morning before the Route One traffic really got heavy on this Saturday morning in the height of the summer resort traffic that is the reality of Rehoboth Beach and Lewes this year.

Bill dropped me off in front of the emergency room.  I took out my iPhone and took a quick photo (you know me), even though I was in great discomfort.  I entered the emergency room admissions.  I told the woman behind the desk “I’m passing a kidney stone.”  She immediately led me back to the emergency room working area.

I don’t want or have the time to go into all the detail but I know the drill now, this being my fourth time passing a kidney stone.  They asked me my pain level.  I said “Six” on a scale of one to ten.  That’s one reason I left early, I wanted to get pain killers before it got unbearable.  

They told me to get undressed and I put on their hospital gown.  Bill was with me.  They asked who he was and I said “That’s my spouse.”  I would have said “husband” but Bill prefers I say “spouse” so I did.  

After more routine questions many of which asked me to repeat my name and date of birth several times, I was administered my pain killers.  Oh sweet Jesus, relief.  

More questions about my symptoms then I feel asleep.  Bill took some photos of me sleeping with his iPhone.  Thank you Bill.  For posterity for that day when I can laugh about this, the old man that I am falling apart here.

Next up was the CAT-SCAN.  The nurse joked with me that I probably knew the routine.  I told her I did “Breath in….hold.”  Old routine now.

All the while I’m still thinking “This is only my imagination.  I can’ possibly be passing ANOTHER kidney stone.”  I just can’t believe this was happening.  Oh, before I forget, prior to going in for my CAT-SCAN I had to give them a urine sample for them to see if I had blood in my urine.

I finish the CAT-SCAN (old hat now) and they wheel me back in to Bill who was waiting for me in the one curtained off portion of the emergency room.  I probably should put a deposit on that room, I’ve been spending so much time there lately.

Now the wait.  I fell asleep.  The painkillers were working.  

I don’t know how long I was sleeping but I awoke when I heard the chains on the curtain being drawn aside.  It was the doctor.  He said yes, I was passing another kidney stone.  This one was .6 millimeters, the largest yet.  My last “visit” to my reserved space at the emergency room my kidney stone measured .4 millimeters.  He said “You should be able to pass this because you’re still able to urinate.  However, because of the size this may be problematical.”  I hate to tell you but I didn’t like hearing that word.

He gave me two prescriptions; one for a pain killer and another to relax my urethra to help the kidney stone pass.  They discharged me with the instructions that if I encountered any problems to come back.

I wound my way out of the maze that is the emergency room at Beebe to the outside on this beautiful, sunny morning in Lewes to await Bill who went to get our car.

I asked Bill to take me to the Walgreens in Milton so I could fill my prescriptions.  The summertime traffic had picked up considerable on Route One.  Oh was I SO GLAD that this kidney stone attack didn’t hit later.

Bill drove me to Milton and I dragged myself into Walgreens.  The painkillers were wearing off.  I still haven’t passed my kidney stone and I was still feeling pain on my right side and nausea but not the intensity of level of pain I’ve felt with other kidney stone passings.  I went to the back of the store where the pharmacy is located.  Thank God no other customers were waiting.  I gave them my prescription, with my hospital plastic identification bracelet still on and the cotton and bandage on the crook of left arm still in place where the emergency room personnel injected me with pain killers.  I didn’t care.  I’m sure I looked wipe out.  I was.  The women behind the counter asked “Want to pick this your prescription up later or do you want to wait for it?”  Without any hesitation I said “I’ll wait for it.”  I could feel the increasing nausea and pain one my right side.

While I was waiting I uploaded my status to my Facebook account.  Hey, that’s what Facebook is for right?  Not just letting everyone know you’re attending the latest concert of showing photos of a terrific recipe that I just cooked (like I did last night with my ratatouille recipe).  

My wait was only about fifteen minutes.  I had a few questions about taking my prescription.  I wanted to know if I could skip the pain medication because it makes me nauseas but the pharmacist said I have to take both prescriptions at the same time.   The one prescription is a generic called Ketorolac (10 MG).  He said this is a very strong kidney medicine and I should not take more than three a day or I could cause damage to my kidneys.  He also said that I MUST take it with a FULL glass of water, which is probably my problem in the first place with kidney stones.  I just don’t drink enough water.  Now the chickens are coming home to roost.  He said this prescription expands my urethra so my kidney stone can pass.

My other prescription is a painkiller called Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen.  The prescription says “Take 1-2 tablets by mouth every 4 hours as needed.”  I hate taking painkillers because they nauseate me and cause me constipation but they are apparently working now because I’m not in too much discomfort.  I’m a bit wifty and I certainly couldn’t drive or work but they’re working.

After I took my pills I went to my bedroom (this was about 11:15 am).  I had to go to the bathroom so I got my strainer out (the one to catch the kidney stone – I saved it from the last time) and went into the bathroom.  I had a strained urination but at least I could pee, for which I am thankful.  I DO NOT want a catheter.  I didn’t pass the kidney stone.  

I laid down on my bed.  I was going to read but I was exhausted so I just pulled out the light coverlet that I have to shield my eyes from daylight when I take my daily nap, and placed it on my forehead.  I was dead to the world until about 3 pm when I heard my iPhone ring.  It was a friend of mine who Bill had notified that I had a medical emergency.  See how thoughtful Bill is? What a wonderful thing for Bill to do.  I talked with my friend for awhile on the iPhone.  I’m glad he called, talking to him helped me to relax and slow down that express train of me feeling sorry for myself.  

I had to get up and take a pee again.  I used the strainer, still no kidney stone.

So here is where I am now.  The time is 5:53 pm.  I haven’t had a bite of food since my ratatouille dinner last night.  I’m going to try and eat something as soon as I finish this blog posting.  Believe it or not, writing about my experience today is therapeutic.  I can’t explain it but this helps.  My blog writing helps me in so many ways.  My blog is my therapy.


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