I created this picture in Paint the day after Christmas. I had been feeling intense pain in my back and knew it was a kidney stone trying to pass. I'd been feeling it for a while, but pushed off a doctor's visit because, really, it's pointless to see a doctor. They can't do anything but prescribe pain meds, and I typically refuse to take pain medication for this sorta stuff. Long story, but a friend of mine passed away from taking pain meds that masked her symptoms of kidney failure, so I'm super wary of taking anything.
Anyway, I came to work this past Wednesday feeling super sore. A stabbing pain in my lower right abdomen was making me rethink my pain medicine position. I called my doctor to schedule a meeting, and I was booked for the next day. Twenty minutes later, they called back and told me to get to the ER because my symptoms were similar to those of appendicitis.
Given that my entire body was shaking at that point, I guessed they were right. So I got a quick priestly blessing in case I needed surgery (God, thank you for letting me work with priests all day), and I drove myself (stupidly) across the bridge to Cooper Hospital. The wait was crazy, but triage was doing a really good job cycling folks through.
When I was finally seen, I was told my appendix was inflamed, my kidney had ballooned to almost double its size, and I had two kidney stones blocking my ureter. Apparently one of those stones had been around since 2010. I didn't even know they should stay in there that long! Their scan revealed this when they compared them to my last scan (from Cooper) in 2010. They asked if I'd had stones since then, and I affirmed I had - I was treated at a hospital in Voorhees, though.
You'd think someone would've caught that, though, right?
They then pointed out I was severely dehydrated and started asking me questions about my eating habits. I knew what they were getting at. I don't have an eating disorder. I routinely show high levels of ketones in my urine tests because I don't drink very much. I never have. I can seriously go days without having anything to drink. I feel sick if I drink too much. I've always been like that. My husband thinks I'm a mutant, and my friend, Mary, swears I'm a camel with hidden water humps. I don't have an eating disorder (well, except maybe that I like to eat too much).
Once they were content that I wasn't bulemic, they hooked me up to IVs with pain meds and fluid. The medicine they gave me opened up my ureter enough to allow the one stone to pass, but the one from 2010 is still hanging out. They suggested I'll need surgery at some point this summer to remove it (oh goody!). My appendix was treated with antibiotics (which I'm still on) and will likely be just fine.
The whole time I was there by myself because my phone wasn't working and I couldn't tell anyone where I was. Luckily, John came to my rescue around 11:30 with some food. I hadn't been able to eat on account of both nausea and the threat of surgery, but by the time he arrived, I was thrilled because the stone had likely passed and the pain meds made me forget any sort of nausea. He had to run back home to relieve the babysitter, but not before he snapped this photo of me with my morphine drip and nurse call button.
Yup - that's me. Super happy because I was drugged up and satiated by a couple of McDonald cheeseburgers.
I didn't leave the ER for another few hours because they wanted to keep an eye on things, I guess. I was so happy when I was finally allowed to go.
I spent the next day recouping on the couch with Vincent. I feel much, MUCH better, but my kidney area is still really sore from everything. The appendix area isn't hurting as much, but I still get the slight stabby pain now and again. It catches me off-guard when I'm turning a certain way. Not fun.
Otherwise, I'm A-OK.
I'm not looking forward to the surgery to remove the stone this summer, though. The idea of being trapped in the hospital away from Vince for more than a week bothers me. Ah well. Guess God wants me to make a new friend or two while I'm there.
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