Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stoner (Part 1)

Two weeks ago Paul came about *this close* to rupturing a disk in his back. It was awful. I had just stepped out of the shower when I heard Sam say "She's in the shower. Okay, okay, I'll get her." My 12 year old son with eyes squeezed tightly shut, hand over his closed eyes and while holding the phone as far away from himself as possible slipped the phone through the bathroom door and said, "It's Dad." I grabbed the phone with my dripping hand, said hello and was greeted with the soft, panting voice (no, not that kind of soft, panting voice) of my husband saying, "You've *pant* got to *pant* come out here *pant* and help *pant* me. NOW. *pant*" I said, "Well, I'm dripping wet, I'll be out there as fast as I can! Where are you?" He replied with "*pant* The carport *pant*" and hung up.

I threw my shorts and shirt on while still drippy, squeezed excess water out of my hair and ran out the back door fully expecting to find my husband missing an arm or his leg bent awkwardly out behind him since the last time I had seen him earlier was as he flew down the driveway on a four-wheeler. I wasn't looking forward to what I thought I was going to see. Instead I just found him kind of bent over at the waist beside the lawnmower. He slowly turned his head toward me and said, "I threw out my back." My initial reaction was that I wanted to laugh, but then fortunately I caught myself as I realized he was really hurting. It took about 15 minutes, but we slowly, and I mean slowwwwwwwwwwwly, got him straightened up and I walked him in the house.

Three days of missed work, four chiropractor visits and a metric ton of ibuprofen and he finally felt like a human again.

Fast forward to 2am this past Tuesday morning. A tote fell off the cedar chest at the foot of our bed. I got up, put it back up and crawled back in bed. I had just settled in and felt Paul get up. He said, "My stomach's cramping" and kind of staggered sleepily out of the room. I figured there was nothing I could help him with there and promptly went back to sleep. About 45 minutes later I was awakened to him shaking the bed violently and saying, "Kristin, you've got to get up now and help me. I'm hurtin'. Bad." I grabbed my glasses and followed him to the living room where he took up pacing as he apparently had been doing for the previous 45 minutes while I snoozed away.

It was the dreaded kidney stone.

In 2008 he passed five of the little buggers and he recognized the pain of them moving all too well. Three years ago he was admitted to the hospital and was scheduled for basket retrieval surgery the following morning at 6am only to pass them all a few hours later.

Not so much this time.

I text his boss and told her he would not be coming in and what was going on. I rummaged around in the cabinet until I found the blessed bottle of Vicodin from three years ago knowing they were expired, but also knowing the dude needed some relief. At 5:30 I got up to start my day having not gone back to sleep.

He felt fine during the day that day (Tuesday), achey and sore on the side where the stone was, but not the horrible pain he had felt during the night. He figured the stone had dropped into his bladder and it was just a matter of passing it from there so he got down in the floor to put together a new ceiling fan for our bedroom. The crawling and squatting and bending got the stone moving again and within 30 minutes he was begging to be shot. I instead suggested the emergency room and while he insisted a bullet would've been better, he agreed to the hospital. Mom and Dad couldn't get there quick enough for his taste, so we left the two  younger kids in Abby's care and headed for Vinita, about 25 minutes away. There was a little girl with an ice pack on her arm ahead of us, so Paul took to pacing the floor. When he was finally called back to Triage the nurse and I struck up a conversation which included the game of "Don't I Know You From Somewhere?" and "Man, You Look Awful Familiar". Paul was not amused and kept giving me looks that essentially conveyed that I was heartless and shouldn't be allowed to continue living.

Two shots of Demerol and a shot of Morphine landed him on a heart monitor and oxygen because apparently they were concerned at the amount of drugs they were having to give him to even give him any semblance of relief. After the Morphine he finally quit doing the Funky Chicken all over the bed and settled down enough they could take him to CT where they announced he was the proud owner of a 5mm stone which was in the ureter and was certainly considered "passable". 20 minutes later the doctor came back in and said that upon further perusal of the films the stone was 7mm and right on the border of "passable" and "no way in Hell that baby is coming out on its own." He also announced there were six more stones in the left kidney and three more in the right which means we have the fabulous opportunity of potentially going through this NINE MORE TIMES. By 11pm the doctor was writing dismissal papers and said to drink until his eyeballs floated and if the pain came back and we couldn't control it at home to go to either Grove or Miami hospital because both of those hospitals have urologists and they didn't.

I didn't watch Conner that next day (Wednesday) considering neither of us had slept in two nights and he was still in pain and couldn't stop throwing up. By the time the kids got home he was pacing the floor and cursing, asking for a bullet in between barfing into a trashcan and draping himself over various pieces of furniture. At one point told Kady her voice was so annoying he couldn't stand hearing another thing from her mouth. Fortunately it didn't break her sensitive little heart and she didn't cry. She knew her daddy was hurtin' bad. I told the kids to pack an overnight bag and called Mom and said I was bringing them to her and we were headed to the ER. We dropped them off and he staggered into the ER where fortunately we didn't have to wait long to be triaged and sent to a room. More Morphine and Zofran for the nausea and the doctor said he was sending him home. Paul nearly started crying. He was exhausted from the pain and the vomiting, he was so dehydrated they had to stick him five times (after having stuck him seven the first time in the ER at the other hospital) and he just wanted some relief. I called and texted my best prayer warriors and put them on mercy-prayer detail - we needed favor in the form of a sympathetic ER doc and urologist.

It helps that the local urologist is a stone producer as well.

Another CT scan to see if the stone had moved in the past 24 hours (it hadn't considering it was the size of Manhattan) and the ER doc came in and said, "I can send you home with oral pain meds and we'll see if you pass this thing in a day or two or you can be admitted and Dr. Stout can do a basket retrieval procedure in the morning." We both at the same time said, "Admit!" Dr. Stout, the urologist, came by to see him while he was still in the ER and said the stone was kind of high, but he would try his best to retrieve it. By 8:30 he was being wheeled upstairs to his room where my sweet, exhausted husband just wanted to sleep. I went home around 10:30 that night to sleep and was so tired I just knew that no howling coyotes or even Fitty coming to hack me into itty bitty bits was going to keep me awake.

I finally fell asleep at nearly 1am. I was up by 5 to be back in there by 7 because the surgery was scheduled for 8. I was running on fumes and about eight hours sleep in three nights.

To be continued......


Mommy Needs a Xanax said...

When it rains it pours. BTW a little expired Vicodin won't hurt ya. In fact it probably worked just as well as it would've before the exp date.

Casey said...

Good lord, it seems heartless that they wouldn't have removed the stones more quickly than that. I take it ultrasound doesn't work?

(I don't know much about kidney stones [knock wood], as you can probably tell.)

I hope the story concludes with, "It was a successful surgery and Paul recovered quicker than anyone in the history of the world, and the hospital said he was such a champ that they weren't even going to charge for it."

Sam said...

Finish! The! Story!

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...