Saturday, May 21, 2011

Stoner (Part 2)

I made it to the hospital that Thursday morning by about 5 after 7, kissed my swollen and puffy husband's face then settled in with my iPod to partake of free WiFi while we waited for the Surgery nurses, also known to kidney stone patients as Angels of Mercy. Paul told me he had had a bad two hours during the night when the stone was trying to move again and he maxed out on pain meds and commenced to doing the Funky Chicken all over the room. His nighttime nurse was a Godsend and he said he's forever grateful to her. It must've been bad.

It was after 8 when the two gals from surgery came up, got his IV unhooked from the pump, put his cute little bootie socks on his feet and it was just as she pushed the Versed in his veins to make him a little groggy before they took him downstairs they realized he still had his Bermuda shorts on under his gown. (Dude is a little bit modest and said he didn't like his "junk" out there all flappin' in the breeze, so he wore his underwears and Bermudas under his gown. He is just precious.) The girls kind of giggled and said, "We'll step behind the curtain so you can slip everything off." I stepped over to the side of the bed to hold his IV line out of the way and quickly realized my husband was absolutely 100% drunk out of his ever-lovin' MIND already. We're talkin' like two minutes. I gently moved his hands from the zipper where he was trying to repeatedly unzip his already unzipped shorts and kept saying, "Come on, honey. Help me out here." I heard giggling from behind the curtain. I was not amused. Okay, I was kind of amused. I said, "Uhm....girls.....he's plumb goofy, could I get some help?" Just more giggles. So finally after several more minutes of me trying to get him to lift his rump I managed to get the Bermudas off him. I left the underwear for the team of professionals downstairs. I figured they were getting paid the big bucks, let them lift his rump from that point on.

I kissed his forehead and gathered my things from around the room and went down to the surgery waiting room. I checked what was going on around Facebook, glimpsed quickly at Twitter, but it was reading Testify Blog that soothed me and passed the time for me without nerves. About 30 minutes after they took him I saw Dr. Stout come around the corner. He sat down next to me and bluntly said, "I couldn't get it." I love this guy. Most of the time when you see him he looks like Paul Bunyan, usually with a full beard and a lot of hair (on his head and all over his body) and sometimes he wears flannel. In the office. He played the oldest brother, Ruben, in the local little theater's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat a few weeks ago. He's just an all-around neat guy. So there he was in his surgery scrubs, sitting in the chair next to me like we were old friends catching up, all relaxed and laid back, explaining that the stone was too high, as he had thought it might be, while I sat on the edge of my seat in horror that this ordeal was not over yet. He also said that the kidney they thought was fine and not blocked, was indeed blocked and when he placed the stent....well, I shan't describe it here as he described it to me. Suffice it to say....YUCK and EWWWW. Then he reminded me that he was leaving the following afternoon for Boston and wasn't going to be in town until early the next week. Oh the tears that wanted to spill at that moment.

He said, "I can send him home with that stent in place and we can schedule a lithotripsy (where they bust up the stone with sound waves) for when I get back if that's okay with you." Well, I had no choice, huh? I nodded dumbly and looked at my hands, feeling helpless and worried and knowing that Paul was not going to do well in that scenario. Dr. Stout patted me on the leg and told me I could go on upstairs and wait for Paul there. As I gathered my things, I glanced down at my iPod where the post on Testify I had been reading had quoted the old hymn I recall Tennessee Earnie Ford singing when I was kid, "It Is Well With My Soul". I blinked back the tears, took a deep breath and as I walked the long hallway toward the elevators I prayed. God, you are in control of this. You are the Great Physician and I can't worry any more. You have this. I know it. Paul is in the palm of Your hand and You are in control. It truly is well with my soul.

And I made it to that empty hospital room with a renewed spirit and no worry. And moments after I sat down in that hard-backed chair to await my Prince Charming the room phone rang. The nurse aide came screeching into my room hollering, "ANSWER THAT! ANSWER THAT! IT'S DR. STOUT!" I said hello with trepidition - had something happened to Paul in those few short moments between then and now? I pushed the thought away and listened as Dr. Stout told me he had called Oklahoma City, pleaded the case, arranged for them to send the mobile lithotripsy unit up the following morning and the procedure was scheduled for 8am. There would be no waiting the weekend, no dismissal to home with the stone still there, no having to wonder if another urologist was available in Dr. Stout's absence.

Talk about God's favor!

I took Paul a long time to come around what with him being a sedation lightweight and all and as he had when he had his EGD procedure back in March, he had some temporary amnesia and asked me questions over and over and over. It's cute at first. It gets less cute after you answer the same question for the 27th time. He was groggy and nauseated, in a lot of pain and just generally grumpy when it finally hit him that the stone had not been rolled away, so to speak. He refused to eat that day. He was depressed. Peeing was excruciating for him. Watching him under all of it was excruciating for me. He had a lot of pain medication in him. He was intensely nauseated. They were pumping the IV fluids in him like crazy and there was very little output. He swelled up like a poisoned pup.

I went home that afternoon to get the kids off the bus, let them re-pack their bags for another school night sleepover at Gram's and said I'd take them to Sonic after going to see Daddy. Abby caught me off to the side as soon as we walked in the hospital room and said, "Why does  Daddy look like that? Why is his face so FAT?" That had to be startling and I assured her he was fine, just retaining a lot of fluids, like PMS on steroids. She giggled. They visited with him for awhile, then hunger got the best of them. After kisses good-bye we headed to Sonic. As I puilled in my father called and said the storms headed our way looked bad, to get the kids to shelter and forget Sonic. They needed food and Sonic is fast and close to Mom's. We made it to Mom's, flipped on the TV, watching the radar show the storm go around us. Mom and Dad were eating dinner and with the weather iffy I decided not the leave the kids alone. I took that time to put my feet up since they were swollen from sitting in that dang hard backed chair for two days.

Dad dropped Mom off at the house and headed up to see Paul and take him some magazines. I loved on my babies awhile longer, visited with Mom and then headed to the hospital myself. He was in the shower when I got there and seemed to be feeling better, probably knowing the end was near and he was 12 mere hours away from relief. I went home again that night to sleep alone, no Little Joe to protect me from the big, bad coyotes and panthers and bobcats out here in the woods, but I was so exhausted Fitty could've waltzed in and hacked me to bits without me ever knowing.

I was back to the hospital by 7 the next morning, things were very delayed and x-ray didn't come get him until after 8. They had no sooner gotten him in the elevator the anesthesiologist walked in. He looked around with a confused look on his face and said, "Uhm.....your husband? He would be.......where?" When I said x-ray had just taken him he said, "Come on, we'll go catch him" and whisked me off to the surgery elevator. We missed him by moments and waited patiently outside the x-ray room door. The anesthesiologist also laughed when he said he was only giving Paul a half dose of Versed this time since he was hit pretty hard by the full dose the day before. I rolled my eyes and said, "Don't I know. You ought to have been the one trying to take off his shorts while the surgery nurses laughed at you behind a curtain! That's blog material for sure!" He laughed then assured me he would take good care of him and headed for the OR. I got to kiss Paul's face before the other surgery guy (far less giggling from him) whisked him away, I met Dad in the hallway and we waited together this time. The hour and 15 minute wait was made far easier with him being there.

Finally Dr. Stout made his grand appearance with specimen cup in hand. He showed us a stone fragment that had already passed when the stent had been removed. It was about the width of an unsharpened pencil lead. Ow. He said he had also managed to bust up some of the stones that were in the proper position in the left kidney, thus hopefully eliminating a few episodes in the future. I thanked him for all his string-pulling, mad stone removal skillz and wished him safe travels on his road trip to Boston.

And thanked God the ordeal was over. And praised him for his goodness and mercy and healing.

Paul was awake, alert and HUNGRY when he got back to the room this time. The nurse aide brought him a sandwich because it was still and hour and a half until lunch trays would be there. He ate and acted more like himself than he had in four days. And he ate part of the lunch on his tray when it got there. He put on his Sooner pajama pants and OSU hat - he is an enigma, that man - and said he was ready to go HOME.

By 2pm we were heading home with three prescriptions for antibiotics, pain and nausea meds. Our kids were insanely happy we were both there when they got off the bus that time. We were, too.


Fast forward to yesterday, one week after dismissal: Paul passsed SIX stones/fragments yesterday. They were all about the size of a match head. He never even knew he'd passed them until he saw them in the urinal. Talk about God's favor again. I can't fathom trying to pass something that size.

Sweet tea has not touched his lips since and he says it never will again. I doubt that. I mean, we live in Oklahoma, for cryin' out loud, that stuff is everywhere. He's been drinking a lot of water and since he heard lemonade helps to etch stones that are already formed, thus reducing them in size, he drinks a LOT of lemonade. Hey, I guess whatever floats his boat. Or his stones.


Mommy Needs a Xanax said...

Man. Just reading this made me a little antsy and what not. I have never had a kidney stone, but I can imagine. My brother in law had a few bad bouts of them years ago and the pain was so bad that it left him with a permanent neurological condition-- the way the docs explained it (after they took 2 years trying to figure it out) is that the pain of the kidney stones was so intense that his brain was releasing all the dopamines and feel good chemicals it had, and it had to do this for so long that it sorta ran out of juice. Then once the stones were gone, his brain was kind of "stuck" in that mode, thinking it was feeling pain all the time. He went through many episodes of life threatening illness. I'm talking hallucinations, falling asleep standing up, sleep paralysis-- a long list of strange, strange symptoms that had the doctors guessing for a long time. He lost tons of weight off his already skinny frame and could barely function. After seeing literally every doctor he could see in Memphis (and Memphis is a pretty doctor-rich area what with UT Medical and all), he finally traveled to some super hot shot specialist in North Carolina who figured it out. They finally started treating him with tons of anti-depressants and whatever else makes your brain chemistry even out and now he's okay. But it all started with bad kidney stones, and it dang near killed the man. Those things ain't no joke.

Your hubby's been on my mind since this started. I'm glad it's over. Drink up the lemonade.

Jill of All Trades said...

Gosh what an ordeal. Glad he's better.

Cazzie!!! said...

I never ever see a man in so much pain as when he has those blasted stones. It means I put in an IV STAT and administer the strongest pain relief I can give at the time... and an anti nauseant. Gosh, you would not wish it on your worst enemy!

Anonymous said...

Been thinking about you and your storm shelter and the current tornado season. Hope you're doing ok and that you haven't had to get INTO that shelter!


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