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Tag: percutaneous nephrolithotripsy

My Battle with a 3-Point Stag (Part 2): My Temporary Affair with Percocet

by on Nov.14, 2010, under health

For those who actually made it through the first part of this story, I both apologize for the longevity of this story and thank you for your endurance.  For those who checked out already, I have no apologies for you.  Go find something else to view on the internet until I write about something else (it’s my blog, I can write about whatever I want on it).  Anyway, without further ado, here is my week of recovery:

DAY 3:  My doctor had sent me home with prescriptions for Percocet (for pain) and Cipro (to prevent infection).  I was allowed to take between 4 and 8 pain relievers a day as needed, though even in the first day back I don’t think I exceeded 4.  I did find that the pain relievers were necessary as nothing felt very good around hour 6, but one every 6 hours kept me on track pretty well.  My wife did what she could to keep me comfy and the children at bay – even went so far as to pawn them off on my mother-in-law for the afternoon.  But truth be told the afternoon without them was kind of boring.

DAY 4:  This morning proved complex as once again the kids needed to be places around the same time that I needed to be about a half-hour away (the one downside of shopping for a better urologist in a better hospital).  If I could drive myself I probably would have, but once again we ended up in morning traffic and once again my wife had that aura of spontaneous combustion.  Ironically the office had no idea I was coming in, so I had to wait a bit before the doctor could come pull the centimeter wide tube from my back.  If I had brought my Percocet with me, I would have popped another as soon as I could because the spot where the tube was burned like hell for about 15 minutes afterward.  But by the time we made it home, not only did it feel better, I was in significantly less pain in general from that point forward (and no more bag strapped to my leg to drain every few hours).  Tonight, I retired to my own bed again.

DAY 5 – 7:  I’m lumping these days together because there was honestly little to report.  I spent most of the time either watching TV or playing board games with Grasshopper (he is off from pre-school Tuesdays & Thursdays and had an in-service day on Wednesday).  It was a pretty nice few days, though.  He loved the attention and I was happy to spend some one-on-one time with him that didn’t involve being tackled – there were a few close calls, but he was pretty good about it most of the time.

DAY 8:  This is the day that I finally would become free of all foreign objects – I came out of surgery with a tube sticking out of my back, a catheter (you know where), an IV line in my hand, and a stent running from my kidney to my bladder.  I left the hospital with 2 items removed and had the third item removed on Monday.  So only the stent remained.  I had the sobering discussion with my dad the night before about how they remove that now that the tube is gone.  My doctor told me the week before that it would only take about 30 seconds, but that they would be the scariest 30 seconds of my life.  It was not an understatement.  It was toe-curling.  I won’t go into great detail, but there was numbing gel, a scope and a water pump involved.  In the end I was somewhat shocked to see that the stent itself was only about 2 millimeters in diameter.  After about 20 minutes of physical recovery, I was able to sit and eat lunch without feeling like I was going to hurl.  On a positive note, I was able to kick my prescription pain meds and as a result my house arrest.

DAY 9 – 10:  These are the last days of freedom before I go back to my 9 to 5.  My wife has been making up for her week of caretaking by sequestering herself upstairs to do all the writing work she has fallen behind on.  So it is pretty much me and the kids.  I am doing my best to keep them entertained (much of the time on their own with me just mediating fights).  As a result, I have needed to resort to other drugs such as coffee and ibuprofen to maintain my sanity.  I’m sure the Percocet would be more effective, but that would tie me back to not leaving the house (which I cannot abide).

In the end, the surgery itself was hasher than I expected and the follow-up procedures sucked, but my recovery was much more comfortable than I anticipated.  Hopefully if I ever have to repeat the experience, it will be a long, long time from now (35 more years seems a logical expectation).  In the meantime, this journey is not completely over.  I have a follow-up in 6 weeks to review x-rays I have to get and the results of a 24-hour urinalysis I have to send out (I would never have guessed there were pee-by-mail services).  I’m sure the follow-up will come with a list of dietary recommendations that I will have to consider (though a lot of what I’ve read seems to suggest specific foods only play a small part in the puzzle).  I doubt I’ll be put on any on-going medications, but my dad will probably continue to try to talk me into taking celery and cherry extract pills (they seem to work wonders for his gout).  The only sure thing is that I will soon be generally back into my normal routine (which naturally involves some level of chaos).

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My Battle with a 3-Point Stag (Part 1)

by on Nov.13, 2010, under health

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I was afflicted with a sizable kidney stone – over an inch in diameter with 3 horns protruding to be precise.  Well a week before yesterday I went under the knife to have it removed and have spent the following week recovering (both from the initial surgery and the various follow-up procedures).  I had figured that this post would come much sooner after the initial ordeal with follow-up posts throughout the week.  How I managed to avoid even touching a computer in that time I have no idea.  But I’m back in the saddle now, so I will now regale you with my account of my percutaneous nephrolithotripsy:

DAY1:

7:30 AM:  I’m supposed to be at the hospital already to check in for my procedure, but due to the process of dragging the kids out of bed and over to the in-laws and the unexpected traffic volume 1 1/2 hours before rush hour, we are still in the car.  My wife, who perceives lateness as the penultimate sin, is verging on a conniption.  I, meanwhile, am secretly contemplating my own mortality and playing out the worst-case scenarios in my head.  I know better that the likelihood of any serious complications is between negligible and non-existent, but I can’t help but consider the possibility that the goodbyes I gave the kids that morning were the last they’d hear.  Knowing my wife’s anxiety-management capacity, I have managed not to let on an iota of this concern.  After all, I know better (or so I keep telling myself).

9:00 AM:  I’m now checked in and waiting in a bed in what is ironically one of the least comfortable hospital gowns I’ve ever experienced.  The irony is the fact that it is actually a very high-tech gown composed of various absorption pads and containing numerous ports to which a set of hoses can connect in order to perfectly aerate and temperature-regulate the wearer.  But without the hoses actually connected, the garb simply continuously reflected my body heat at me causing me to sweat heavily and stick to it.  It at least made for a semi-interesting conversation topic to have with my wife and my sister-in-law who were my pre-surgical company.  Once they come to cart me off to interventional radiology, I feel somewhat like I’m in one of those medical dramas with the camera angle at the patient’s perspective as they are wheeling him around (only if it where medical drama footage, it would be pretty boring footage).

9:30 AM:  I’m now lying on my stomach on an impressive piece of radiology equipment (seemingly a highly agile ultra-sound/x-ray machine), slowly drifting into conscious sedation while watching penguins on a 60-inch flat screen and listening to modern rock on internet radio broadcast in surround sound. As they prepared to start things up, I played name that tune with the cute, young  – I mean professional and capable P.A.s and technicians.  I was doing pretty well until they started stabbing me in the back – literally.  I didn’t precisely feel pain as they pushed a guide wire and then a wider tube through my back, between my ribs, avoiding my spleen, lung and large intestine to eventually end in my left kidney, but I felt a lot of pressure and discomfort that amounted in me nearly being sick.  I vaguely recall that they chose conscious sedation so that I could follow breathing instructions during certain steps of the procedure, but if I had it to do again, I’d say put me out and manage my breath for me if necessary.

10:?? AM:  After a difficult transition back to a gurney, I have to wait back in the first room for my Urologist to be ready in the OR to perform the surgery.  For that, they put me under …

?:?? PM:  I wake up in a recovery room waiting to be moved to the room I’ll be staying in for the night.  They tell me the procedure went exceptionally well, but I’m still a bit too groggy to fully take in the information.  A while later they wheel me to my room and my wife is there waiting.  They carefully transfer me into the bed – a task I am in no position to assist with – as my wife apologizes for not coming back to the first room between the radiology procedure and my surgery as they didn’t know I was back there.  I personally would barely have remembered if she did make it back in that stretch and was not really in any position to care about who was where.  She stayed with me through a few visits from the doctor, the nurse, and the patience technician as well as through my dinner of clear liquids before calling it a night and going home to attend to the rest of the family.  I attempt to watch some TV, but my head is not in it so I take a nap.

DAY 2:

6:00 AM:  After a fitful night’s sleep trying to move as little as possible while also trying not to be uncomfortable from not moving at all, I’m awoken in order to have things checked out.  I do my best to roll over so they can change the dressing and bed pad as well as listen to my breathing.  It is surprising how hard it can be to roll 75 degrees in a posable bed between the pain itself and the pain meds that kept me from being all that mobile.  After that I settled in until the doctor came by later in the morning to recheck my back, re-redress the wound, and sign off on removing the catheter some time that morning.  Once that was done, I went back to sleep for what time I had left to be comfortably still.

10:00 AM:  After some more clear liquids for breakfast, the nurse finally came by to remove my catheter.  It was a bittersweet moment – while I generally prefer nothing be inserted into said orifice if at all avoidable, it was already there and saving me the hassle of going anywhere to handle such needs.  But out it came and in its place I got a nifty urinal jug to fill as I saw fit.  Thus far I had gone through at least 2 bags of IV fluids and filled the two bags attached to me with nearly the same amount of fluid.  So with both the catheter out and the IV off and little to speak of coursing through my digestive system, I was doubtful I’d have much with which to fill the jug.

11:00 AM:  I finally manage to get myself out of bed – it seemed that getting in a sitting position was the worst of it.  Once I was upright, moving around was pretty manageable.  That said, I decided to camp out in the chair next to the bed and take another nap.

2:00 PM:  After a half-eaten solid lunch and several trips to the bathroom, I still haven’t produced anything for the jug.  The bag attached to the hole in my back, however, was filling up nicely.  So much for the direct route.  My wife had come back and was worried that there was something wrong and I’d have to get the catheter back in and stay longer (the latter I could live with, the former not so much).  Eventually they decided that my not peeing was just due to the limited production so far and the amount that went out the bag accounted for most of it.  So they let me go home (though my wife had serious hesitations about it).

10:00 PM:  After making it home and settling in with the family and managing not to get jumped on or tackled for the duration of the afternoon and evening, I called it a day myself.  In order to avoid potential of added injury, my daughter agreed to let me sleep in her bed as long as I needed to (we live in a twin and my bedroom is on the third floor up a windy, narrow staircase).  So I traded my smaller leg-strap kidney bag for a bigger bag to hang by the bed and turned in for the night (what better way to sleep).

[To be continued …]

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