Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Urologist Speaks, or The Light at the End of the Tunnel

OK, here’s the situation. I’m scheduled for a 10am lithotripsy tomorrow morning. That’s the process that uses shock waves to break up bigger stones into tiny little stones that will pass more easily. It involves a water bed of sorts, 2000 blasted sound waves, plus – and here’s the best part – a thread like catheter up my whatnot (no, the other whatnot, the whatnot even doctors seldom deal directly with) to help insert a stent. The stent is to insure that the smaller stones don’t become a problem themselves. After all, a 6mm stone that breaks into a bunch of little stones may still mean, say, a 4mm guy bouncing around in there, which can still cause plenty of pain/agony/prayer and would therefore only complicate the situation.

Really, it’s just a simple outpatient procedure, so I’m not worried. They’ll give me an epidural, just like a pregnant woman, so I won’t feel a thing while they hasten the delivery. Then I get a week and a half of antibiotics, plus more painkillers (yay!) should the stent bug me. Then there’s a check-up and x-ray to make sure all the stone parts are gone, they take out the stent (more anesthetic) and I’m home free. At least until it happens again, which I am genetically inclined toward.

As a matter of fact, my Dad just had his own kidney stone attack last night, his third. What a coincidence, huh? I guess these things happen in spring.

(Oh, and Dad, they want the results of your stone, too, so they can compare their composition.)

All in all, it really could be worse. While it could get bad any second, I haven’t had any real pain or discomfort since Tuesday afternoon, and the fact that I can get this over with soon is good news. The procedure almost happened today (!), at one point may have been scheduled for a week and a half from now (!!) and I was nearly “on call” to get it done some time next week should a slot become available, but this works best for me.

And for those wondering: this is MUCH better than waiting for the thing to pass on its own. Which, by the way, the urologist said there was no chance of. It’s 6mm, which is pretty big, and lodged right near the entry into the bladder from the ureter. The pain I occasionally feel is when it gets dislodged and blocks the bladder. Then the ureter gets pissed. That’s what causes the agony – not the stone but the ureter spazzing out trying to get urine through. To that end, I’m no longer “pushing fluids,” which is medical talk for drinking 12 glasses of water a day. In fact, the nurse at the urologist was really impressed by my urine. Rarely do they see urine that clear! I was very proud.

Anyway, this is all one great lesson as to why you should try to keep both kidneys. ‘Cause you never know when the other one will really come in handy.


Post a Comment

<< Home