Read about the Feb 26, 2001 attack.
Diary - The Next Stone (or something more or less sinister?)
Monday, June 4
8:40 AM: Pain in my left back (flank). I think it might be a cramp or that I slept wrong. I eat a bowl of Lucky Charms. My brother Tim is out running errands; he plans to head back to DE around 10AM. He had spent the weekend with me, dropping off his diabetic cat Falstaff for me to care for while he goes away for 3 weeks with his girlfriend to Hawaii/Minnesota.
Something isn't right -- I begin to think this pain is the second kidney stone that was lodged high up in my left kidney. I had passed the other one in March. The urologist said at the time that I may pass the other one, or it could stay in there and not move, but cause some pain. Well it is doing something.
9:20 AM: Tim is back. I tell him what I think is going on. He says that I should go to the ER. I hem and haw, not sure if this is _the pain_. I decide it is, so I call Matt at work to let him know what is going on. I remember to wear easy clothes (short sleeves, loose pants, clogs) this time, so that they could stick me and I could be comfortable. We get in my car and Tim drives. Before we pull off, he goes back in the house and gets a sports bottle with water in it, since I need to keep hydrated and I'll have to give a urine sample anyway, so I need to drink.
9:30 AM: Enter ER. It is mercifully empty. I fill out some paperwork and sit down to go into Triage. There is one girl ahead of me; she acts like she has a bad cold or something. My pain is increasing. I go into Triage and leave Tim out in the waiting room. We had discussed that once I went into Triage he would go get some water for me since I will need it, and drop off a DVD we had rented (Meet the Parents, it was funny) the night before.
9:45 AM: In triage, I told the nurse what I thought the problem was, and she didn't question it. She took my BP and temp and took me back to the ER, to a gurney in a hallway where I sat down. I couldn't lie down, it hurt too much. A red-headed nurse named Kathleen came over and gave me the stuff to do a urine specimen. I did that and came back to the gurney.
10:00 AM: A young doctor, Kristin Ito, came and asked me questions about my condition, pain on a scale of 1-10, I said "5 and increasing". While she was talking to me, the nurse put in the IV. This was good, as it distracted me so that I didn't barf, which happened the last time. She took 8 tubes of blood. The IV went in fine, no mess, like last time. The doctor left, and the nurse went to get some morphine.
10:30 AM: The nurse gives me 4mg morphine in my IV and says that she has a clean room. She was going to wheel me, but decides I can walk. She takes my IV bag and leads me to room 11. I need to go to the bathroom again (it's next door to my room), so I take the bag and give her my water bottle. I take care of business and get into the bed. Morphine makes me a little woozy, but not dizzy or sleepy. Pain is about the same, just the edge is off.
10:55 AM: Nurse comes in and checks temp and BP. I ask for a pen and paper. She has a pen, and gives me a paper towel. I start writing what I've typed above so that I remember for my log. I notice the clock on the wall is broken; it is stuck at 1:30, with the second hand twitching on the 9. The nurse says it has been like that for months.
11 AM: Dr. Ito comes in and says I will get more morphine and Toradol (ketorolac tromethamine). The latter is an anti-inflammatory like Motrin that goes in the IV.
11:10 AM: Ms. Quick (yes, that's her name) came in and wanted my insurance card. I gave that to her to photocopy. She left me with a form to sign. I am feeling tired now. Also very thristy, but the nurse told me she didn't want me to drink, since it may make me nauseous. After Ms. Quick leaves, I lay my head back for a few minutes.
11:30 AM: The pain is bearable if I stay still. I think I fall asleep for a few minutes. I have to go to the bathroom again. I get out of the bed and stumble to the bathroom. I make it back OK.
11:45 AM: The nurse gives me another 4mg of morphine and the Toradol. I need another IV bag too. New IV doesn't seem to drip unless my arm is limp, so I try not to move it. I fall into a doze. I hear what is going on in the hall. A pregnant woman has been vomiting blood, and she is not screaming, but making pretty alarming noises. I think someone is putting an IV in it and she is reacting badly, nauseous. I couldn't tell. All I know is she woke me up, lol. I grab the pen and write this down, since I know I will fall asleep and forget. I doze.
12:30 PM: Tim is in the room. He hadn't left triage before. We talked about what had been going on. He said he will wait till the next nurse visit before leaving for the errands. I'll call him at my house when I'm ready to be picked up.
1PM: New nurse. Her tag was backward so I didn't read it. She gave me another 4mg of morphine. Dr Ito came in and I asked her if I needed a CT scan. She said no, not unless my pain isn't stabilized. I would get Percocet to go. I find this odd, since it seems like they'd want to know where the stone was, considering its original location. I told her this, and she didn't have much of a reaction. I was too woozy to press it further.
1:30 PM: Dr Ito says I can go soon. The attending Dr., Higgenbotham, will sign off on me. Nurse gives me Percocet, and makes me sign discharge papers.
2 PM: I get my papers and go out to pay ($75). I call Tim and he comes and picks me up. I am quite dizzy and woozy. He drives me to the bank, and to Eckerd to drop off script for percocet.
2:30 PM: I am home. I am hungry, since I had only had a half bowl of cereal. I want pizza for some reason. Finally at 3PM I call Sal's and Tim picks up a plain cheese pie. I have 2 slices. Take my meds and lie down in bed. Tim naps.
5:30 PM: I wake up. Feel nauseous. Ignore it. Tim is packing his car to leave. I give him some free 200 speed film that I had from Photoworks.
5:50 PM: Tim pulls off. I am so glad he was here when it happened this time. The fur in the house is aggravating me again. I need to vacuum. Even though I am woozy and nauseous, I must do it, so I do the living room and kitchen and dining room. That's all I can handle. I fold the clothes and towels from the batch of laundry I had done last night. I sit down and check email. I know I need to go to sleep.
6:30 PM. Eckerd calls. It seems the doctor in the ER wrote the wrong prescription strength for the percocet. He cannot fill it, and the only way I can get it is to go to the doctor and pick up a new script and take it over to the pharmacy. Is this a nightmare or what? I have the leftover script from the last attack to take, but I am in no condition to drive to get it or take it back to Eckerd. I don't want to think about this right now.
7:00 PM: Eckerd calls. They contacted the ER and got the script changed to Vicodin, which is apparently a controlled substance, but it can be called into the pharmacy. I say fine, and that I will try to pick it up later. I go to bed.
8:30 PM: Wake up. Drugs are wearing off, so I am not dizzy, but not yet in pain again, just discomfort. I get myself together and drive to Eckerd. As usual, they are slow as sin. What is the purpose of a drive through if you have to basically park your car and wait. I doze waiting for service. I drive home.
I take meds, let dogs out, and go to bed.
Tuesday, June 5
8:30 AM: I was asleep till about 7:30AM. I got up several times to drink and go to the bathroom, and had to take a Vicodin around 2AM. I just finished calling Merck-Medco (mail order pharmacy) to try and get my pen needles refilled. Turns out they have the wrong prescription on file (for one month, rather than 3), so I have to get another script from my endo. What is up with this. Are people trying to make my life extra miserable this week?! Anyway, I go to their web site, find the right form that has to be faxed from my doctor, and I turn it into a PDF. I email this to my doctor's office. Maybe this will fix the problem. Who knows.
I'm hungry. That's a good sign. I am also nauseous. Not a good sign. Better take meds before eating. I think I will warm up a slice of pizza. I need bread or some carbs since I took my AM needle. I was 140. That is kind of high (I've been in the 80s), but stress/illness makes it go high.
Gave Falstaff his needle, had pizza and some strawberry newtons, took my regular meds. I won't need to eat for a good while now.
10:00 AM: going back to sleep on sofa.
11:30 AM: Tim called to check in. He got into DE around midnight last night. Told him about the Eckerd script screwup.
11:45 AM: Mailman comes and dogs bark, waking me up. Need to remember to take narcs around 1PM. Sit and drink a lot of lemonade. Battling nausea again. I don't remember being this nauseous as often last time.
12 PM: Read/sent email. Put up this log up until this point. onto my site. Ready to nap.
2:30: Wake up, uh oh, forgot to take narcs -- and I can tell, there is throbbing pain in my left side. Dogs are snoring. They get up with me and I give them a slice of bread and let them out. Need to check email. Got email from one of the business systems vendors I have been working with; he wants to help arrange a client site visit. I am too tired and brain-dysfunctional to deal with this appropriately, but I give him a general response and forward it to folks at the office, just in case I said something stupid that they could clarify. Looks like one of our servers went down. At least Margaret was there to handle it. Got a nice email from one of the managers at work. Guess everyone at work knows what's up with me by now. Checked phone messages. Seems the computer repair shop called about one of the network printers. I emailed Matt so he could touch base with them. I guess it is the Books printer that he said went down.
It is hot as hell in here, but I am also cold. I turn on A/C and heat up the blanket in the dryer. I know this sounds strange, but this happened last time (fever/chills). I take a Vicodin and come back and type this log. OK. I'm tired again. Later.
4:30 PM: Got up and took a hot bath. Felt better. Opened snail mail. Fed dogs. I cannot believe there is dog hair in here again. I just vacuumed yesterday. Bailey really must be shedding. I am sleepy, but check my email.
5:30 PM: tested. Need to eat, blood sugar only 82. Heated up another slice of pizza, took some vitamins. Not feeling any pain, just discomfort. Have to take meds at 8:30. I hope I can keep the food down; I don't feel right.
6:30 PM: Ate pizza. No nausea.Going to drink some more; I haven't had enough liquid today. I need to ingest at about another half-gallon to make my quota.
11:15 PM: Was dozing most of the evening. I took my meds at 8:15; I should take some around 1AM. If I wake up, I am sure I will need them. I feel a bit nauseous right now as I type this, but no pain. The nausea has been a precursor to pain, but I don't want to take the meds so soon. My computer just crashed. This P.O.S. needs to be replaced; Win98SE just crashes if I leave the computer running all the time. Blue screen of death for no reason. Dogs have been quiet this evening. Falstaff was howling and Jade came out to meet him. No hissing. Guess she was just looking at him.
I was supposed to chair a Durham Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Support Group meeting, its first one, over at Teer House tomorrow evening. This really sucks because my great endo, Ann Brown, has been trying to start up a Durham chapter of the PCOSA (http://www.pcosupport.org). She is a medical endocrinologist, and has many PCO patients. It always seems like these heinous health things interfere with everything. It is wearying.
Wednesday, June 6
5 AM: Fitful sleep. I was up a couple of times to go to the bathroom. I didn't take any more meds. I got up and went into the kitchen and noticed a smell. Sort of like knockwurst/hot dogs. Wait, Tim and I had that 4 days ago. Why should I still smell this? I had dishes draining in the rack, so maybe something got in there. Clearly I am not sleeping, so I fill up both sides of the sink and wash everything in the rack over again, wash down the counter and racks. I still smell it. What is going on? I go to empty the drains in the double sink and when I pull the plug on the left side (I rarely use that side), water comes gushing out of the cabinets beneath the sink! Oh god. Why me, why now. I open the cabinet and see that the water is shooting from a hole in the pipe. How long could this have been there!?
I am getting woozy from bending over, but I am so pissed that I continue. I get up and go barf. Then I come back and start pulling all the stuff out from beneath the sink. Fortunately, it's all cleaning stuff, sponges and what not. Most were in a big milk crate so I just pulled that out and put it in the back room. The floorboard below the sink was fortunately layered with newspapers and lining so the wood didn't get too wet if something like this happened. I get a rag towel to soak it up. Once I have all the cleaning stuff out, I see something...is that a dead mouse? Why yes, a rotting dead mouse. I want to barf again, but I am empty. I get a big garbage bag and put on some plastic gloves and pull all the newspaper out, including the dead mouse and roll it up and put it in the bag. I get some clorox and wipe out the floorboard. I am really pissed and dizzy now, but forge ahead. Once I get it clean, I put on the A/C and hope that it will dry out. At least the hot dog smell is gone. I assume that was waste water from dishwashing that was in there.
Who knows how long the mouse was festering in there. Boy did it pick a bad place to camp out. Nothing but toxic cleaning supplies. I never see any mice in the house, so I wonder where he got in. I know I had one several years ago, but that was the last time I saw one, and it apparently died in the air ducts, since it smelled and I had to have them cleared out.
Now I am dirty and tired and sore and crabby. I figure I might as well clean the bin of cleaning supplies since it is out. I end up throwing half of them away (empty-ish, old, etc.). So now it all fits in one crate. I throw out all the mess and put in a load of laundry. I leave the cabinets open so it will dry. I will call a plumber later.
6AM: I take a shower. I feed the animals and go to bed. I have chills and a fever. I get an extra blanket.
9:15 AM: I wake up and my whole left side hurts. I must have slept wrong. I need to test and eat. Go in kitchen. Looks like the cabinet is drying well. I will call the plumber later. I don't take meds yet. I give Falstaff his needle. I get in car and take dogs to Eckerd to pick up a script. This is their entertainment for the day.
10:00 AM: I come back and check my email and write this log. I send my endo a questionnaire for the PCOS group tonight, since I cannot go. Emily (manager at DUP) calls me, she is at Wal-Mart and asks if I need anything. This is very kind. Fortunately I don't need anything now (except a plumber, I guess).
10:45 AM: The pain is too much now, I have to take some narcs and lie down. I call Acme Plumbing. They are supposed to come between 3 and 6 PM.
12 PM: Mailman (John, OWD's beloved regular mail carrier) comes. Since dogs barked, I woke up. I went to the door and talked to John, since his mailtruck had been broken into while parked a couple of blocks away the prior Saturday. Some dolts broke in and stole the outgoing mail from the truck. That is so pointless (no money), and is stupid, since this something they can get into a world of trouble over, since it is a federal offense. John said that this was the 3rd time in the last week that a mail truck was broken into in the city; the other incidents occurred in East Durham. So clearly, someone is targeting mail trucks as opposed to passenger vehicles. We haven't had any rash of car break ins to speak of in several years. God my head hurts. These painkillers seem worthless today.
12:15 PM: check email and update log. Someone sent me an ancient picture of a baseball team for the Old West Durham web site. The file was enormous and took up a chunk of my mailbox, so I optimized it to shrink it and deleted the original. Time to drink a quart or so of lemonade.
1:10 PM: Dozing and was awakened by a truck outside. Seems neighbor across the street is getting their house washed; this is a noisy process. I need to have that done. I haven't had mine washed in years and it could use it. Yet another project.
Need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Preminger. The ER said I needed to go back in a week, which would be Monday. I don't know if I'll get to see him, but I have an appointment for 8/20 as followup for the last stone.
I have a dilemma. I have been suffering from insomnia for several months, getting 2-4 hours of sleep. This is not uncommon for folks with PCO or diabetes, but mine is complicated by all the water I have to drink to stave off the stones. I end up having to get up to go in the middle of the night, breaking my sleep. I cannot ever really get back to good sleep. My endo has told me to not drink later in the evening before bed to try and sleep through, but the urologist's recommendation is to drink up until bedtime and again in the middle of the night when I get up, since stone formation can occur if I am not hydrated all the time. I obviously cannot do both, and ignoring either advice has adverse consequences. I've been drinking as much as I can since March and clearly it didn't stop the other stone from acting up -- and I've not been able to sleep either. I feel helpless in my inability to address all of these problems successfully. I need to email my endo about this.
1:30 PM: My computer crashed (what's new), Acme calls. A plumber can come over earlier, within a half hour. I am sleepy so I come and update this log to stay awake. I'll have to put the dogs out while he is here; they are snoring away right now.
2 PM: Plumber is here. I am having him look at the bathroom sink as well, since that faucet keeps calcifying and then leaking/spraying. It has been replaced 2x already, necessitating it being removed and replaced rather than having a new washer put on. Dogs are outside eating popcorn that I tossed out for them to graze. Put some in the bowl for the squirrels.
2:30 PM: Plumber leaves, $60. Will call about the bathroom sink. That fixture needs to be replaced. No news there. He will do it without another trip charge.
3:00 PM: Wrote my endo to tell her about the situation.
4:15 PM: Got up and had something to eat. Tested 82. Took one of my percocets that I had left over from the last attack. Have chills again. Fed dogs and let them out. Have to remember to give Falstaff his 8PM shot. Need to email work and see if anything is up.
7:30 PM: Checked mail. I cannot believe this -- I took a percocet and I still cannot sleep. This is ridiculous. I laid down and slept maybe 30 minutes, woke up with a headache. It isn't knocking me out, though I think that maybe it kills pain better than the vicodin. Perhaps I should get on the treadmill, though I don't want to cramp up my side. It is getting dark out and it may storm. Actually, I hear thunder now. I guess I'll have to shut the computer off. I'm thirsty again anyway. Need to drink another quart and a half before bedtime.
Thursday, June 7
4:30 AM: I didn't sleep well last night. I was up several times (bathroom -- this consumption of liquid is extraordinarily annoying, as is having to strain it for the stone). Fed the dogs. Went back to bed.
6:15 AM: Frightening episode. I think I actually fell into deep enough sleep to start dreaming. I dreamt that I was in a pool and someone poured gas onto the water and lit it aflame. I had to dive under to safety, but needed to come up for air. I felt like I was drowning and swam to the surface, gasping for air. I woke up, my heart pounding like I had stopped breathing. My left side hurt a lot. I shot up out of bed. Oh well, time to get up. I cannot even enjoy a small amount of post-REM sleep! I just lie back on the bed to compose myself.
6:30 AM: Bailey and Red are at my bedside, staring at me. I roll over and get slobbered. I get up and let dogs out, give Falstaff a needle. I boot up the computer, test and take my needle and have a bowl of cereal. Put quarterly flea med on the cat.
7:00 AM: Come back in to see my computer has crashed. Corrupt registry. This is a P.O.S! Reboot. When it finally boots, I check email. Lots of spam. Letter from my endo; she said the PCO support meeting went well last night and that there are people interested in helping organize a Durham chapter.The Raleigh/Cary chapter is more organized, with a web site and listserv, and they want to become an official PCOSA chapter as well. Perhaps Durham can be an offshoot of that until there is a bigger pool of volunteers. That's good, because I am unfortunately so %^#^* sick and/or tired these days that I am not a good candidate to spearhead any more community service projects.
10:15 AM: Called urology clinic, since I need to see them soon for followup. I am in voicemail/muzak hell now..."we apologize for the extended delay...all of our telephone representatives are still busy...please remain on the line and someone should be with you shortly." At 10:30, I automatically get shuttled to leave a message without speaking to a human. Now what is the likelihood someone will call me back? Hmmm? Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised.
Sitting here like a zombie, bored, tired, chills and answering email; why are my hands cold? I really don't know what I've been doing for the last hour I'm so zoned out. I forgot to take my oral diabetes meds. Guess I'll take them and throw the blanket in the dryer. After noon time (and a nap for energy and to wear off the painkillers) I will get on the treadmill and see if I can shake this stone down a little faster, lol. Updated the log.
11:15 AM: Guess what? The appointment person actually called back! The soonest I can get in to see Dr. Preminger is Wednesday (6/13, 10:30 AM). Maybe the stone will have passed by then. I confirmed with his secretary that I don't need a CT or X-ray in advance of the visit. They have the CT from 2/26 on file, though that doesn't indicate the size or position of the remaining stone.
1:50 PM: Didn't nap, didn't treadmill. I have had no nap today. I have rested, but not gotten any real sleep. This has to stop. Been drinking and drinking and peeing and peeing. This is tiring, going every 15-20 minutes. Check email. Seems we are out of a particular kind of toner. I may have to order some. Another problem -- books side of the web site hasn't been updated this week. I need to go in and take care of this. I should be most able to do this around 6PM, between doses. While I am there I can grab that documentation file I was working on and finish it so that the process can be done in my absence. I was almost done with it beforehand and it was one of those things that fell by the wayside.
2:30 PM: Took a short hot bath. Could hear TV from the bath; talking heads commenting about ruling on McVeigh execution. I think it is going to happen Monday. God, it will be a media circus. Can the FBI be any more incompetent-- not turning in all the supplementary paperwork to close the case? Hmm. And they wonder if the death penalty is fairly doled out? If they couldn't get this case right, how many others got the needle/chair without an airtight proven case or because of doltish prosecutorial/defense mistakes? Anyway, the most amusing thing I heard out of this whole sordid mess was some local storeowner in Terre Haute (where the execution is to take place) got pissed when it was called off the first time. He said he had bought extra inventory for the crowds he was expecting and he'd have to take a loss if the execution didn't happen. Ah, the American Way. If aliens ever plan to land here, they should think twice about it -- and maybe hit the hyperspace road home before exploring this nuthouse of a planet.
The bath doesn't alleviate the soreness much, but it feels better anyway. Have to find something to wear to work that is simple. Will be bringing along my lemonade and "straining gear". Obviously, I will have to use the restroom if I am there for longer than 15 minutes, so I have to be prepared. Yuck. Hopefully I will not be there longer than an hour.
Let Bailey outside. There was a squirrel right at the back door. When I opened the inner door it got a head start for the tree but Bailey burst the screen door open with her noggin, as usual, and raced to the tree. Too late again. She'll never learn. Red followed me into my computer room. He didn't want to go out; I guess the ground is still too damp for his tastes or he doesn't have to really go.
7:50 PM: I'm home, having been to work to check up on things. I was too late and missed Margaret's e-scolding of me for coming in. She had found my docs on doing the web site update and started it. At least I was there to give her the steps that were missing from the documentation. She emailed me the file and I will work on it at home. Nothing had blown up at work, not that I thought anything would. I did, however, download and sort the 80+ emails that had come in since Friday. I left there around 6:45, just as I started to feel nausea from the pain returning. Masochist.
Before going to work, I went to Kroger and filled up 3 gallons of water at the machine. I thought I was going to barf carrying them out to the car, but fortunately I hadn't eaten anything. Driving is uncomfortable because the seat presses against the kidney area, which feels tight like a fist. The painkillers take the edge off of the acute pain, so I just feel weak and sore otherwise.
10:15 PM: Falstaff jumped the baby gate after howling. I don't know what he was doing. I had fed him and given him his needle. I think he was testing the dogs. They were too into a rawhide to pay attention. Checked email. Oh, on my way into the kitchen, Bailey stomped on a big waterbug/palmetto bug/flying roach. You know, the king-sized ones. I see one or two a year in the house; usually a day or so after a heavy rain (as this was the case). I smashed it with my sandal and put it in the trash. Yes, I made sure it was truly crunched. Bleh. Took a vicodin, since I was having cramping pain like the stone is moving.
Friday, June 8
3:45 AM: Pain seized in my side. Got up and took narcs. I think I actually slept 2 hours. I fed/let out the dogs so I could go back to sleep. Turned on TV for a bit. Fell asleep
8:45 AM: Woke up, TV still on. Turned it off. I actually slept well from about 4 AM till now. I am hungry; I want a bagel (carbs). Got up and felt fuzzy, but no pain. Decide I have enough pain relief to go around the corner to Bruegger's and get bagels. I am, as Margaret referred to me yesterday in an email, "stubborn as a Missouri mule." I get dressed in loose clothing (tighter clothes press on the kidney, like a fist in my back), go outside. I look like hell. It is humid and nasty. I look at my windows on the house. They really need to be replaced and my porch needs to be scraped and painted. More home improvement projects I have no time or energy for. Get in car. Turn out onto Hillsborough and at Trent, there is some kind of construction; they are digging up the ground. I have to detour. Drive down to Green and Ninth. There is a light that seems to be taking forever. The pain in my kidney area is returning. The seat in my car has padding in exactly the wrong spot for this condition; it is pressing on it and I am wincing. This is about a 1 mile trip, tops and it seems like it is taking forever. Come on light, change! I finally get into parking lot of Brueggers. Thank god it is empty. I get a 1/2 dozen -- 2 sesame, 2 everything, 2 cinnamon raisin. I can freeze whatever I don't eat in the next few days.
I go back toward home and decide I want some deli ham on the bagel, so I pull into Food Lion (a grocery, a block and a half away from my house) and get a small package of ham, 4 ears of corn and more lemonade mix, just in case I run out. I figure I can boil the corn and eat some for dinner; the idea of eating most anything else makes me nauseous. I don't really feel hungry enough to eat a meal, just something enough to keep my blood sugar from bottoming out. Go home, not too soon, either -- the pain is radiating toward the front. Take diabetes meds, make a big lemonade. Eat a bagel, give one to the dogs. Turn on computer and update log.
11:15 AM: Just got through doing a ton of work email. Sent off a virtual meeting document to staff so I don't feel quite as negligent and out of touch given the circumstances. Need to drink up.
1:55 PM: Just finished doing some Press work at home. Working on the documentation file for doing the books web export. Exported it to HTML. Now I will email it to Margaret so it can be placed on our intranet. This way, the update can be done if I am unable to do it. The pains are more intense. I haven't taken any drugs today, I just realize. I took my diabetes meds and forgot the other. Guess the stone isn't moving much right now or else I would be screaming right now. They say it can stop moving and there is some relative relief before it goes on its way again. The is especially so if the stone is really jagged. I don't want to think about that though.
Saturday, June 9
1:15 PM: Notice that I haven't updated since yesterday afternoon? I felt like crap up until now. Let's see, what happened last night. I do remember getting a phone call from my brother Tim late in the afternoon; he called me from DE. He was letting me know that he was about to get picked up to go to the airport for his Hawaii trip (the Big Island). Lucky guy. Not that I'd want to be there in this condition, anyway. He's supposed to be back here to get Falstaff on July 2. His gf Miranda called sometime later that evening. She is currently renting her house out until next month and as Murphy's Law would have it, this week her central A/C died, and Miranda is about to leave for Hawaii. The first people who came and looked at it said it was toast and it would be $3K to replace the unit. Needless to say she needs a second opinion. This is one of those reasons that I think I wouldn't want to be a landlord. I think I was nauseous most of the evening I didn't lose it, but it was a test to keep it down.
Rant alert: In my irritated state, I posted onto the Partners Against Crime listserv last night about grocery carts and the cretins who steal -- excuse me, "borrow" them -- and either decide to keep them or abandon them. The basic problem is the grocery stores don't prosecute the folks who take them, so nothing gets done about these carts. One egregious house of idiots in my neighborhood kept taking them, and this lazy family (they were only 1.5 short blocks from the store!) even took to hanging laundry on them. Food Lion didn't give a rip, even after I wrote the home office and called. Our neighborhood association finally rounded up about 8 carts and returned them to the store. Until the stores care about their hijacked property, there isn't much folks can do about this. Fortunately, this family eventually moved, taking their practices to another neighborhood, I'm sure.
This morning was no better. I am sure this is because I am not taking the narcs as often as I should. I don't like taking them, and usually wait to see if there is actual pain after a dose wears off rather than just taking them. So the flip side is that my body has to go through the rollercoaster of pain cycles -- but I do stay off the meds for many hours at a time. I just took some about noon today, when the pain and nausea was just too much to take.
This AM, around 4 AM, Falstaff got frisky and jumped the baby gate and I caught him eating Jade's food, which is on the washing machine in the back room. Jade was on my bed, but I knew that she would head to her food when I got up. I let Bailey out, because I knew she would go apesh*t when she saw Falstaff. I picked up Falstaff and put him back in the front room. I don't think he ran into Jade. I am less concerned about the dogs and Falstaff, since they won't do anything to him except try and chase him to smell him. He and Jade, however, my fight, and she has no claws. I toasted a bagel and ate it, took a needle and got back in bed.
I woke up around 8:30, but couldn't get up. I felt crappy and laid there. Turned on TV. You know your mind is gone when you sit and watch the making of 'NSync's latest video. What is with this boy band thing? The funniest part of this program was the fact that Joey (?), one of the guys, hurt his leg and couldn't dance in the video, so they had the choreographer stand in for him. This guy didn't look anything like the injured guy, but they had the makeup gal paint on a beard and they put him in the back row. Eventually, the real Joey gimped in and they did tight shots to use in post-production digitally. And I'm sure none of these screaming teens will even notice the difference.
Crap, I shouldn't make fun of these boy bands, after all, my generation had no excuse for the fluffy tripe from David Cassidy, Leif Garrett (zero talent there), Bay City Rollers (is there something less than zero?), god, it goes on and on. I actually had a Partridge Family lunch box. I am sure if I had kept it, that would be worth something. At least I can say that I, unlike my cousin Julie, didn't get the heinous John Travolta album from that period (with that "hit" single, "Let Her In") -- can't let her live that one down.
Clearly, I am brain dead now. Time for more lemonade.
5:00 PM: Uneventful day. Visited my 20th HS reunion web site. It will be in NYC at Nell's in October. It appears that lots of my classmates will be going. I hope Frank McCourt will be able to come (author of Angela's Ashes, my HS English teacher at Stuyvesant). That's right, last night I also received email from Denise Howell, an old classmate that found my web site, presumably from the Stuy '81 page. I remember the name, but not the face, so I looked her up in the yearbook and remembered. I hope that I can remember names and faces when I go to the reunion. They better have name tags. Actually, it would be cool if they had name tags with the yearbook pic on them. Mine sucks, but I wouldn't mind it on a tag for fun.
I boiled the corn on the cob and had some for dinner. Nothing else. I noticed that I hadn't gotten around to the electric and phone bills, so I fired up the Powerbook and Quicken and took care of that. I then needed to go drop them off at the post office since the mailman had already come today. I am between doses and not too bad off right now, so I take the dogs along for a ride to the P.O. and dump the letters in the drive-up box. I swing by the bank to make sure I have enough $$ for the co-pay for the urologist on Wed. The streets are empty, thankfully. I don't know where everyone is. I presume they are enjoying the warm and sunny Saturday. At this point I just look forward to getting home and sitting in a hot bath.
Sunday, June 10
3:15 PM: Long time since an update. I had an uneventful day. Got up really groggy and disoriented and in pain. I hadn't taken any narcs last night. I didn't think the pain was bad enough. I had to get up 2x in the night to go to the bathroom and I didn't really sleep well. I did notice a small trend. I feel a lot worse in the morning (kidney pain) than I do the rest of the day. I think this is because I am not drinking overnight, and my kidney is not as well hydrated. It takes until the middle of the day -- after drinking a ton -- for it to feel "better," and for me to get my energy to the point where I can accomplish anything. Of course, I am going to the bathroom 4x an hour, so clearly I am hydrated.
If I can stay off the painkillers for long enough, I plan on going to the office for a little while each day this week, however it will be challenging to get much done if I have to get up every 15 minutes and go to the bathroom with my strainer..ugh. I can function without the narcs, but my body is quite fatigued from the lack of sleep and the constant low-grade pain. My stamina is nil. I remember when I passed the last stone how much energy immediately came back to me -- I didn't realize the effect of the constant, non-acute pain on my body until it was gone. This is how I feel now.
Tim and Miranda called from Hawaii; they said that the flights were fine, albeit they spent about 21 hours traveling all together. They plan to go snorkling today. Miranda said that her father (a doctor at the Mayo Clinic), had some information for me about the kidney stones. He thinks that something is amiss since I am in the wrong demographic for forming them (not and middle aged white guy). There was some test he thought I should ask the urologist about. They will call me in a day or so and tell me what he said.
I made spaghetti sauce in the crock pot this AM. I just ate some a bit ago. I couldn't eat much. Once it was ready, I had lost my appetite. But I ate some and put it in the fridge. Maybe I'll want some tomorrow.
3:30 PM: I visited an interesting web site today, Adcritic.com. You can look up TV commercials and view them and read people's comments on them. I looked up a few that I found memorable (if you only have a dial-up connection, you will be in misery if you click these links):
Cabriolet ad, where 4 young people drive around in the country at
night, on their way to a party and they pull in to the parking lot and
decide to leave before going inside, so they can keep on enjoying the
night driving. Great music. I actually saw this for the first time in
a movie theatre a year or so ago and the audience was hushed while watching
it because it was so beautiful.
Oh, enough typing. I need to drink some more.
Monday, June 11
3:15 PM: Just got home from work. Was there since 11 AM. There was just stuff I had to take care of. I emailed stuff home so I could work on it.
As far as yesterday goes, the rest of that day was uneventful. I didn't sleep well.
Today was really a 180 from yesterday. I woke up around 7:00AM feeling really bad, more pain than normal. I got in the shower and put some heat on the sore spot, but it was pretty bad. I decided to go into work anyway, not on any meds. This was a mistake from a health perspective. I thought I was going to pass out driving there, since the seat was pressing on the kidney. I did get what I needed to get done, and also emailed my endo to ask if I had been tested for hyperparathyroidism. This is an imbalance that causes excess calcium in the system and can form stones. I will ask the urologist about this. I also emailed the nutritionist so that she could have a heads up on all the new restrictions I have. I wonder if there is any way to craft a safe and liveable diet between the kidney stones and the diabetes. So much is off limits.
4:00 PM: An aside -- Tim McVeigh was executed this AM, 8:14 EDT. He had no final oral statement; he handed out a British poem from the 1870s that he hand wrote (Invictus, "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.''). It was copied and passed out to the witnesses. It was not as big a circus as expected. Not a lot of demonstrators on either side of the issue. I was getting dressed as this happened. They talked to various witnesses -- official ones, like reporters, victim family members, etc. There were also 232 people out of about 1000 that decided to attend the closed-circuit broadcast from OKC. Apparently they saw McVeigh in tight close up on the big screen. Many felt he "glared defiantly" at the camera, which was positioned on the ceiling of the room. The accounts of this execution were quite different, depending on who was being interviewed, even among the reporters.
It seems the majority of the 232 at the mass viewing in OKC were women. All those that I heard had similar impressions about McVeigh being defiant and unrepentent. Interestingly, the one male there they interviewed was the only one that said he thought McVeigh seemed "like a scared animal". Everyone they interviewed said he had "too peaceful" a death, in comparison to the carnage he wrought.
I am ambivalent about this whole thing. McVeigh is clearly the poster child for capital punishment -- heinous crime, admitted guilt, unrepentent, etc. -- but having the state put anyone to death, is such a serious thing and we cannot know if a mistake is going to be made. I don't know if it will really deter future whack jobs, on the other hand it clearly deters this whack job. Our penal and judicial system sucks rocks, since we know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of people incarcerated that are innocent, some on death row. Illinois recently suspended their executions because of the alarming amount of death row convictions reversed through DNA testing.We also have people who are repeat offenders running loose in the streets, terrorizing the innocent, who feel the state is inadequately protecting them from the offenders. Laws and the judicial process are not applied fairly; minorities and the poor cannot afford an OJ-style defense and often receive incompetent, court-appointed counsel and get thrown in the can.
But then you have these heinous cases where you know that incarceration is not enough -- Ted Bundy comes to mind (this killer escaped from jail 2x, before finally getting the chair in FL) or Jeffrey Dahmer (who was killed by another inmate). They couldn't be cured of their impulses and couldn't be contained or even protected from others in prison. Life in prison would be adequate for most guilty individuals, but for others I don't think it is enough to just be sequestered from society with 3 square meals, TV and educational opportunities for "rehabilitation". Look at Richard Speck and Charles Manson. These sociopaths actually thrive(d) in prison. Speck was living it up in jail, taking drugs, and having a particularly wild time in prison. Manson spent most of his adult life in jail and clearly couldn't function in the "real world", even before orchestrating the Tate-LaBianca murders. He now has a sizeable following, with web sites devoted to him (that says a lot about our sick society). I don't think he's suffering in prison; he relishes this attention in his mental state, and he knows that he isn't going to get out. The family members have to deal with the recurring parole hearings and deal with bringing up the past horrors and listening to his garbage.
What is the answer? I don't know, I'm just thinking aloud after pondering the goings-on today. The one size fits all kind of justice system we have isn't working, but bowing down to our most base instincts and killing the criminal as a state practice doesn't feel right either, since humans are so prone to bias and errors in judgment. I am sure this debate will go on forever. I just know that it isn't a simple issue -- it deserves a lot more thought from people more important in the scheme of things than I.
Of course none of the above had anything to do with my kidney stone, but it took my mind off of it for a while.
8 PM: My endo Dr. Brown emailed me and let me know what my calcium levels
had been in 1999 (first stone) -- confirming that I can rule out hyperparathyroidism.
She is so cool. It's great to have an doctor that is so responsive. I
had sent her an email earlier in the day, just letting her know what kind
of research I was doing on possible causes of my stone formation in advance
of my visit to Dr. Preminger. I hardly expected her to research my file,
but she did. What a peach.
Tuesday, June 12
2:15 PM: I went to work today at about 8:15, for the managers meeting at 9:15. I was feeling like crap, but dragged myself in. I only slept about 3 hours last night; inhaling deeply hurts. I was very uncomfortable, with the pain and all. Several things came up at the office that needed my attention, so I managed to take care of them before I got the call from the urologists office. Apparently someone there figured out that it would be a pretty useless visit tomorrow if they didn't have some kind of x-ray (remember, no one in the ER gave me a CT or X-ray, even after I asked about it). Duh. So I had to leave and go to clinic 1G and wait to be fit into the radiology schedule and get them done.
Around 11 AM, I drove over to the clinic and spent 10 minutes in the ^&(*!$ parking deck behind some fool that was creeping about trying to find a space on the lower levels. The asswipe should have just kept going, since there weren't any spaces till level 3 and 4. I think I probably need to eat, since I don't normally get irritated this easily.
I changed clothes at the lab and got on the x-ray table. They took several shots, then put in an IV and injected contrast dye. This dye left a metallic taste in my mouth, and felt warm throughout my body. That didn't last. The doctor putting in the IV did a good job -- no scars, no real pain. They told me I couldn't take Glucophage (one of my diabetes drugs) for 48 hours. I forgot to ask why, but I assume there is something bad about taking them with this stuff in my body. Then they took several more shots. Waited a bit. Then they put some kind of belt around my abdomen that you can pump up like a blood pressure cuff. This, I must say, definitely hurt, as it pressed agains the kidney. I made it through that, went to the bathroom and they took 3 more shots. I got dressed and left.
I went to Kroger, since I was very tired and knew I wouldn't go back out once home, and picked up some tuna and saltines. That will be dinner. Tim had called from Hawaii and left a message. He said that he had spent too much time on the beach and got a little sick. Overexposure to the sun, but no sunburn. I checked email and typed up this log. I am debating on whether to take any narcs. I think I will see if I can rest OK without them today. Yesterday the pain was so bad I couldn't even lie down.
5:15 PM: I just woke up; I slept hard for about 2 hours, I guess. I laid down on the sofa around 3PM. Getting up hurt like the dickens, it is very sore. Fed dogs. I go to let them out and see that Falstaff is lying on the washing machine looking out into the backyard. I wonder when he jumped the baby gate? Where is Jade, since that is her usual perch? Oh well, if the cats are meant to cross paths, they will. Go in my office and Jade is in there. I am still tired. I'm going to grab some more lemonade because I feel dry and parched.
I am hoping that Dr. Preminger will have something to tell me other than "wait and see", since I don't see how I can be fully functional in this condition, battling pain when the thing isn't moving. I cannot possibly drink more than I am. I am consuming about one and a quarter gallons a day, sometimes 1.5. I am constantly going to the bathroom, so it is flushing my kidneys well. I will say that I am not able to adequately drink/go to the bathroom while at work. It is so impractical when you get busy. I consume a good deal, but it is not the same as when I am home and can focus on consumption without worrying about having to leave a meeting and what not. I was at work from 8:30 to about 11, and I only consumed 1 liter of lemonade. I would have been able to down almost twice that at home. That doesn't bode well for the future.
Wednesday, June 13
8:15 PM: Long day. I did go to work, and to the urologist. The pain was about a 3 on a scale of 1-10. No narcs.
I felt really dizzy when I got up this AM. I took my BP (I have a cool little finger meter), and it was 90/66. Is that for real? That seems too low. I slowly get dressed, eat a bowl of cereal and go to work around 8AM.
My appointment was at 10:30, so I made sure to leave early enough time to accommodate getting behind a moron at the parking deck. Yes, indeed, I ended up behind one again, circling my way all the way up to deck 4 before there were spots. Walk to clinic 1G. This experience was an exercise in torture. Once I checked in and paid (co-pay $25), I had to give a urine sample and then go to the waiting room. By then it was 10:30. The room was packed and lots of them were waiting for Dr. Preminger. I read through 3 magazines, then decided to doze for a while. Around 11:30 I took out my Palm VIIx and began reading the screenplay for Citizen Kane, which I had downloaded. About 10 minutes later I was finally called in.
I was taken into the room by a nurse and she checked BP (110/70) and pulse (66). I started reading another magazine, and waited another 15 minutes before a young doctor (not Preminger) comes in and asks me about my case, what meds I take, etc. I remembered this from my last visit -- Preminger makes a lot of use of students/residents in his practice to do this prelimary stuff. He walks in after all this and spends about 2 minutes with the patient, usually accompanied by other young doctors. It's a teaching hospital of course, but my visits to him always seem rushed and impersonal. Today was exactly the same. I will say, though, that this first young guy was quite bright and personable and seemed to have a good patient "bedside manner" -- he asked good questions, listened to my theories and detailed analysis of what I had been going through and wrote it all down. I wonder if he'll come out on the other side of his training with the good bedside manner intact. He leaves and about 5 minutes later, Preminger, the first doctor and another one come in.
He tells me, after looking at all the x-rays from yesterday, that the stone was, as I was told, still in the kidney and not any larger than in March. He also said that the position should not be causing me any acute pain or even mild discomfort. I told him that whatever is going on, it sent me to the ER. He curtly told me that he didn't think that he disputed my pain, but that there must be other possible reasons for the pain that need to be explored. OK. He then says that the films turned up some irregularities or abnormalities in my left kidney that concern him. He couldn't define (or was not willing to say) what the problem might be. "It could be nothing," he said. "But we need to make sure there isn't something wrong there." So, he wrote up an order for a bilateral renal ultrasound. I have to do this on 6/20, next Wednesday.
Naturally, this left me unnerved, since the stone is there, but not causing this awful pain. He said that for now, just treat the symptoms -- that is, continue taking narcotic painkillers. I told him that I was laying off of them precisely because I cannot work while on them and I need to work, so I am working in pain. He didn't have any comment on this. Sigh. I have to see him for followup review of the ultrasound on 6/25. In the meantime, he said for me to contact my primary doctors (Brown the endo, and Lausier over at Internal Med) about other tests re: my GI tract and GYN that may shed light on what is going on. This, of course could take some more time.
So they leave, I go up front and go to the desk to set up the ultrasound and follow-up visit, then go back to the car. It's 1 PM. I go back to the office. I have a meeting, after which my boss tells me to take it easy and take time off when I am in pain. I, of course, and am stubborn about this and know that taking time off is only going to leave more work undone. I hate that. I will only take off if I am in too much pain to think.
I write some folks to update them on today's events, I call my dad, who
had left a message about dinner on Sunday. I decide to go home. It's 4PM,
and I haven't had lunch and feel wasted. I go home and make succotash,
drink a lot of lemonade and lie down. I sleep till about 7:30 and then
come in and update this log.
Thursday, June 14
8:15 PM: Uneventful day. I actually felt somewhat better (pain 2 out of 10). The fist was in my back, but not pushing. I received an email from Dr. Brown and Dr. Lausier, telling me to call triage to set up other tests. I was at work for most of the day and forgot to do this before leaving.
Terrible phone call on my machine when I got home. My brother's girlfriend's brother committed suicide. Tim and Miranda had to leave Hawaii early to fly to her home state. This is awful. I have no details, and it's not like I am going to post them on this page if I did anyway.
Got another call from my grand mother about Sunday. I finally called
her back and told her what was going on and that if I felt ok, I would
Friday, June 15
10:00 AM: Had terrible time sleeping last night. Probably got 3 hours of sleep total, all broken up. I remembered to start up my Glucophage XR again this AM, since I had to go 48 hours without it after that contrast X-ray. I could tell the difference in my control just after missing 2 doses. I tested 132 in the AM; it is usually about 92-98 in the AM when I am on it. I am at work. I will see how long I can last today; sitting in this chair presses against where I hurt, so I have to sit funny and keep shifting around. I called the triage nurse to see when I could come in to see the internal med doctor. She said she'd call me back. Around 12:30 she called and said that Dr. Lausier would see me on Tuesday, around 11 AM. She'll probably have me go to the vampires and draw lots of tubes of blood. I hope that there is a decent phlebotemist on duty.
I had an impromptu lunch with one of my staff members, Margaret down at Satisfaction, a restaurant downstairs from the Duke Press offices. I had a gyro. That was tasty. We had a long discussion about religion and death. I don't know how the subject came up. Oddly interesting, not too morbid, though I have a high morbidity threshold.
I managed to stay at work until 4:45. I did get a lot of work done. I didn't feel too bad, just a bit tired. I went to Petsmart on the way home and got the dogs some rawhides, they were almost out.
I got home; Tim had called again and left a message. I called back but no one was there. The rest of the evening was uneventful. I had succotash (lima beans and corn) for dinner.
Saturday, June 16
7 PM: I was quite productive this AM. I didn't sleep well, but I got up around 7:30 AM and felt OK so I drove to Wal-Mart to get some supplies (cat litter, bathroom stuff, etc.). Very humid and nasty out, but sunny. I came home and was disgusted by the sight of my front yard -- shrubs overgrown, ivy threatening to cover my impatiens I had in pots along my walkway. I unloaded the car and went in and put on my MP3 player and some gardening gloves and went and got my hedge clippers and set out to tidy things up.
It was about 86 degrees and 100% humidity mind you. It took all of 10 minutes and I was sweating like I had been working out and somewhat dizzy. I am clearly not at my normal stamina level. I can usually handle this kind of thing without a problem. I managed to trim up the front and side shrubs and the ivy and called it quits; I was satisfied with my work anyway. At least it doesn't look like no one is living here. God knows if I had actually grass in my front yard, it would have been 3 feet high, it's been that long since I've been out there. That's why I decided to let the ivy take over as ground cover. Below is a pic from a few years back, taken at Christmas time.
I came in and showered. I was so dehydrated I downed about a half gallon of lemonade. I hurt all over, but did some laundry then say down at the computer. I scanned some photos from high school and sent them to the person coordinating the Stuy '81 web site. Checked email.
There is this 30 sec commercial that is driving me crazy. As in I like it. It's for a Saab turbo convertible. There are two girls with 2 bikes on the back of the car and they are driving along a desolate highway and they pass a tour bus and two people in the bus watch them whiz by; the girls laughing and enjoying themselves. You then see a shot of the bus come by them again, passing the Saab sitting on the side of the road. The girls step on the gas and peel off again, off to pass the bus once more. The tag line is "Be a considerate driver...Let them have just one more look". A simple commercial, but what makes it great is the background music. It is killing me trying to figure out who it is. I think it is Nelly Furtado, but I am not sure; I listened to samples of all her tracks at CDnow.com and it's not any of those. It's her debut album, so there's no other sources.
I have been looking for the ad on the Adcritic site, but it hadn't been posted yet. Someone else has also been looking for this commercial, and a third person taped it and actually posted it on the web. I downloaded it yesterday and have played it over and over, lol. I hate not being about to know who it is. Someone posted on the Adcritic site that it was specifically written for the ad, but seems unlikely to me, since most decent ads are using established artist cuts. I don't know. Just a diversion.
Tim called around 1PM so I got to talk to him. I asked him how things were up there in MN. As can be expected, very tough. I updated him on how things are here. He isn't sure when he will be getting back this way, but not until next week, at the earliest.
I laid down and took a short nap. I woke up and the pain was back; not horrible. I drank some and it seemed to calm down.
Had succotash again for dinner.
Tuesday, June 19
I decided that I didn't want to turn on my PC on Sunday, so I didn't, thus no update. I didn't do much, aside from chores. Monday I went to work as normal, though I was slow getting out because I had a terrible night sleeping. I must have fallen asleep on my arm the wrong way, because I woke up with my whole rigth side feeling dead, like no blood was in it. I got up and it hurt like hell. I drank some and got back in bed and just laid there in pain. Eventually I fell asleep again, but had to get up to go to work. Tim was to drive down and come into town around 11:30 PM. I had a Partners Against Crime meeting to take minutes at on Monday evening (7PM), so by the time I got home I was dead tired and didn't update the log.
8:15 AM: I think I overdid it Monday because I really didn't sleep well on Monday, and woke up with my left kidney area hurting again. I drank and had cereal and went to work to make sure all servers were running. I have an appointment with Dr. Lausier today, the internal med doctor at 11AM. She will probably run some tests. Tim said he will go with me. He doesn't really need to, but he wants to. I may take the rest of the day off. Not sure yet; depends on how much of a wringer I am put through.
11 AM: Went to see Dr. Lausier. She did an exam, went over my records and said that she couldn't see what the problem could be, and thought the ultrasound tomorrow would be helpful. She ordered x-rays of my lungs and spine to rule out anything going on there. Fortunately, at this internal med center, the labs are here, and it was incredibly empty. Tim and I were the only people in the waiting room.
I was called in almost as soon as I could dump my co-pay ($15). The x-rays took a while, as they did several sets. I carried them back to Dr. Lausier. She said they were clean as a whistle and that my spine was "the best she'd ever seen". Whatever that means. Did she think I was old and creaky already? I haven't ever had back problems. Anyway, she said that she had no insight as to what caused this pain, aside from suggesting it was muscular, as in strain. Now having worked out and pulled muscles, I know what that pain feels like, and what I experienced wasn't that. Never mind the morphine and the analgesics they gave me should have killed simple muscle strain pain, and they didn't. It also comes and goes, instead of progressively improving. Anyway, that was the GP's guess, but she said that perhaps the ultrasound would confirm what was on the x-ray, an abnormality on my kidney or just an artifact on the x-ray.
Went to Elmo's Diner since I hadn't eaten beforehand. Went home and rested. I was very tired. Tim and I picked up some DVDs. We watched Pitch Black, with Vin Diesel. I expected a decent B-movie of the Alien ilk. It was actually quite stylishly shot (interesting use of wide angle lenses, overexposed film), and had great FX. I think all the bucks went into the flick, as the cast was full of unknowns. It was certainly better than a lot of A films coming out of Hollywood.
Wednesday, June 20
6:00 PM: Entered the 11 AM log for the doctor visit yesterday above. Today I went to work till 2PM. Ultrasound was at the hospital in the Radiology dept. The hospital is just around the corner from my house, so we left around 2:40 for a 3PM appt. By the time we parked in the deck and walked through the underground tunnel to the hospital, it was 2:55. Radiology was on the first floor. Again, the department was EMPTY. I didn't have to wait. A technician came and took us to the ultrasound department into another waiting room. Again, EMPTY. My lucky day Sat for 5 minutes, and the ultrasound tech took me in.
Thankfully, I didn't have to drink a gallon of fluid like I did for the pelvic ultrasound I had a few years back. She still had to put the goo on my abdomen to run the ultrasound device. I watched the monitor. I don't know what I am looking for, but she said (obviously) that these pics were clear. She did pics of both kidneys and my bladder. I dressed and she told me to go out and wait a few minutes to see if the radiologist got what they needed. She eventually came back and said she had to redo the right kidney and bladder, so I went back in. She did that some more and then I left. I won't have a diagnosis or analysis till Monday when I see Dr. Preminger the urologist.
Tim and I went grocery shopping. I was about to bottom out from low blood sugar, so we went home so I could eat a bagel.
Monday, June 25
8:30 AM: The last several days have been uneventful. I have felt fine with the exception of the mild pain in the AM that subsides when I am able to drink (after not being able to overnight). I see the urologist at 10:15 AM. While I will hopefully get a clean bill of health when he tells me about the ultrasound results, this will leave me wondering what sent me to the ER in the first place. I don't like the idea of not knowing, since it could obviously recur without warning. The fact that the major pain has gone away now is not reassuring, and I would think that doctors would want to at least tell me what it might be. Or rather, something realistic that it might be.
Dr. Lausier's brush-off assessment that it is a muscle pull ir simple back strain is so ludicrous that it really makes you wonder about the medical profession sometimes. I'm not saying what I have is anything life threatening, but all the symptoms I've experienced suggest that something and internal odd occurred that morphine and painkillers didn't relieve that whole first week. One would think that I would have had to do some serious heavy lifting and straining to cause that level of pain, and the fact that it occurred in the absence of any out-of-the-ordinary physical strain or activity the day before or that morning really seems to rule muscle strain out, in my opinion. All I want to make sure of is that whatever happened doesn't happen again, especially if I am on the road somewhere, on a plane, in a car, etc. Having no explanation leaves you without control over the situation. But I'll see and report later.
3:15 PM: All done. I hate going to this doctor. Tim and I went over and there was only one person at the admitting desk. I was second in line but it took ages before anyone processed the woman ahead of me. It's never like this at any of the other doctors I go to. Once I was processed, I was taken to an interior examination room and that nurse asked me a couple of questions. Stupidly, my file didn't have the medications I normally take, so he had to take them down again. This seems totally inefficient. I have to recount this every time I go to a specialist. It seems like they should be able, in this day and age, to just have your file in the computer and print out the latest information for the file. After he leaves, I sit for nearly an hour before Preminger strolls in and tells me what's going on.
The ultrasound turned up clear, meaning no cysts or tumors, etc. He's not sure what sent me to the ER a couple of weeks ago, and even suggested (lord help me), that it might have been stone pain, but unlikely. That it could be muscular/skeletal (that hoary excuse again), and the fact that I had nausea and later fever and chills was just coincidence since those particular symptoms don't fit a muscle pull. Doesn't this seem very convenient?
Anyway, the second urologist (back when I saw him a couple of weeks ago) said that the pain could in fact be caused by the stone that is still in my kidney. The doctor said that the stone's location is not causing an obstruction (which would be serious), and it is in a place where they cannot operate anyway. I have to just keep drinking a lot and hope that it doesn't get bigger. Basically, I have been cleared from "serious" stuff, but have no real answers as to why this episode occurred, or what I can do to prevent it from happening again. They have said to just treat the symptoms (pain -- take ibuprofen if mild, or the narcotics if it is bad, and if it is acute, go to the ER again.). Not great advice, since I believe in preventative medicine, but there you have it.
Calcium Oxalate Stones: what to avoid--
more on kidney stones at: