Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Haven't we been here before?

I went up to my mom's house on Sunday, like I do every weekend. At around 8:30 Monday morning, I felt a familiar cramp in my right side. "Couldn't be," I thought to myself. "It's almost exactly a year ago that I had kidney stones."

I went to bed and woke up in agony about an hour or so later. I had my mom call my doctor because I was in no shape to talk. They had a 3:30 appointment available, and my mom said we would take it. I think the receptionist heard me groaning because she came back and said they had an 11:15. I had to have my mom put my shoes on because bending over was killing me. A few minutes into the trip, I had to pull over and have my mom drive so I could curl up in the back seat and scream. And also puke. Sorry, Sis.

I shuffled into the elevator and the woman who got in before me pressed three for me. She asked if I was okay and I said, "Kidney stones. I'm sorry about the screaming." She said, "God, don't apologize." heh. I got signed it at the office (thankfully, they take my new insurance, so I don't have to find a new PCP) and waited. They brought me into a room and I curled up on the table and groaned out my answers to the nurse. I had to sit up for my blood pressure, which was extremely high, but I spent the rest of the exam lying on the table and my doctor basically talked to my ass the entire time. I got an anti-nausea shot in my left cheek and an anti-inflammatory in my right. A nurse helped me to the bathroom so I could get them a urine sample and while I don't have blood in my urine, I do have a urine infection. My doctor went over last year's kidney chart and it turns out I had calcium stones and also a cyst on my right ovary.

Long story short, they sent me home with two Rxs: Ciprofloxacin (for the infection) and Hydrocodone (for the gagonizing pain). Oh, this is funny. The nurse gave me a barf bag which looked like a giant blue condom. They put me in a wheelchair and took me out to the van, and as we passed a group of children, I was seized by an extremely painful cramp, leaned over and puked into the condom. "herFLEHHHAAWWW!" One of the kids screamed. Another said, "Mommy, what's wrong with her??"

Did I forget to mention I had my shoes on wrong?

The pain diminished enough on the way home, so I was able to sit up and talk to my mom. I think I talked to Sis, and I know I was posting on facebook, but I don't remember getting back to my mom's house. I remember taking my pants off, but that's about it. My mom woke me up at 7p.m. and said she'd spoken to my doctor and she'd told her that, because of the shots I'd received, I shouldn't go to work. I called my boss and left her a message, and I'm pretty sure I sounded drunk. I passed out again and woke up at around 1 a.m. to take the dogs out and eat something. I watched Laverne and Shirley ("Calm down, will ya? You're giving the dog monkey nerves!") and Batman and fell asleep and now I'm up again. I've drank about seven pints of water in an effort to flush these bastards out.

Last year's CT scan revealed stones in both kidneys, though the ones in the left (where the pain was) were bigger. The stones in my right kidney, I found out yesterday, were tiny and "up high." They sure as hell don't feel tiny.

I've been scouring the internet for information on how to never have to go through this again, but it doesn't look good. There are conflicting reports about calcium stones. They're caused by too much calcium, they're caused by not enough calcium. wtf?

My friend Jason recommended drinking olive oil and lemon juice to help pass the stone. Why not? It's kind of like drinking salad dressing, right? I've been drinking water like it's going out of style. I try and drink a lot anyway, but I never seem to get enough. I always feel dehydrated. I've been feeling sort of light-headed and weak lately; feverish, too. I'm starting to wonder if those weren't warning signs.

The pain is more or less gone, though I feel a twinge pretty often. I can deal with twinges. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but there is something about this sort of pain that is ... unrelenting. You can't get away from it. The face-down fetal position seems to help, but only for so long.

Here's a picture of last year's stone (one of them):

It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing.

I'm not bothering to try and catch the ones from my right kidney. We know who they are, we know what they want. Blah blah blah.

So here's anothe wakeup call to take better care of myself. One website recommends:

You may reduce your risk of kidney stones if you:

  • Drink water throughout the day. Drink more water throughout the day. For people with a history of kidney stones, doctors usually recommend passing about 2.6 quarts (2.5 liters) of urine a day. Your doctor may ask that you measure your urine output to ensure that you're drinking enough water. People who live in hot, dry climates and those who exercise frequently may need to drink even more water to produce enough urine.

  • Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods. If you tend to form calcium oxalate stones, your doctor may recommend restricting foods rich in oxalates. These include rhubarb, beets, okra, spinach, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, tea, chocolate and soy products. (Nooooooooooo!!!!)

  • Choose a diet low in salt and animal protein. Reduce the amount of salt you eat and choose nonanimal protein sources, such as nuts and legumes. This may help reduce your chance of developing kidney stones. (No problem, there.)

  • Continue eating calcium-rich foods, but use caution with calcium supplements. The calcium in the food you eat doesn't have an effect on your risk of kidney stones. Continue eating calcium-rich foods unless your doctor advises otherwise. Ask your doctor before taking calcium supplements, though, as these have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones. You may reduce the risk by taking supplements with meals.
  • (I don't take any supplements.)

No tea or chocolate?! WTF??? There's always carob, right? And now that I know my doctor takes my new insurance, I can go back and address some other health issues I've been having. Plus I need to see that Neurologist about my foot numbness.

Did I mention I vomited so violently that the blood vessels in my face and neck exploded?

I've read several accounts where women who have given birth to twins (naturally and without pain meds) have said that kidney stones are far worse than childbirth. Ugh.

Gonna go watch Canadian Bacon until I fall asleep.

P.S. It took me over an hour to write this because I'm so groggy I can't spell properly.

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