Saturday, August 2, 2008

Kidney Stones (part 2)

My urologist uses a lithotripter to attempt to break up the stone with minimal collateral damage by using an externally-applied, focused, high-intensity acoustic pulse. I am glad I am heavily sedated during this process. I am positioned on the apparatus' bed and my back is supported by a water-filled coupling device placed at the level of kidneys. I am not aware of it, but they have also placed a tube down my throat so that I can continue to breathe. Somehow the doctor is able to locate the stone using some type of remote imaging system so he can focus the shock wave on the stone. He will deliver 120 shocks per minute for the next hour or so. I am also very glad that I am under a general anesthetic.

I wake up in a different room. There is a strange awakening that takes place as one regains consciousness. Somehow, the body knows it has been traumatized and the brain is trying to figure out when and where. My eyes slowly clear as I look around the post op area. There are nurses talking and walking about. I spot the clock and it takes extra effort to focus in on the time. It is a few minutes after 5pm . . . my brain starts working the math . . . what time did this start . . .1pm? 4 hours ago? When will I be home? Three hours from now? The nurse comes by and sees how I am doing. I am very thirsty and ask for something to drink. I get a little ice cold can of Sierra Mist. Other than getting the sedative, the cold soda is the highlight of my day. I have not eaten anything since 4pm the previous day and have not had anything to drink for the previous 16 hours.

I lay there for an hour or so. My wife has been talking to me off and on for the past hour but I do not hear much of what she has to say. Things are getting back to normal rather fast with the exception of the feeling that I just did a few rounds with a professional kick boxer.

After laying there for an hour, the nurse tells me I can go home as soon as I can stand up and go to the bathroom on my own. I gather my strength that has been returning ever so slowly the past hour and stand up and slowly walk across the post op area to a bathroom with my plastic bag of clothes. The nurse walks with me and opens the door and unties the gown for me. She also gives me emergency instructions before I lock myself inside the privacy of the oversized toilet area in case I get sick or fall down.

I drop the gown and go to the bathroom and to my horror, what I see going in the urinal resembles tomato juice . . . I get dressed and cleaned up and go back out. My face must have shown my dismay because the nurse sees me and says “are you ok?” My response is not unlike Ving Rhames character ‘Marsellus’ from Pulp Fiction . . “naw, I’m pretty {exp} far from okay” . . . I think it . .but bite my tongue and say “no, I just pee’d blood”. The nurse does not even flinch and responds “that’s normal” . . now, I am no medical doctor but I know that what I just did is not normal but I am dressed and all I have to do is wait for my wife to pull the care around up front and the nurse will have someone push me in a wheelchair and let me go home. Home is close now and I see light at the end of the tunnel so I stay quiet.

We stop on the way home and I get my prescription filled. I also added a couple of 2 liter bottles of 7-Up to the cart. All I needed now was for my wife to take my hurting body home, allow me to take some pain medication and go to bed (which is what I did) and sleep for the next 12 hours.

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