Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th

I am not superstitious about Friday the 13th, but today has been nothing short of hellish. I sincerely hope that flipping the calendar to another day will change my fortune. I'll warn you now that today's entry may be tough reading.

I awoke at 5:30 a.m. with lower abdominal discomfort that spread to my back. I went to bed feeling fine, so I was perplexed as to what might be causing this fairly significant pain. My first thoughts were food poisoning or (sorry) constipation, but the solution to the latter didn't ease things. I laid around and paced for about an hour hoping that I would feel better, but if anything, I felt worse.

I called my insurance company's toll-free nurse line to get an opinion on the situation. The pain did let up some while I was on the phone, but I was hurting enough that I knew I couldn't let it pass. The nurse recommended going to the emergency room and directed me to the closest hospital, which is about a ten-minute drive my place.

By 7:00 I dragged myself to the car and hoped that I could make it to the hospital without any further complications. I cursed aloud every driver in front of me going under the speed limit and then staggered into my destination. There was no question that I needed to be in the emergency room. Fortunately I didn't have to wait and laid down on a bed as soon as possible.

The prognosis seemed pretty clear by now. I probably had a kidney stone. I had a very small one about ten years ago, but I don't remember it being this bad. (My dad has had issues with them, so I wasn't particularly surprised that this was the cause of my misery.) The nurse told me to change into a gown. This will tell you how rare it is that I'm in this bad of shape and how unclear my brain was. Thinking I'd provide easier access to the doctor, I put it on backwards. Modesty had gone out the window. Whatever was going to get me pumped full of painkillers the fastest was priority number one.

The nurse put another gown over me and eventually covered me with a sheet as I'd been writhing around. There was a period of probably ten minutes, which felt like hours, where the E.R. personnel were doing whatever they needed to do. Meanwhile I moaned in pain desperate for them to do something. It is the loneliest I've ever felt in my life.

The drugs didn't immediately take effect like I desired, but by the time the radiology tech was done with my scan, the pain seemed to be dulled pretty well. Waking up early had me tired. I hadn't eaten anything, although the IV was putting something in me. I was content to lay there and attempt to sleep in between the bedside visits.

Sure enough, I had a small kidney stone. The doctor said I ought to be able to pass it at home. They were going to release me about two hours after I'd arrived, but I had to drive myself back to my apartment, which simply wasn't doable with the Dilaudid and other drugs in my system. They let me rest for another hour. I didn't feel like I had my legs under me, so I read the newspaper and sipped water in the waiting room for another hour. Then I, umm, expelled it all and decided that I better wait a little longer.

Finally I thought my condition might be solid enough that I could drive to the grocery store to fill my prescription and get home. I made it unscathed, although there were probably smarter alternatives.

I've had no appetite, but I managed to eat some bland, inoffensive food so I had something on my stomach for taking a Percocet to work on the returning pain. The pain has been muted but present the rest of today. I've passed a few infinitesimal gravelly bits, so I'm hoping that the worst is over. I feel lousy and don't want to eat at all, so I've had to suck up the pain for the last couple hours. I may have to force myself to get something down so I can take another pill and get some sleep.

And to add insult to injury, when I was feeling a little better the power got knocked out just as I'd beaten one of the songs on Guitar Hero III in expert, keeping it from being saved. Maybe there's something to this curse of 13 after all. (Not really...but it makes a nice close.)

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At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you feel better soon! Hugs.

At 11:09 PM, Blogger donnadb said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. It does sound absolutely hellish. Hope everything is back to normal soon.

At 9:14 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Ow! Ow! Ow!

Having had kidney stones more than once, I can sympathize. I won't say I feel your pain since we all have different tolerance levels. Hope it all passes quickly, Mark. I find that staying doped up so the meds don't have to keep catching up works best. But I'm also a fond beliver in better living thru chemistry. ;-)


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