My husband has had four kidney stones. Which prompted me to write this post a few years ago about why I hope I never have a kidney stone. January of 2014 started out with my husband getting a kidney stone, and then a few weeks later, our oldest son (who lives in a different state) getting a kidney stone. I’ll never forget my son calling me early that cold January day when the excruciating pain hit him and he couldn’t even talk. The phone jarred me from a deep sleep and when I said “Hello,” all I heard on the other end of the line was heavy breathing/gasping. We laugh now about how I thought at the time that I was getting an obscene phone call from some pervert, when actually it was my own son who was in the midst of his first bout of renal colic hell. He couldn’t pass his stone and had to have it surgically removed. My husband couldn’t pass his first one either and also had to have surgical intervention.
On November 28th, I experienced some hematuria (blood in the urine). I had no history of kidney stones in my family but I started guzzling water. I had no other symptoms until the next morning when I started having small twinges of pain in my right flank area. The next day I passed what I thought was a poppy-seed sized stone. If it had been any smaller, I wouldn’t have seen it. I happened to have an appointment a day or so later with my doctor and so I mentioned all of this to him. He did a urinalysis. When he called one night a week later to let me know that I had a trace amount of blood in my urine and Calcium Oxalate crystals, he told me he suspected I probably had several small kidney stones. He said he would have his nurse call me the next morning to schedule a CT. I never got that call. In the meantime, I didn’t see anymore blood or have anymore symptoms so I assumed all was well. I continued to guzzle lemon water (which can help dissolve the crystals).
Around mid-December of this year, I was feeling quite proud of myself on the Christmas front. I had started my Christmas shopping early (early for me is just after Thanksgiving), bought most of my gifts, got the decorating done, and was doing a pretty good job of keeping the Christmas stress to a minimum. I even sent Christmas cards out this year which was something I hadn’t done in 11 years since my mother passed away.
Then December 15th came. I got a call from my husband at the hospital where he works as an RN, telling me he had fallen. As a result of the fall, his right knee was getting increasingly painful and swollen. He was headed to the ER fearing he had cracked his patella (knee cap). After four hours in the ER and X-rays, he was told that no fracture was visible, just a lot of effusion (fluid) in the knee. He was given a splint and was told to see an orthopedist.
Five days later on December 20th, he and I were driving to downtown Nashville to see an orthopedist about his still swollen and painful knee. We were about 10 minutes from the interstate exit we were to get off on when I developed a pain in my lower right abdomen. It rapidly got worse and I couldn’t get comfortable. I was squirming and grimacing. About the time I was telling my husband that the pain was really bad, the nausea hit. My husband said, “You have a kidney stone and I’m taking you to the ER.” He felt bad that he had to drop me off so as not to miss his ortho appointment that took five days to get. I felt bad that I wasn’t getting to go with him to his appointment.
Long story short, I
had have a kidney stone and more sophisticated X-rays of my husband’s knee did show a fractured patella. The orthopedist drained 45 cc’s of blood out of his knee-joint and put him in a full extension leg splint that goes from his ankle to his groin. I was sent home with instructions to drink beer (yuck) and told that I would probably pass the kidney stone at home as it was only a 2 mm stone (considered small for a kidney stone).
Here we are 12 days later, and I haven’t passed that stone yet. I got desperate one night and did try drinking beer which almost made me hurl. I think I’ll stick to my lemon water thank you very much, though I’m getting mighty tired of it. It’s not much fun drinking icy lemon water when it’s 19 degrees outside. When I called a urologist the day after I was in the ER, I was told he couldn’t see me until January 4th. I thought surely to God I will pass the stone by then. I was told if I did, I could cancel the appointment and not be charged (as long as I gave 24 hours notice) and if I got in excruciating pain again, then I could call and hopefully, they could work me in sooner.
In the meantime, hubby is spending most of his days in his recliner with his splinted leg elevated. He’s out of work for three weeks until he sees the orthopedist again. With all that happened, my Christmas shopping didn’t quite get done but I tried not to stress over it. I was just thankful I had done most of it as early as I did. Our youngest son came home for two days before Christmas but he had a G.I. bug and didn’t feel well for his visit. My oldest son (the one who’s had a kidney stone) had some vacation time so he spent ten days here helping his ailing parents. He left two days ago. I told him I now understand him not being able to talk when he called during his bout of renal colic. It’s a pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It literally hurt to breathe when I was at the ER having the worst of my pain. It hurt to carry on a conversation with the nurses and the technicians doing the CT. And mostly it was hard to concentrate on the questions they were asking me. I wanted to crawl out of my body to escape the pain. The IV dilaudid (which they told me was some good stuff) did absolutely NOTHING for my pain. It made me a little woozy feeling in the head for just a few minutes but the pain was still there. It irritated me when they kept asking me to rate my pain. They would say 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever experienced. Finally when the doctor came back in about 30-45 minutes after the dilaudid had been given, he took one look at me and said, ” Oh, you didn’t get any relief at all from the dilaudid did you?” Duh. I shook my head. At that point, I was grimacing, crying and seriously opting for euthanasia. So he ordered IV morphine, Benadryl (I was nauseated again), Reglan, and Toradol. That did the trick but I couldn’t keep my eyes open. When my son was in the ER with his kidney stone and they asked him to rate his pain, he told them, “IT’S A 15!” I rated mine an 8 or 9, only because it wasn’t the worst pain I had ever endured. The worst pain I ever endured was post childbirth pain after my first son was born. That pain made me think real hard as to whether I even wanted to have another child. Thankfully, the second time around wasn’t near as painful.
If there’s any prayer warriors out there who don’t mind adding me and hubby to their prayers, well, we’d sure appreciate it. I’ve had two pain-free days but tonight the pain has been more frequent. It’s not the horrible renal colic pain, just annoying pain that comes and goes and sends me to bed with the heating pad. It makes me anxious, anticipating that pain that’s off the scale.
I’d be curious to know, have you ever had a kidney stone? I’m amazed at how many people have. The cashier at the drugstore I went to after my ER visit told me he had passed three kidney stones and he was only 17! Poor guy! Most people I know who have had stones told me their doctors also told them to go home and drink beer. Apparently, the beer diureses you allowing the stone to flush out. Beer will also dilate the ureters which relaxes them, making the stone pass easier. It didn’t work for my little stone.
I had not planned on starting the New Year out with a kidney stone any more than my husband had planned on starting his year out with a fractured patella and having to wear a splint. But as hubby’s been saying a lot lately, “It is what it is.” Ain’t that the truth.