Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trip to the urologist

Yesterday I went to the urologist. I had to get a few x-rays of my kidneys, ureters and bladder prior to my appointment with the doctor. Getting these x-rays never thrills me because I have to get out of my wheelchair so that I can lay on the hard x-ray table -- not comfortable, especially on the tail bone! After I got back in my chair we went to see the doctor. We had to wait 45 minutes, but once I got in to see the doctor things quickly. He pulled my x-rays up on the computer in the room and took a look. Good news: I haven't developed any new kidney stones, and the two small stones in my left kidney haven't gotten any bigger in the past six months. I know it's risky saying this, but I think I'm going to make my goal of not being hospitalized at all in 2009.

Kidney stones are inevitably going to be a problem for me, as they are for most people with spinal cord injuries. Your kidneys don't empty near as efficiently when you can't stand up, so stones form much more easily.

The reason I made the goal not to be hospitalized at all in 2009 was because I was hospitalized twice in 2007 and twice in 2008, both due to complications with kidney stones. In 2007 I had two large kidney stones (one of them was an inch and a forth long) and they were both infected. My doctor went in through my back to remove the stones and the surgery was much more difficult than he anticipated and a lot of infected stuff got stirred up in my blood in the process. I was terribly sick for the next 10 or so days. I was delirious and I wasn't responding to antibiotics.

Sometimes I would talk to people who weren't there, or other times I would just stare blankly into space. There was one day when I chanted, "Leave me alone!" any time anyone would try to talk to me. (Including my family and friends, and even my my own Mom!) Even when no one was talking to me I was still mouthing those same words. To make a long story short, after about 10 days of being delirious I finally "snapped out of it." All of a sudden -- about the span of one day -- I just started acting like myself again. (That might not seem like all of a sudden, but it pretty much was considering where I was coming from.)

I had absolutely no memory of the things that I said and did while I was consumed with delirium, but I do remember having nightmare after nightmare and feeling absolutely tormented. I laughed when my family and friends would tell me the things I said and did, although I knew it really wasn't a laughing matter, especially since my doctor couldn't figure out why I was delirious for so long.

When I met with my urologist for a follow-up visit a few weeks after returning home from the hospital, I asked him just how close to death I'd actually been, and he said that I was "teetering" on the edge (of life and death) and that it could have gone "either way." It was sobering to realize just how sick those kidney stones had made me.

So now, although I don't look forward to getting x-rays and seeing my urologist, I know that it's worth it so as to try and avoid kidney stones and the complications they can bring.


Kathe said...

Yay for no more kidney stones. I am so glad everything went well and there were no complications:)

Tyler and Jen said...

Well you only have about a month and a half and you will make your goal! I'm glad things are looking good!

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