Sunday, January 30, 2011

Once again, I'm keeping my hospital bag by the door.

You don't have to spend long in a hospital to realize that you'll be happier there if you come prepared. For example:
  • No matter what the temperature outside, it will be freezing inside. (Bring a sweatshirt.)
  • If your back is killing you - from an obstructed ureter, say - you think you'd be able to get something as simple as an ice pack. It will never happen. (Icy Hot adhesive patches are a lifesaver.)
  • It can take hours - literally HOURS - for an ER doctor to come assess you, no matter how much pain you're in. (Can you say percocet?)
  • And if you believe that hospitals serve anything even approaching "food", ho boy do you have another thing coming. (Hello trail mix!)
And this is why, when on Friday a sonogram revealed a new stone in my right kidney almost a centimeter in diameter, I knew I'd be pulling out The Bag. After my first trip to the ER (which incidentally was caused by a stone of only 6mm), I won't get anywhere near the hospital without it. It contains all of my incidental medications, a very soft hoodie, the aforementioned IcyHot patches, an ankle brace, a knee brace, and a pad of paper and pen, among other items.

These last two are crucial - if I could give one piece of advice to anyone who ever sets foot into a hospital, it would be this: write down every single thing that happens. Every doctor you talk to, medication you take, test and procedure you have. As much as they may try, hospitals are just too big these days, and for the most part cannot:
  • a) determine if you (or they) are coming or going,
  • b) get the left hand to talk to the right hand,
  • c) decipher their asses from their elbows,
et cetera. If I could give a second piece of advice, it would be this: if you'd like to take a shower during your stay, mention it while you're checking in. Seriously.

So, soon I'll be scheduling another lithotripsy, a noninvasive "surgery" that uses soundwaves to break up the stones. I am not happy about this. But if we get me in soon enough, I'll be able to avoid the hospital entirely, and I'd like that. As you may be able to tell, it's not my favorite place. The lithotripsy is vastly preferable to waiting until the stone moves into the ureter and causes an obstruction - simultaneously causing the worst pain known to man. I'll take a little kidney bruising over doing that again any day.

No one thus far has been able to do anything crazy like, oh say, tell me *why* I'm making the stones. My diet is perfect, I'm taking special supplements, and I'm drinking so much water that I'm surprised I don't float down the street. It appears to just be one of my many special talents. That's the ticket - I should look at the bright side. Think I should start putting it on my resume? Maybe I'll start a small business...

***Calcium Oxalate Stones, Made to Order!!***

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A winter morning commute...