Posts Tagged 'health'

The Condensed Tale of the Kidney Stone

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I tried to write up the saga of my husband’s kidney stone woes, but it began to resemble an epic poem, without the meter. Here are my key take-aways, as we say in the business world.

Hospitals have changed a LOT since I last had to be in one. I noticed that the plant (building, furnishings, etc)  looked great – very modern, everything digital. My husband’s room (once he finally got one) looked more like a hotel room. I asked his nurse about that and she explained the reason for all the ‘luxuries’. (Aside – I’m so old that I remember when you had to pay extra for a TV, for a phone, the majority of the rooms were multi-occupancy, food came on its schedule, not yours and there was no comfortable area for visitors.) Apparently the state funds the hospitals based on reviews from patients/visitors. The higher your score, the more $$ the state will give you. Hence the need to make things LOOK good. I like that, but I sure hope that some of those $$ are going to the staff as well. Each time I went back to the hospital to visit my husband, I brought more “stuff”: clothes because it’s freezing cold there, pillow for trying to sleep on the chairs in the emergency room, food, water, and then on the day he was scheduled to be ‘fitted in’ for the procedure, all of my work computers. That last stay was amazingly comfortable – like hanging out in a hotel room but with better lighting. 🙂  In the picture below, those are my husband’s legs/feet as he rested in the reclining chair. It was a single occupancy room.
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Emergency rooms are not a great place to hang out. We were lucky enough both times I brought him in to get seen quickly and get a bed in a room in the ER (once at midnight, once at 6:30 am). When I poked my head out the next morning it was wall-to-wall patients – literally. The stretchers and wheelchairs lined the hallway. I wouldn’t have been surprised if there were patients sitting on the nursing station. Even so – everyone but one we encountered in the ER was upbeat, patient and helpful. Even the one was not rude or aggressive, merely cold and aloof. And he used the wrong words to describe my husband’s condition which led to misunderstandings and stress. But that was resolved to our satisfaction and preferences, so aside from an hour of unnecessary fear and stress, it wasn’t an issue. One out of all the many is not a bad ratio. I will say that this hospital was NOT very good at communications – to us, among themselves. That’s an area that would benefit from oversight and clarity. I saw someone on FB slamming this hospital’s ER room and service saying they never go there – they go to the OTHER big hospital down the street. Honestly, I hope I never have to go back to EITHER ER, but this was okay. Yes, it could be better. But they are already expanding it for the 4th time in a matter of a few years. The more they expand, the more patients get sent to it from all over. You don’t want to be in an ER if you don’t have to go, that’s the bottom line.

There are actually some very funny stories from that time in the ER, if I can convince my sister to write them. As it happens, while I was there with my husband, she needed to bring in her mother-in-law. They were part of the wall-to-wall stretchers with no chairs and no room. As I pointed out to my sister, timing is everything in these matters and you need to check-in EARLY if you want the BEST seating. *grin*
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Kidney stones appear to be one of the most excruciating ailments you can have. I have never seen my husband writhing and moaning in pain as he did with this kidney stone. A few years ago he fell 20 feet from a ladder onto a concrete floor and I don’t think he was in such pain. When the pain medicine took effect, he was asleep. If he was between doses, he was in agony. I hope this is as close as I ever get to a kidney stone. The stones are so weird. You can have one, and you don’t know it (yet) and there’s no pain because it’s not sticking you anywhere or blocking anything. You go merrily along your way. Then it MOVES. You drop to the ground thinking someone has skewered you with a flaming iron rod. You drink lots and lots of fluids. If you are lucky, the stone goes out with the fluids. If you are only a little lucky, it moves to where it is not hurting you. If you are not lucky, it doesn’t leave, it sticks you or blocks you and you need a procedure. My husband got a little lucky, and came home for approximately 12 hours. Then the stone moved again so we went back to the ER. He went in for a procedure to remove it and it had moved yet again. It couldn’t escape, however. They plucked it out, made sure it hadn’t left any little friends, and they were done in under 90 seconds. 90 seconds, not a typo. My husband then spent approximately 36 hours recuperating from the anesthesia.

Anyway, the good news is that the kidney stone is gone. We are resuming normal daily routines. I don’t know what YOU would do while you waited in the ER, but I wrote a cheer to encourage the kidney stone to get out of town.

Move it, Move it, Kidney Stone,
Ride that water, GO GO GO!!!!

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Facing Reality

Yesterday I went over the river and through the woods. Not to my grandmother’s house, but to work HQ. The delusion is that I can make the drive without becoming fatigued. On a good day the commute there takes me 2 hours. Yesterday was NOT a good day. It took me about an hour to get across the bridge. All the other roads – to the bridge and after the bridge – were wet and many of the other drivers were both stupidly fast and dangerously slow. It took me close to 2.75 hours to get there. Of course the bridge is all stop-and-go. Which means my right foot is in constant use. Ouch. The reality is that by the time I got to HQ, I was exhausted and in pain. Security has been VERY kind to me and let me park in the VIP lot, close to the door, but that is still a walk. I was smarter this time and brought an ice pack with me. I’d left it in the trunk of my car in the hope it would still be mostly frozen by the time I could use it. 🙂 Thinking ahead this time.

I know that healing takes energy. I’ve told many others that in their time. Somehow I have difficulty internalizing that for myself. It seems unbelievable that merely driving my car should be so tiring. Once I’m at the office, it’s non-stop meetings, talk, work. That doesn’t seem as if it should be tiring, either. But it is. Moving my body with my foot still not 100% takes more energy and effort than seems correct. The upside is that I sooooooo enjoy seeing my coworkers, working on our projects face to face, and laughing and joking together. I do gain nourishment and strength from that. Good thing, because last night was the holiday dinner. Again – lovely, fun, and kept me moving and functioning. I even managed the drive home without too much difficulty because it was late, the roads were dry and there was not much traffic. Thank goodness for cruise control!!!!

People are so good at deluding themselves. It’s been over 9 weeks now. Yet I still wake up each day expecting to have ALL my usual energy and strength. “Usual” for about a year ago. Certainly NOT the “usual” for the last several months. But I still think I’m going to wake up, walk, move, and go full out for hours on end without a problem. Knowing something logically is not the same as knowing something in your functioning reality. Like most people I suppose, I’m very quick to assure others that it’s reasonable and right that they not be back at “full power” and they should relax and take care of themselves. But for myself, well, *shake my head in disagreement”, “don’t be silly”, NO REASON why I shouldn’t be able to do it all.

So here I sit, recovering. I’m sooooo much better than I was: stronger, my foot more flexible, in less pain. Better is NOT the same as recovered, however, no matter how much I want to pretend that it is. Ahuva – meet reality. Reality – please try not to bash her over the head too much. 🙂

Healthy

I had a friend who I loved. Being with him was like a dose of electricity. My adrenaline soared just seeing his name. He was so edgy. Smart, daring, perverse, dark, haunted, haunting, rude, crude. He challenged my assumptions, my beliefs. I learned things about myself I might never have learned without him. I drove myself harder than I’d have ever believed in order to consider myself worthy of his attention and conversation. Of course he wasn’t perfect. I knew that, that wasn’t the allure. It was the thrill of the challenges, the push to the edge, the dare, the uncertainty, the variability, the unpredictability. Sometimes it felt there was insufficient air to breathe.

Then they told him he was ill. He agreed and did what they said. I’ve talked to him since. He seems happy. He’s a nice man. Gray, flat, nice. The treatment worked. He’s heeled.


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