October 19th, 2001


Fear and Loathing in My Renal System

Fair warning: there are some nasty details ahead.

So, yesterday I had my lithotripsy.

It got off to a bad start--we were supposed to be at the hospital at 6, but we set the alarm wrong and woke up at 6:15. (Or perhaps the bad start was earlier, when Lori got an hour and a half of sleep that night because of her schoolwork. Poor Lori!) We got to the hospital about 6:50, and that turned out to be an adequate amount of time.

The pre-op was basically fine; I saw many of the nurses and techs I'd seen two weeks before when the lithotripsy didn't actually happen.

I can't say anything about the lithotripsy itself; the anesthesia worked so that I don't remember a thing. (Apparently I was conscious, but memory was inhibited). I came to in post-op.

The nurse was unable to reach Lori to take me home. We tried the backup plan of calling Mike at Queria and at home, but we were unable to reach him. So I dropped back to plan C, which was complicated by the fact that we'd only made plans A and B.

Plan C was to call Dani and ask him to pick me up and stay with me for a while. I wish I'd told Dani about this possibility before. Dani was very obliging, though, and picked me up without forewarning.

Dani stayed with me for most of the afternoon. I would have liked just to take a nap, but I felt that that would be a poor way to treat Dani. So we played Cosmic Wimpout, since it was simple enough for me to wrap my head around. I lost the first game with a Supernova, which I had never rolled before.

I was feeling a bit better, then, so we tried a D&D tactical exercise. In this exercise, a well-trained pack of kobolds managed to devastate the whole 2nd-level party. Yow.

At around 3:30, Lori came home at last. She went out to fill my three prescriptions (Percocet for pain, another one for bladder spasms, Cipro in case of infection). I felt I should eat something, since I hadn't eaten all day, and took two Percocet with a bowl of soup.

Just as I finished the soup, I felt myself about to throw up. I barely made it to the bathroom in time. I almost made it to the toilet in time.

Which led to the question: is it safe to take another Percocet after I had thrown up those two? We ended up calling the doctor, who said it would be safe to take another one.

The prescription said to take one or two Percocet every three or four hours. I ended up taking one Percocet every hour and a half or so after that first post-vomiting one. I spent most of that time curled up on the bed in an attempt to find a cofortable position, and napping fitfully. In between times, I would get up and urinate very painfully, with lots of blood. And, of course, I would try to drink as much water as I could get down, in order to flush all the bits out of the system.

I threw up twice more that evening, basically from the pain. After the first time, I took one of the anti-nausea suppositories I had from a previous kidney stone. It didn't help enough to keep me from throwing up again.

The fundamental problem in all this was that each Percocet was giving me about an hour of relief from excruciating pain, but I was taking them every hour and a half. So there were half-hours there of extreme do-nothing-but-curl-up-in-a-whimpering ball pain. Pain in my kidney, pain in my ureter, pain in my penis--horrible pain everywhere.

After the third time I threw up (about 11pm), we called the doctor and asked if it would be okay for me to go to the hospital. He said yes; Lori got me dressed and took me to the Shadyside Hospital emergency room. There, they gave me some IV fluids and painkillers that let me sleep for a few hours. (Poor Lori missed sleep again, and only had a chair to try to nap on.)

Around 3:30am they released me, with admonitions not to go to work on Friday. Which was just fine with me, even though it means missing two days of work that I can't easily afford to miss. We came home and slept hard for as long as possible, which wasn't nearly enough.

If what I've mentioned above wasn't oversharing, the following details definitely are:
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