Saturday, February 16, 2008

to pee or not to pee

i've had three kidney stone attacks - one a few days before my 28th birthday, when our son was a month old or so; it was at lunch and i couldn't stop peeing but i couldn't pee, and my back started hurting horribly. a woman at the lunch meeting said, "You need to drive to the hospital right now. You're having a kidney stone attack. Soon you won't be able to see straight." turns out, her ex-husband had kidney stone problems; she knew what he'd gone through.
i had my next one when i was 39; it hit one midday and i was SO bummed out because they say if you've had one kidney stone, you're likely to have more; your body just makes them.
the drs had suggested that i give up drinking tea, because of some acidic somethingorother. so, i did - anything to not have kidney stone attacks ever again. so, 11 years go by, and i have another attack. a day or so later when i go see my
dr, i ask about the tea, and he says, "No, no - tea doesn't have anything to do with it. It's calcium; your body just makes kidney stones." so, that sucked! a. because i was going to make kidney stones, and b. because i'd laid off tea (my favorite) for eleven years, for nothing!
and then i had one two and a half years ago, when i was 44. it was the day before david gentiles' first sunday as a part of journey ifc. poor man! welcome, glad you're on staff - hey, guess what! you've got overnight to prepare a talk for tomorrow to a bunch of strangers! ... that's baptism by fire. i would've worried more about him at the time if i hadn't been at the hospital doped out.
i went to the urologist after that attack and he said to drink enough every day to produce howevermuch urine. he said it doesn't even matter what it is - water, tea, gatorade, juice, etc. (i think that's wrong; i'm sticking with water; but anyway.)
so, now, when i'm having a kidney stone attack, i know what it feels like. all the other times, i've gone to the hospital to get pain medicine and for them to take x-rays or cat scans or whatever to see where the stone is, if it's passing from the kidney to the bladder or it's stuck, and then sent home either a. when the stone has passed, or b. when they're satisfied it's going to pass. and you get to pee into a funnel with a strainer, and catch the stone, and take it to the dr, who gives it to the lab, to be analyzed to see what your kidney is producing.
the "pass" part means it's traveled from my kidney down the ureter to the bladder. the ureter is this small tube lined on the inside with these little nerve ending thingies that move the urine from the kidney to the bladder. if a stone has formed in the kidney (it can look ragged like a grass burr, and it's made of hard chemicals, hence the term "stone"), when it heads down with urine into the tube, it rips against the little nerve ending thingies and that's where the pain comes from. it's across your back and into the middle of your body. it's awful. lots of screaming. panic in the streets. meanwhile, your urine is being backed up by this blockage, and so it's difficult to pee. and it hurts. like you've held it too long - but you don't get relief when you go.

so, this past monday, i notice my urine is reddish. "i need to drink more water," i thought to myself - even though, in the last 2 years, i drink water straight out of the tap all the time. all day. that helps keep the kidneys flushing, as it were. the blood was there all evening monday, and then tuesday. so i called my dr, and went in for an appt thurs a.m. by that time my urine was back to good old light yellow. but i gave 'em a urine sample at the dr and sure enough there were traces of blood in my urine. SO ... by then it was getting increasingly difficult to urinate. and then the back pain started, yesterday. i called, got a prescription for pain meds, went to the clinic for a c.t. scan, and headed home. stayed home. took pain meds. didn't want to go to the hospital and pay all that out-of-pocket expense, just to come home and pee into a strainer til the stone came out.
(btw, it's not the peeing the stone part that hurts, at least not with the small stones that i've always gotten; it's the traveling from the kidney to the bladder that HURTS!!! once it's in the bladder, there's room. unless you get bigger stones, in which case, they get stuck stuck, and then other measures have to be taken.)

so, i'm home, missing my daughter-and-her-drill-team-hosting-a-big-dance-competition-at-the-high-school, and-i-was-scheduled-to-help.
i have a wedding i'm doing at 3 today.
i have journey gathering stuff tomorrow. my favorite. i hate hate hate to miss being with these people.
and, dear dear friends who now live in maine (bastards!) are here for the day tomorrow.
the pain seems to have backed off some, but i haven't seen a stone in my urine, and it's still difficult to pee. that's bad; that means the stone or stones are still in there ... waiting ... to hurt me ...

so, pray that the stone moves right along, and that i'm okay. if it's a bladder infection, that's different, and the dr will figure that out too i suppose. but i got my c.t. done yesterday afternoon, so i don't know if my dr will even get to see it til monday.
ALSO, i'm finding lots of resources re prevention and treatments on the web and other places that i'm going to use from now on. screw this!

10 comments:

lisa carlton said...

Sending big prayers your way. I went through kidney stone hell in my 20's. It's worse than childbirth! May the stone pass quickly...love to you, Lisa C.

journeyingrick said...

thank you sweetie!!! i think i'm going to make it.
if i don't show tomorrow a.m., you'll know why ...

Anonymous said...

Rick:
My prayers go out to you too! I wrote down a prayer for you and your health and put it underneath my prayer candle (old school tradition but it seems to produce miracles)...
May love & blessings surround you...

LJD

Raging Bear said...

Good lord, I hope it's a urinary infection...cuz that stone thingy sounds REALLY painful. I used to get urinary infections often...my doctor suggested I pee after having sex. All I remember is Laura hitting me with the lamp and screaming "I DON'T GO FOR THAT GOLDEN SHOWER SHIT!" The doctor was right...no more uirinary infections.

Love YOU!

journeyingrick said...

is it me, rb, or does that seem completely inappropriate??????????
AAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA

Miz Melinda, Yo said...

Hahahahahahaha. I am laughing my ass off at RB.

Okay, ahem. I'm praying for you, sweet Rick. That sucks. Hope the meds are good...

M

Anonymous said...

Ow, ow, ow...perhaps you could think of it (you will hate me for this) as something prophetic, something cathartic, that has to emerge (or be "birthed") in the only way it can - through one of the most overlooked and constantly used parts of the body. One of those, "Oh, shit, now I get it!" moments that hit you when you're in your forties and have too many obligations to be stopped in your tracks, and you are, completely focused on your wait to use the bathroom...

I wish you healing and a quick resolution (and immense gratitude for the way you and Leslie and David deal with so much shit, all the time...)

love and prayers,
iskra

journeyingrick said...

yes, iskra ... tis true. this is one of those moments when all one can do is stop. and pay attention. and shut up. and pay more attention.
yes ... cathartic ... HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

KellyLawson22 said...

Thanks for all of the great illustrations and diagrams. Really. Helpful. That is, if you want us to better be able to picture how agonizing this whole thing is and have night terrors over this. My friend Kent recently had kidney stones. He peed a gravel yard. Sounds awful.

journeyingrick said...

night terrors in my beloved friends is a personal goal. i'm happy to serve.
:-)