Posts Tagged ‘kidney stones’

Adventures In Kidney Stones: Sequels Are Never As Good As The Original

Friday, June 13th, 2014

On Wednesday, I wrote a hundred words of a boring, nothing-to-see-here baby update before I lay down on the couch with a pillow over my head and screamed swear words into it until I worked up the energy to go to the Emergency Room.

Pregnancy is fun.

Let’s start this extremely long and health-detail related story at the beginning! At my regular check-up on Tuesday, I mentioned to the OB I didn’t feel great. Nothing was HORRIBLE but I just didn’t feel well. I said I had a vague pain in my left kidney and with my history of stones it made me a little worried. She offered to send me up for an ultrasound, but I said I’d rather just do a test for an infection and see if it got any worse. I spent the rest of Tuesday doing nothing and went to bed early with a headache, but no other symptoms and no more pain.

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling totally fine. I made breakfast! I cleaned (a little)! I bought end-of-the-year teacher gifts for Caroline’s teachers! After school I got both kids to the dentist (where I lied straight to the hygienist’s face and told her I would try to only let Caroline snack once a day) and then we went to swim lessons. Right after I got both kids into their suits and turned them over to their instructor my left side started to hurt. It felt like I was being stabbed. Sitting comfortably in the pool chairs is hard when you’re pregnant, but sitting comfortably in a pool chair while you’re pregnant and being stabbed in the back is impossible.

I got up and paced. I sat down. I leaned forward. I leaned back. Half way through class Evan needed the potty, so I took him upstairs where I leaned against the wall and moaned. Being in pain discretely is hard – I didn’t want anyone to think I was in labor (I knew I was definitely not in labor) – but I managed to have several conversations where no one freaked out and asked if I was OK, so I think I pulled it off. “Why yes, we have greatly enjoyed swim lessons! No, no, I didn’t just lose consciousness for a second, I’m definitely paying attention to you!”

Because I had promised the kids Panera to celebrate the dentist AND the last day of swimming, we went to Panera. I’m guessing I ordered lunch and paid for it, since the cops didn’t show up at the house and the children look well-fed, but I don’t remember any of that either. We made it home. I ate a turkey sandwich but immediately threw it back up, which was when I realized I should probably call the OB.

The OB’s office suggested I just go to the ER to be evaluated, since they had an ultrasound machine and good drugs and could give them to me a lot faster than if I was admitted straight to L&D. I messaged a friend who said she could come over and watch the kids so I didn’t have to take them (THANK GOD) and made it to the hospital, which is luckily less than a mile away. The lady at the check-in desk took one look at me and paged four different people to come help. I got a bed and some water and a nice male nurse who I couldn’t pick out of a line up right now if my life depended on it because SERIOUSLY it hurt SO BAD I don’t remember anything.

I was expecting I’d have to live through a lot of poking and tests before they were willing to give me anything for the pain, but as soon as the ER doctor saw me he said I was crazy for not asking right away. I’ve seen enough medical dramas to know asking for morphine is a good way to get labeled a drug-seeker (Because TV is TOTALLY the same as real life!) and I didn’t want anyone to threaten to call CPS on me (I am not entirely rational when I’m in pain) so I resisted for about 20 seconds. Then it hurt so bad I threw up again and begged for drugs.

10 minutes after the first dose the nurse said “It’s amazing how fast Dilaudid works, isn’t it?” and I said “Are you $%&*ing kidding me?” It took three doses before I felt any better.  It also made me feel totally drunk and loopy and dizzy. I’m extremely surprised I never fell over. I did get rolled down to ultrasound where the tech said she could see stones in my kidneys (both of them, because why half-ass kidney stones?!) but couldn’t see a blockage where I was complaining about the pain. Surprisingly, never once did anyone say “I guess that means you’re OK! Go home!” They ran some more tests that said I had the beginnings of an infection and there was blood in my urine, so in addition to the narcotics I got pumped full of fluids and antibiotics.

At some point I messaged another friend (I didn’t have cell service in the ER but they do have free wifi!) who got a hold of my husband at work and told him I was in the ER. He showed up after the ultrasound but before they admitted me. It turns out extreme kidney pain, probably stones and elevated blood pressure (due ENTIRELY to the pain) at 35 weeks pregnant automatically gets you admitted.

I don’t remember the timeline for any of the rest of the night very well. I do know I couldn’t keep any water down so they gave me zofran (useless) then something for nausea through the IV. It took two more doses of Dilaudid and some heartburn medication but I finally, FINALLY, passed out at 2 am.

I spent all of Thursday lying in bed feeling better and waiting for the urologist to come check me before I lost patience and asked to go home. My nice OB agreed, since if I was feeling well enough to give up the IV drugs I was obviously OK. My kidneys on both sides still hurt a little, but not enough to waste a Percocet. The current plan is to wait out the pregnancy and see if the rest of the stones pass/clear on their own (we’re assuming the one that was stuck last night did)(they’re also assuming I had one, even if it didn’t show on the u/s)(because my doctors are nice and my history supports that theory). If I have more pain or any signs of an infection I have to go back in.

The whole thing is just a terrifying deja vu of what happened with Caroline, except I had NO IDEA what was causing my pain last time and it took almost a full DAY before anyone believed me enough to give me something. I’m going to be careful about drinking more (and then more and more and more) water and avoiding things that make my heartburn so bad I break down and take a Tums. I would also say I’m going to take it easy but there’s just no way. Maybe I’ll put off painting the nursery but I’ve been “putting off” literally every household chore for so long now I have to catch up.

I also missed Caroline’s last day of preschool yesterday. They didn’t do a graduation or a show or anything, so all I REALLY missed was dropping her off and picking her up one last time (and giving her teachers their gifts, which E assures me made it to school but were unfinished so weren’t quite Pinterest-worthy). But I didn’t get to take her last-day picture on her actual last day and I didn’t get to thank the school headmistress for taking care of my baby for the past 2 years. I’ve got 16 more last days before she leaves for college (OMG ONLY 16 MORE LAST DAYS) and hopefully I won’t be in the hospital for any of those.

Today is Evan’s kindergarten orientation where we both get to see his new school for the first time. It’s very Time Marches On, since Time obviously doesn’t care that I’m not READY for kindergarten yet and could he please just take an extended summer vacation for a few months so I can have this baby and recover and THEN I can think about sending my first baby to full time big-kid school. I CANNOT think about kidney stones anymore though, so I fingers crossed I don’t have to.

More, More, More

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Starting a post with a disclaimer always feels sort of cheap and pointless, because if I’m able to sum up everything I’m about to say with “I don’t really MEAN it” then why write the post at all? And why would you bother to read? But blogging is the equivalent of spending 45 minutes picking lint out of your belly button so I’m going to do all the navel gazing I want and you can just come back tomorrow for some pictures of my TWO YEAR OLD.

Here’s the disclaimer: I’m not pregnant and don’t plan to be any time in 2011. My uterus is taking the year off.

Here’s the introspection:

I was approximately a week pregnant at Little Evan’s first birthday party. We had decided to start trying for baby #2 once baby #1 was 12 months old. We picked that date totally arbitrarily – it SOUNDED like a reasonable age gap – but I was really really not ready just then. Evan was not an easy baby. But because – TMI ALERT – I never got my period back we weren’t really trying trying but weren’t not trying and then bam! Knocked up. No time to think about how Little Evan was still nursing 6 times a day, still wasn’t eating any solid food, didn’t drink milk from a cup, didn’t sleep through the night, and didn’t listen to a thing I said.

Three months later he had totally weaned, drank whole milk like it was going out of style and slept 12 hours straight at night. He still doesn’t listen but if I waited until that happened before getting pregnant he’d be an only child. So besides the time during those first 3 months when I lay on the floor wishing I could go back to being totally childless (nothing like getting up at night with a toddler screaming for milk when all you want to do is hug the toilet) having babies 20 months apart seemed like a totally reasonable choice, even though the first baby was a, uh, challenging infant.

At my first prenatal appointment with Caroline, the doctor looked at my chart and said “Have you considered what kind of birth control you’ll use after you have the baby?” And I said “Can you put in an IUD while I’m still in the hospital? I think 2 babies in 2 years is enough.”

Three months later, I’m a little sorry I got that IUD. I mean, NO. GOD NO, being pregnant again so soon would be AWFUL. The last two months of pregnancy kicked my ass so hard I need at least a year to recover. The kidney stones, the time in the hospital, the pre-eclampsia…Ugh. I’m exhausted just thinking about how exhausted I was. But in some sort of cosmic apology for all that, Caroline is still a super easy baby. She’s happy and smiley and a great nurser and a good sleeper and I’m not struggling at all the way I was when Little Evan was this age.

I guess what I’m thinking is, if I was ready for baby #2 after a year with a really difficult baby #1, how long can I possibly want to wait before having baby #3? But if baby #3 is going to be my last baby do I really want to be done having babies so soon? On the one hand, finishing up all the newborn stuff now sounds really appealing. No more diapers! A wardrobe that doesn’t involve boob-accessibility!  A child-free bedroom! On the other hand, I know my baby fever will be COMPLETELY out of control in a few years when my friends are getting pregnant and I don’t want to end up fighting with E over whether or not 4 is too many kids for us. We have not yet decided with ANY certainty how many children we’re going to have, and I know even if we did pick a number now it’s not like someone etches it in stone somewhere and I couldn’t possibly change my mind 5 years from now. But it sort of feels like I’m using up my baby allowance rather quickly. I never did learn how to save my babies. Er, pennies. No wait, babies. I think I killed that metaphor.

Now here’s the part where you unload your thoughts on child spacing and family size. You know you want to.


Friday, March 11th, 2011

I’m MIA today because I spent the whole morning finishing knitting this thing together:

It’s not very stylish but it’s such a happy color and was so easy to make I think I love it.

Plus I wrote a post for my dear friend Hannah over on her blog, Peggy Ann Design. It’s about organizing my cookbook shelf. I know, really riveting stuff. Check her out!

Then this afternoon I’ve got my pre-op appointment with the urologist so HOPEFULLY this whole kidney thing will be over for good in the very near future.

And if I get my way we’ll finish the day with a trip to Ikea for dinner. Such a nice Friday!

See you tomorrow for my iPhone wrap up!


Like Falling Off a Bicycle

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

I can honestly say that I was TOTALLY UNPREPARED for life with a newborn – mostly because apparently my first child wasn’t a human baby at all but some sort of puking, crying, fussing, alien monster who refused to nurse, stressed us out like crazy with jaundice, and generally made life miserable for at least his first four months of life. Looking back now, E and I are both going “Wow, we REALLY should have complained more to the doctor about that puking thing because obviously we were clueless about normal human babies”.

(Although honestly, we mentioned it ALL THE TIME and all we got was “Meh, some babies throw up a lot“, even from my lactation consultant. Clearly it wasn’t normal but since he was gaining weight no one cared how miserable it made everything in regards to our home life. If I hadn’t spent so much time doing frickin’ laundry the first time around maybe I would have gotten more sleep and not been quite so…well, horrible to everyone. Especially E. It was really sucky y’all.)

THIS baby is an angel. I would take a dozen of these babies. She spends all her time sleeping, only waking herself up with hilariously loud poops to get a new diaper, nurse for a while and then cuddle with anyone who holds her. She falls asleep again without any complicated shushing/swaddling/burping/dancing/begging/crying rituals in her swing or the (broken so it doesn’t actually bounce) bouncy seat or the co-sleeper or lying on the floor. She only requires one outfit a day and 90% of the laundry is a result of my overactive milk ducts and their ability to soak through anything in .43 seconds and not projectile baby puke.  When the baby nurse came to visit last week Caroline had already gained back all but 4 oz of her birth weight and I’m going to go ahead an predict by her 2 week checkup she’s already closer to 10 lbs than 8.

In further attempts to be absolutely nothing like her brother, Caroline has perhaps the world’s strongest latch and no doubts about using it to suck on pretty much anything (I’m hoping this is a good omen when it comes time to introduce a bottle). I’ve had to drag out my old nipple shield to deal with the tenderness and bruising – nothing serious or horrifying, but when she cluster feeds for two hours straight the pinching gets to toe-curling levels of painful. It’s not anyone’s fault – I don’t need a link to “how-to-get-a-better-latch” videos or whatever – just a result of her mouth being small and my engorgement being massive and a few lazy nursing sessions that did a little damage. Fortunately, my body remembered it WASN’T feeding a whole litter of babies this time around and I’m already back to normal nursing sized boobs instead of GIANT PORN STAR WHO STAPLED THESE BASKETBALLS TO MY CHEST??? sized boobs.

ALSO: I have a tip for sore nipples that doesn’t involve buying those super expensive gel pads I loved so much last time. Tea bags. Seriously. The baby nurse suggested it (she’s also an LC) and it’s amazing. Just steep two tea bags in hot water, let them cool off and stick them on your nipples. The tannic acid in the tea combined with the coolness helps soothe the bruising and pinching. The internet backs me up on this with science but my nipples back me up even more with “OMG THANK YOU”.

MORE ALSO: In the debate between “No, breastfeeding should NEVER hurt” and “A little nipple soreness can be normal while you’re adjusting” I am officially in the later camp. I know the difference between a good latch and a bad latch and even when we have it PERFECT I get a little sore after 30+ minutes of constant nursing. It’s definitely improving though, and I bet in 2 weeks I don’t even remember what I was complaining about.

As for the rest of my I-just-had-a-baby recovery, I can barely tell I just had a baby. I hesitate to say that I am AWESOME at giving birth (because someone awesome at giving birth could probably do it naturally in a wheat field at sunset instead of with an epidural) but my BODY is certainly prepared for labor and delivery pushing out an 8+ lbs baby, even if my brain is not prepared for that kind of pain. Like I said in my birth story, even my above average baby didn’t do any damage. She did so LITTLE damage in fact that I don’t even pee my pants when I sneeze anymore, something I was doing at 9 months pregnant. I KNOW. IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE. The worst part of my recovery was actually the stupid Tdap booster they gave me in the hospital that made my left arm practically useless for two full days and the rhogam shot I got in my left hip that hurt almost as much. That soreness combined with my milk coming in made me want to just hide under the covers and not let anyone touch me ever again – especially a toddler who thinks “jump on mommy” is the best game ever.

Oh but THEN I got another kidney infection, less than 24 hours after being discharged. I spiked a fever in the evening and another in the middle of the night but held off on calling the doctor until office hours and then talked them into letting me do outpatient lab work to confirm (although REALLY? I know what a kidney infection feels like by now. Swearies) and calling in antibiotics to my pharmacy rather than possibly readmitting me. I did NOT want to go back to the hospital, especially with a newborn nursling. I feel infinitely better after almost a week of antibiotics. But this probably means I should reschedule my March kidney stone removal appointment to some time sooner or the infections might keep happening and that doesn’t seem fun.

And now that I’ve told you how well everything is going, don’t be surprised when I take it ALL BACK next week. It’s the first law of blogging and I just broke it. I hope you’re happy internet.

Just be glad I only said “stool softener” once

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Besides Little Evan’s birth, I think the longest I’ve ever been in the hospital was the (fortunately unnecessary) trip to the ER at Children’s in Hartford for the OMG-my-baby-is-throwing-up-blood incident. Which doesn’t even really count since I was just IN the hospital, not In The Hospital. I can’t remember ever actually being In The Hospital for anything in my life, other than really fuzzy early childhood memories of a finger being slammed in a glass sliding door and the cool x-ray room where they showed me the bones on one of those light-box things. I was very very impressed.

After the last two weeks, I am like a hospital PRO. I could write a book about what to do to make your stay more comfortable and what you should and should not ring your nurse for and the exact way to get your IV stand as close to the bathroom door as possible so you can pee but still have enough tubing to reach the sink too. I wonder if there’s a market for such a book? Although hospitals vary drastically (like the horrible torturous place poor Mae’s husband was admitted that didn’t allow any meat or caffeine) so a guide to MY local hospital may be totally useless at yours, especially if you don’t happen to be in the Labor & Delivery wing.

If only there was someplace I could publish my probably unhelpful to everyone but my immediate neighbors advice in a public forum!


So here they are, are my 5 Tips For A Comfortable(ish) Hospital Stay

1. Bring pillows and underwear. Lot of both things. After my first stay I thought “Oh man, when I come back to have this baby I am bringing SO MANY pillows” and then BAM! less than a week later I’m back and totally pillowless. Of course, perhaps the delirium and inability to make wise choices could be blamed on the spiking fever and severe infection, but who knows. As for the underwear, all I can say is when you’re stuck in a hospital gown for a week at least ONE part of your body can be wearing something dry, comfortable, and clean. As long as you don’t forget to bring any.*

2. Bribe your nurses. My dear friend Amy suggested if I was knitting to keep myself busy I might want to make a couple coffee coozies (new question: what exactly IS the correct spelling of “coozie”?) for the nurses because they loved that sort of thing (she used to work in a hospital and is very wise). I whipped one up on my first day for a nurse who was being extra nice and wouldn’t you know, she came back every day she was on – even when I wasn’t her patient – to make sure I had everything I needed. I had planned to make a bunch more but sitting up and staying conscious was too much work. I’m starting on a supply to hand out at Baby Sandy’s birth now, so I don’t miss anyone. You can also use baked goods (the cookies my mom sent in were gone in seconds). Even cheaper? Learn and use their names. My nurses loved when I remembered their names.

3. Don’t be afraid to make yourself more comfortable. Need another blanket? They’re probably in the room somewhere – in our L&D it’s the drawers under the TV. Please, take one. My IV kept almost falling out because breaking a 102 fever three times a day = horrible sweaty mess that no tape on the planet will stick to. So instead of ringing for a nurse every time it came loose I just used a roll of the IV tape I found in the drawer to stick it back on. Is your gown soaking wet because you’re incapable of drinking correctly out of a cup without a straw? Those are in a drawer somewhere too. Is your room too cold? Try adjusting the thermostat. None of these things will hurt you. Personally, it also made me feel a teeny tiny bit more in control in a situation I had no actual control over whatsoever.

4. And don’t be afraid to ask anyone else to make you more comfortable either. When the nurse says “Is there anything I can get you?” say “Yes, I’d like another pillow and maybe an Italian Ice and when am I due for my next round of pain pills?” They are supposed to help you, 24 hours a day. That tech that comes in and wakes you up at 3 am to check your blood pressure? Is just as capable of getting you more ice water. Tell your day nurse you want new sheets while you take a shower. And don’t forget you’re in a hospital (as if you could), which probably means the pharmacy is open all night in case you need something for nausea. Or heartburn. Or a, ahem, stool softener. Your nurse would be happy to bring you those things! Even in the middle of the night! Because they are being paid to do that!

5. Hospital menus are just suggestions. Really, do they think sick people want things like “roasted pork loin with gravy and Caribbean vegetable medley” that is really just “hunk of meat and diced carrots covered in gray stuff”? And why is the thing they call “cobbler” so much like gel toothpaste in a flavor called “orchard fruit”? So when they bring you a menu and ask you to circle those choices, DON’T ACCEPT THEM. REJECT THE ESTABLISHMENT! DAMN THE MAN! Eating something is important (says the woman who spent three days medicated for a headache that turned out to be mostly hunger) and no one really thinks that pork loin is anything even close to healthy so when they give you that menu and a pen, write a great big X right over everything and write “cheeseburger” “bagel with cream cheese” “pizza”  “jello” “noodles with butter” or whatever the hell else it is that you might be able to stomach. It was so nice to take the lid off a dish and NOT see another gross lump of meat and wilted veggies that even greasy, underwarmed pizza looked DELICIOUS.

That is certainly not a complete list of advice. And I’m sure I’m missing the one! super! important! thing! you know about staying in the hospital. So feel free to add to it, especially because I am going BACK to the same terrible horrible no good very bad labor, delivery and recovery beds (THE MOST uncomfortable beds on the planet) to actually, finally, no kidding have a baby.

*Other stuff to bring: toothpaste/toothbrush, shampoo, lip gloss, slippers/socks, cell phone charger/cell phone, something to read/craft/knit, hair elastics, comfortable bra(s), body lotion.