Monday, January 24, 2011

When Is a Staghorn Not a Stag Horn ...

So here's my story ...

It was 1:30 a.m. on December 31st and I woke up with a horrible stabbing pain on my right side. Now I've had kidney stones before so my first instinct was to think, "Damn, it's a kidney stone ..." So I took a pain pill and laid on the couch waiting for the pill to kick in and the pain to pass.

Five minutes later I was violently sick and ... you guessed it ... there went the pain pill. But at that point, it hits me ... what if this isn't a kidney stone? It's on the right side ... where the appendix is. What if me throwing up is a sign from God that it's my appendix and if I just lay here it's going to rupture and I'm going to die!

Yes, before you ask, at that point I went from low-grade paranoia to full on panic and I woke everyone in the house and told them I needed to go to the ER right this very minute.

Our daughter faithfully, and without complaint, got up and drove me to the ER ... only to find out that yes, it was a kidney stone. [sigh] So now I'm in horrible pain and I feel stupid. That's a fantastic combination, just in case you're wondering.

The CT scan shows several small stones on the right side ... including one in the urethra ... and a large "staghorn" on the left side.

Do you know what a "staghorn" is? Yeah, neither did I. It's a large kidney stone shaped like ... wait for it ... a stag horn. They're apparently dangerous as they grow quickly, will never be passed due to their size and shape, and can cause blockage which can eventually lead to sepsis. The ones on the right are 3-4 mm ... very small ... but that left one is 3.5 cm ... a problem.

The worse problem? The one on the right is what's causing the intense pain ... that big one is just floating around quietly growing. And so, after a serious of strange and unfortunate events, I've come to having lithotrispy planned for January 28th. Just the right ones for now ... that big one on the left will be later and he will take two to three treatments to break up to a passable size.

I am not happy about any of this. I obviously don't like pain ... but just as much I don't like general anesthesia and apparently this is required for lithotripsy these days. Two doctors have now assured me that it's essential that you not move at all during the process and so most doctors now require full anesthesia so there's no dangers of them zapping the wrong spot.

No amount of prodding, pleading, or begging could get them to change their mind. I even offered to have an epidural ... as if I'm giving birth to these damned stones ... but no. If you aren't unconscious, it's your body's natural response to flinch at the sound and feel of the shock ... so there's no discussion. It's anesthesia ... or on-going pain, possible blockage, and eventually possible loss of the entire kidney. [sigh]

It's always something ...

I step up to the table in the middle of my life
And I take my cards and I check them twice
I've got a killer hand and I'm ready to stake my claim
The cops raid the game
It's Always Something
It's Always Something
It's Always Something
It's Always Something

Rick Springfield - It's Always Something