Friday, September 4, 2009


February 2009.
Starting to feel really pukey. Mild fevers and nagging pain in lower abdomen. The doctor orders blood samples. A trained phlebotomist was required. They cannot use the subclavian catheter, that I wear continuously, because it might be infected. Plus the chemotherapy deteriorated my veins, and a regular nurse was completely unable to draw blood. When the results come back, I had another infection. The letters UTI Has been my nemesis. Rather than just start a new round of antibiotics, the doctors agree and give me a CAT Scan. Yes I know what that stands for (Computer Aided Tomography). Results, show; Stones in the kidneys. Antibiotics will not work! Stones may have been colonized by the bacteria. Recommended procedure: insert stint, large enough to pass the stones, into lower right kidney. And surgically remove the Stag-horn calcification in the left kidney. One is an outpatient procedure. And the latter is inpatient.
When I arrived at the stint appointment, I asked the physicians assistant if this procedure was painful? The reply was "all pain is relative". So I said "relative to having a sledge hammer dropped on your bare toes, where does this pain lay?" He told me that he had done approximately 90,000 of these procedures. And the vast majority only experienced slight discomfort. So I said lets get started. He came at me with a device about the size of a pool cue in diameter. He was going to slide that up my urethra and into my kidney, and place the stint. This was a new pain experience. It was isotropic (seemingly originating from all directions at once). And on a scale of 1-10, this was a 40. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. Even when I'm not jagged up on narcotics. But this was like having a little person inside my stomach, lighting matches.
I screamed. I screAMED, and I SCREAMED. I was watching the clock and at minute 13, the doctor said "Why don't you try cussing?"I was surprised. In all my life no one had ever asked to hear me swear like a drunken sailor on shore leave. So I glared at him with a puzzled look in my eyes. And he said yes, really! Try it.
If this had been a thumb strike with a hammer, or stubbed toe in the dark I was sure to have had many things to say about the hammer's or the coffee table's illegitimate ancestry. But when ever I opened my mouth to unleash a string of blue profanities. All that came out was "Oh sweet Jesus. Mercy please. Mercy and relief."
After several repeats, I bit my tongue and tried again and this time it was finally different. This time I screamed as loud and as hard as I could and said. "Dear God please take this away from me. But your will not mine. Please." I tried to cuss. I wanted to cuss. But for the first time I was at a loss for colorful language.
This pleading continued for another 35 minutes and then was done. I was exhausted. But the pain was gone and I dreamed no dreams that night. Two days later I went to the OR to have the massive calcium build up in the left side kidney removed. A few hours later, I was back in my room. Pain was on the threshold of bearable. And after a days rest I returned home again.
Four weeks later I was having pain similar to the pain that started the whole situation off a few weeks earlier. A sonogram showed kidney stone in both kidneys again. But this time they were small enough to pass on their own. But what on the sparkling pacific could cause kidney stones o form so fast? I drink at least 10 glasses of water everyday. Or 10 glasses of liquid everyday. OK a 2 litre bottle of Diet Mountain Dew every day. Doctor H recommended stopping the DEW. I agreed to cut back. And a week later I passed my first stone. The next day and upto today I don't do the DEW. I never was a coffee drinker. A serious standout for a senior enlisted man onboared ship where free coffee is available 24/7. I can't stand the taste. If it tasted like it smelled, I would have been all over it.
I have no medical facts to support the DEW; Kidney Stone connection. But I have had no new stones since quitting. I get occasional no-caffeine headaches. But that's a pretty good trade over kidney pain...
Next time:


Gotta Have Faith said...


My prayers go out to ya! I have never had any Kidney Stones or half of the pain it sounds like you are going through. I have had 6 surgeries on my knees so I am no stranger to the knife. I hope that you are able to recover easily and have less pain now that the surgeries are over.

Will the Doc let you drink coffee? I know you said you could never get used to the taste, but my wife and I love our coffee in the morning. Of course, we get flavored coffee and tag team it with Vanilla Caramel creamer and sugar! But man it tastes like it smells, phenomenal!

Take care,


KrippledWarrior said...

Thanks Steve. But add to the list of life's compound problems. I left out diabetes. No sugar. I'm sweet enough already...

Heart2Heart said...


I read Steve's comment to you and your reply. Besides the addiction to Mountain Dew which I can sympathize, leaving that out as well is helping your diabetes right??

I keep reading your posts and this one is dated February 2009 so I can only imagine just how much further all this went. You are a much stronger man than I am. Considering of course, that I am a woman!

Glad you kept your sense of humor in tact! We love you all the more for that!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Kelly Combs said...

My husband had gall stones, that's about as close as we've come to that.

I love that you couldn't cuss. God creates a new heart in us, doesn't he? Not that we can't sin, but it's not as easy as it once was.


Edie said...

Man that sounded painful. Like CK, I'm glad you couldn't cuss too. That was the first thing God changed in me. It just stopped, and I had a mouth like a sailor. :o

Hey, would you put that little guy in your sidebar so I could just copy him into the comments section please. lol! I don't ask for much do I? (jk)

Blasé said...

I suspect that when one is in THAT much pain...begging for mercy from whomever your faith lies is the first reaction rather than cussin'

Never had one, but the thought of one from the stories of others makes me near passing out...

My ADHD Me said...

You have experienced so much pain. Then I write about my pains and they seem so trivial.

Denise said...

Bless your heart, saying a prayer for you.