I’ve missed almost two whole weeks of regular posting, but I have an excuse! Honest! There is a reason. The sun was in my eyes. There was an earthquake. The cave caved in. You gotta believe me!
Okay. It was none of those things. But, in addition to my dysthymia, i started having kidney stone issues early last week and have been rushing around taking care of them.
- MONDAY 7 MARCH: I had a burning sensation in my lower abdomen, which, eventually, I recognized as one of the few sensations I get with kidney stones. I took an Advil — you know, we can’t just say aspirin any more and that bugs me; it’s not fair, dammit — and it went away.
- TUESDAY 8 MARCH: It was back. I took another Advil and went into the medical clinic I use even though my regular doctor left the employ of the clinic. It was a public holiday — who knew? — so they could only do an x-ray and not an ultrasound. The x-ray showed that I had four stones, two in each kidney and maybe one in my left ureter. I booked an ultrasound for Wednesday and notified work that I would be out.
- WEDNESDAY 9 MARCH: The ultrasound confirmed that I had four HUGE stones in my kidneys. All of them were greater than 9 mm. It also found TWO lodged in my left kidney. And, that my kidney was showing signs of having urine backed up into it. I booked an appointment with a urologist at the premier hospital in Phnom Penh, and I notified the school that I would be missing ANOTHER day after our five day spring break. Luckily, most of our faculty was returning who had been out with #COVID19.
- THURSDAY 10 MARCH: The urologist ordered a CAT scan. The CAT scan found FIVE stones, three right and two left. The largest was 20 mm. The others were between 9 and 15 mm. It identified one stone in the ureter that he recommended removing via surgery, which he scheduled for THAT day. However, insurance couldn’t confirm that they would cover the bill, so they wanted me to plunk down $9,000.00 (US) to pay for it and apply for reimbursement. Cooler heads prevailed as in I ain’t got no nine thousand stinking dollars. So, we waited for the insurance company to pre-approve the surgery and left it at that.
- MONDAY 14 MARCH: I write to the insurance rep asking if the hospital has approached them about the pre-approval — they hadn’t. He writes to the hospital asking if he can help. By the late afternoon, I get a call from the hospital scheduling the surgery for Friday 18 March at 3:00 PM. I notify the school that I’ll be out ANOTHER day.
- FRIDAY 18 MARCH: I check-in to the hospital at 7:00 AM, do my fasting blood draw, get my IV port put in, get the chest x-ray taken, give a urine sample, and have an EKG taken. All before 8:00 AM, which is good because I can eat and get a cup of coffee before the 9:00 AM cut off time for eating and drinking pre-surgery. Right now I’m in my palatial hospital suite waiting for the appointed hour to arrive.
Now for the gory details:
- WRONG HAND: They put the IV port in my right hand — my dominate hand! They didn’t even ask! Now I keep twinging on the gottam needle! Just an annoyance. Who does that?
- I HAD TO ASK: I had to ask if I could eat, and the nurse didn’t know! She had to ask the doctor. I had to ask if I could drink water, and the nurse didn’t know! She had to ask the doctor. Then, she said no, but the doctor would give me IV fluids. Luckily, the anesthesiologist said yes I could drink water.
- I FAILED my urine test! Really, I did! I had to do it twice. A nurse came to me and said I had to clean my penis. She gave me some cotton balls soaked in antiseptics and some others soaked in distilled water for the purpose. I’m too fucking filthy for the urine test!?! What? I even caught it mid-stream even though they didn’t tell me I needed to! Man, should I feel insulted? It’s weird.
- TURNED UP TO ELEVEN! Four hours after my arrival at the hospital, I met with a doctor who didn’t really do anything. He asked me questions I’d already answered: yes, I’m hypertensive; yes, I’m on medication; these are the meds; yes, I took them this morning; yes, I’ve had surgery before, two years ago I had my herniated umbilicus repaired, a cyst on my right kidney drained, and this same procedure done. I would answer these questions two more times. Whatever. I thought that’s what medical records were for. Then, I met with the anesthesiologist who informed me that we’d be doing a spinal block! The idea of a great big needle plunging into my spine really freaks me out. I’ve seen spinal taps on the TV. Why can’t they just do the full anesthesia?!? But, I couldn’t be no stinking cry baby and beg her for the anesthesia like a common trypanophobe, could I? I smiled and said that it would be fine.
Now, wait a minute! What about all those other days when your kidney stones weren’t bothering you? Why didn’t you post then? Hunh? Smart boy? What was up with that?
I guess I gotta say that right after starting the Lexapro, I felt loads better. I figured it was a placebo effect. Then, the dysthymia and dry mouth started up. Seriously, over the weekend, I didn’t feel like doing anything, so I didn’t. Then, I started feeling better about mid-week, so I took care of some school tasks that I had been procrastinating on. Now, I’m here… posting.
Well, folks, that’s my story. That’s been my two weeks. I’ll be in surgery in about two hours. I’m scheduled to be here for two days. I figure I’ll be able to post something tomorrow. And get back to our regularly scheduled programming after that.
Let me know how you’ve been in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!