Thoughts

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Blog Posting…


Howdy y’all!

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!

HUZZAH!
Jack

19 replies »

    • Howdy Usfman!

      My urologist recommends that I drink three liters of water per day. That’s 250 ml every hour for twelve hours. It is worth it, though, because it keeps the irritation of my bladder manageable even if it does mean I have to pee every 15 minutes.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Like

  1. What a pain in the — well, not ass exactly, but close enough. I hope you feel better soon. Don’t push yourself to blog until you feel up to it. Recovering from surgery can sometimes make you feel more debilitated than you expect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Infidel!

      And as I am reaching retirement age, I find myself taking longer to recover from lots of things. I’m raring to go, though! Having to lie in bed waiting for the feeling to come back to my legs really did something to me. That feeling of being helpless and dependent was not pleasant. Time to get back involved in the world.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Like

  2. I was actually pretty sick last week, ten days, out for a day or two. But not that sick.

    I did not need to read that.

    I also spilled a full cup of Mayan spiced (hot!) chocolate on my brand new (four months still counts) laptop.

    Was looking for your e-mail …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Ten Bears!

      I’m sorry to hear about the laptop. I hope it recovers. Hot chocolate and laptops aren’t always the best of friends.

      Everybody needs to read that post and the next one too! We don’t talk about the gory details enough. As a result, when they happen to you, you’re never sure if you’re special or just one of the crowd! I’m trying to make everyone feel welcome, accepted, and understood! It’s a selfless service that I’m selflessly giving to the world.

      I’m glad you’re feeling better. I know I’m better.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a week of insurance juggling, which is the last thing you need when you’re feeling awful in the first place. I’m sorry you had to deal with that. I hope you get the care you need and that the healing begins as soon as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cathy! I sure will. Having been a medical-psychiatric social worker, I don’t always know where the boundary is for oversharing the gory details. I even have pictures to share if anyone is interested. Maybe I’ll post a disclaimer. You know the proverbial trigger warning. Anywho.

      The healing as already begun… at least until the next stone falls.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the effects of my prostate gradually squeezing shut the exit of my bladder was bladder stones. They aren’t as troublesome as kidney stones, but passing even a small one is no fun. They were zapped when the prostate issue was dealt with.

    So, here’s hoping your plumbing gets all fixed with a minimum of further delay, confusion, and anxiety.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No minimum of confusion when dealing with medicine in the developing world even at a modern hospital like this one. You have to see it as amusing and an adventure, a puzzle to solve. The surgery is over. The stone is out. I’m waiting on the next one.

      I’m glad you’ve resolved your prostate issue, not everyone does. Mine is slightly enlarged. I dread the day it starts causing issues. Hopefully they can be resolved, too.

      I’ve had bladder stones as I’ve awaited the kidney stone to pass. That’s usually where I’ll feel them if I do at all. Usually, it is just a feeling of something interfering with the stream and then, pop, it’s out.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

        • You just hope that the mistakes don’t hurt you too badly. They wouldn’t let me administer my own blood pressure medicine that I brought from home. They took it with the promise to give it back upon discharge and that they would supply the dose I needed in the morning. They brought up half the dose in the morning and lost the medication that they took from me. Luckily, the doctor had the rest of the dose sent up when I pointed it out to him.

          I know those things happen in the developed world, too, but they happen with an alarming regularity here. And, given the belief in karma and face saving — the doctor insisted repeatedly that he had written the order correctly and wouldn’t relent until I acknowledged that he had — people don’t always correct their errors or ask for them to be corrected.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

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