Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are you kidneying me?

Some time on Wednesday, a strange thing started up in my back. It was a spasm in the region of my left kidney, and it was annoying. Today, it managed to get worse. When I say it got worse, I mean a powerful spasm actually woke me up.

Somewhat concerned, I called my doctor's office to find out everyone was at lunch. When I got through, I spoke to the nurse who said I should get myself to a hospital...now! The nurse, who is usually the only person I could get through to, said it could be a kidney stone, and if it was blocking up the works, that would mean a lot of trouble. Well, going to the hospital immediately wasn't going to happen. You see, in the process of getting cleaned up for the hospital trip, I took one look at the infected toe on my left foot and thought, That may require a few days of IV antibiotics.

The very idea of landing in a hospital for even a few days is an issue because I need someone to care for Nike. Thus, I had to wait for my only trusted neighbor to come home so I could pass my apartment keys to her.

I was so sure I would be staying that I packed a bag and shaved my arms! "Rob...why would you shave your arms?!?" Because having an IV needle shoved into my arm is nothing to the pain of having it removed and taking a lot of hair with it!

I didn't get to the ER until around 6:30, and it was over an hour before they took me back. I explained what was going on to the doctor, and he ordered tests as well as a few pain meds; it seems my pain meds were wearing off, and the pain was getting pretty bad.

The nurse arrived with those pain meds, and they were weaker than what I normally take at home. I said as much, and further explained that a small shot of morphine would get me to the pain management levels I work with at home. I asked for a mere 3 mg., since my time release tablets at home give me 2.5 mg per hour. Well, she took my request to the doctor, and returned shortly with SIX mg. of morphine.

My theory about morphine is that it doesn't actually remove pain...it just makes you not care you're in pain. So I was in loopy heaven.

It took hours to get me checked out, but the CAT scan revealed nothing in my kidney region. The doctor I saw assumes it's a muscle issue, even though I have no explanation as to why the muscles would be acting up. The blood work showed next to nothing, with just a slight elevation in my white count due to the infection. Despite my saying that osteomyelitis wouldn't be visible on an x-ray yet, they took x-rays, and they showed nothing too.

So...nothing's wrong with me?!?

That's certainly not true, as everyone who saw my toe would either stare in horrified fascination or wince. It apparently looks as painful as it feels. So when the doc returned to discuss my results, he decided to put me on a new antibiotic, Bactrim, which would be more effective than Dicloxacillin. Then he left and the nurse swooped in with two prescriptions.

I stared at them and just had to ask, "Why are there two prescriptions? I thought he was just going to give me antibiotics." Without my even asking, he wrote for Vicodin, which is very similar to the Percocet I already have at home. It's also a weaker dose than what I take, so it's really a bunch of pills I would have to take in triplicate each time to get the same relief. I'd die of Tylenol poisoning before they worked.

By the time the cab Medicare cab arrived, the morphine was wearing off. After hours in the ER, I just wanted to get home. I got my wish, as I had what could only be the rudest cab driver in town. I think blood could have been pouring from my eyes, ears, and nose, and all he'd want to do is get me the heck out of his cab.

And that, my friends, is the end of this evening's adventures. My status: I'm sick, but not nearly sick enough to be hospitalized. Apparently I have to wait until I'm dead before I receive proper, extensive medical care.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How are you from the posssible kidney pain?

I'm kind o barely awake, so this post might seem a tad out of it.

Anyways. You can have pain and illness in the kidney with no stone. Did you get urine tests done? Maybe it's just your kidneys whining about the med use... those antibiotics are very strong. And strong antibiotics can do all sorts of nasties to the kidneys without you getting stones in there.

I wish I knew what to say. I can only give you the typical advise: drink lots of water and get plenty of rest. I dunno if you can take pineapple juice (good diuretic, good for the kidneys), but if you can't, hibiscus tea might be the way to go. Good stuff, hibiscus tea, yummy and good for the kidneys.

Best of luck, Bor.