It’s been eight days since my Lithotripsy.
Once I’d awakened and enough time passed for the grogginess to dissipate, Nurse 1 removed the IV. She spent the entire time apologizing while she tried to pull the IV tape off the back of my hairy hand.
“Listen,” I said, “just wet the tape with an alcohol prep and it will release easy enough.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Mr. New. This is hurting you and—”
“It’s okay, Nurse 1. Here, if you don’t mind, allow me,” I said, taking the alcohol prep from her and massaging loose the surgical tape. Slowly, but with steady pressure, I pulled it off the hair. Ouch. The effort left a mild tingling that faded away after a few minutes.
“Well, okay. Thank you, Mr. New. I guess you have more experience with that than I do. Anyway, you can get dressed now. While you’re doing that, I’ll round up a wheelchair and we’ll get you out to the car.”
She left, allowing Carle to steady me, as I stood to pull up my pants.
“You know, Rich,” said Carle, “they usually make you wait until after you urinate before they release you.”
I tucked my shirt in and pulled the belt tight. “I know. Wonder what’s different?”
“Mr. New?” said Nurse 1, “you decent?”
“Yes. Come on in.”
Nurse 1 pulled back the curtain. She smiled at me and placed a funnel and plastic baggy on the nearby table. She held some paperwork in her left hand. “I have some post-procedure directions for you. You’ll get a copy of this before you leave.”
“Okay. Such as?”
“First, Doc wanted me to remind you that you may have some redness on your left torso-back area—a rectangle shape—where the shock waves entered you. There may also be some muscle pain in that area. All of this is normal, so don’t worry about it. Also, Doc wants you to take the next two work days off and rest up.”
She smiled at me. Most people enjoy taking a day or two off from work. I’m one of them.
“Whoops. Boss want like that,” I said. “But I have a Family Medical Leave plan in place, so there should not be a problem. I hope.” So far, management has been very cooperative with me and my condition. Boss might have to scramble to get some part-time workers in to cover for me at the workbench.
“Oh, sorry about that, Mr. New. Doc was supposed to have mentioned that before the procedure. Anyway, here.”
She hands me the funnel and baggy.
“Your first one or two urinations might be bloody. Don’t worry about it, that is normal and should clear up quickly. However, urinate through this funnel everytime and collect any stone fragments in this baggy. Doc wants to see what you pass. If your urine continues bloody, call us at the number highlighted on the paperwork and we’ll get you back in here.”
I look over the funnel. It’s made of an opague plastic. A little finger grip is molded onto one outside edge of the wide opening. Below, in the narrower opening, rests a filter. It is of clear plastic and appears molded into the bottom of the funnel. I finally recognize it as a Millipore filter.
“Okay. What’s next?” I said.
“I’ve already forwarded Doc’s order for pain medications—thirty tablets—to you’re pharmacy on record. Just use them as you need ’em.”
Nurse 1 then turned to the paperwork she still held and started reading off some other, less interesting, things. After a few more minutes, I was finally loaded into a wheelchair and whisked out to the car. On the way home, Carle stopped to get lunch—the Colonel’s Original Fried Chicken—then the prescription at the pharmacy, and then we proceeded on home. All the while, I felt fine. No pains or aches from the lithotripsy site.
Like I said, its been eight days since the procedure. Before hand, I’d been praying that God would allow the stone to be blown into powder. I know that’s childish, but as you probably know by now, I don’t like pain. I can deal with it, but I’d just as soon not.
Anyway, during my two days of forced relaxation, there was no muscle pain from the lithotripsy site. Looking in the bathroom mirror the afternoon I got home, both Carle and I failed to see a red rectangle on my skin—a few small, pink blotches was all we could see. Nor has a larger one appeared since then.
Nor has there been any pain when passing the stone fragments. Neither have there been many of them. There have been two sizable fragments, square-ish and dark, about the size of sand; and many smaller particles, like specks, just big enough to see some dark color.
There have been two—only two!—sharp pains in my lower groin. This is within the area of my ureter, the descending tube running between the left kidney and the bladder. The pangs were short lived. Come and gone. No residuals to mention. I don’t know about you, but I’m praising God for my small miracle!
I returned to work after the two rest days ended. I placed the funnel and baggy within a larger one gallon baggy so I can tote it back and forth to work with me. The larger baggy usually rides within the empty, top portion of my lunch box. I leave it in my locker so it’s easy to get to on the way to the restroom. After using it, I rinse it out with tap water, fish out any fragments with my finger, and place them in the smaller baggy. So far, my collection is small.
I have two more appointments. The first is with Surgeon, who will perform another Cystoscopy to view the surgery site. The other is with Doc, who will want to see the fragments and decide what, if anything, to do next.