Okay, I’ve had the shockwave treatment again, (the Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy), and I woke up from that with no problems. Carle drove me home and upon inspection of my left side, we found a small, pinkish, square outline on my flesh above the kidney. This is where the machine pounded me with acoustics, which travel inside me to bust up the kidney stone.
On the way home, we bought some fast-food and I got a large soft drink—I was thirsty! About an hour after lunch, I had to go. So, following doctor’s orders, I lie down on my belly on the stairs, feet at the top and head at the bottom, and Carle pounds on my left side above the kidney. (Doc calls this palpitation, another word for pummeling.) The idea being, in this position, the bottom of the C-shaped kidney opening—where urine flows from the kidney—is now higher than the overall opening. Or at least, level with it. By Carle beating up on me, this will “encourage” the stone fragments to leave the spot where they are. Think of it as vibratory evacuation.
Carle admits to having a good time beating on me, don’t let her tell you different.
Before leaving the hospital, the nurses gave me another funnel and plastic baggy for collecting any stone fragments. So after Carle hammered away on me, I grab the funnel—it has a millipore filter built into its bottom end—and proceed to the restroom.
I mean, I really gotta go.
Out pours blood-red urine. It swirls around the funnel before exiting into the toilet bowl. Don’t be worried, this is expected. The shockwaves also bust up tiny capillaries in the kidneys which leak blood into the first urination. This is normal.
I zip up and carry the funnel to the sink, wash it with tap water and guess what I see? Yep, sitting on the millipore filter are four tan, squarish “grains.” Over the next few days, I collect a few more, but not a lot. These all go into the baggy for my return trip in about six weeks to meet with Doc. I hope he is satisfied with this collection, even though it still does not seem like enough grains. Maybe next time he wants to do the shockwave thing, I can talk him into some real surgery. You know, dissect his way into where the stone sits and use a pair of forceps to grab it. That way, he will know he’s got it all out.
I can ask him, anyway.
But, I doubt if he’ll buy that idea.
* * *
Now Surgery #2 is finished. Arrived at the hospital at 10:30 a.m. for the sign in appointment with Admissions. From there, they sent me through the side exit to the Gold elevator.
Exiting the elevator one floor up, we see Brother Josh, one of the pastors from our church, North Jacksonville Baptist. He led Carle and I in a quick, public prayer—which was no different than a prayer in church, asking for God to guide the hands of the surgeon, the nurses, and anyone else involved with my well being. Amen. I thanked him for showing up on his off day. He laughed and said he had the on-call duty this weekend. (Church offices are closed on Fridays and Saturdays.) Nice guy and a very good, down-to-earth, teaching pastor.
Carle and I checked in at the waiting room desk. This is the place where family members and friends wait for post surgery news. To hear if everything went right—or not.
We sit here for two hours before I get escorted back to Surgery Pre-Op.
“Mr. New?” says Nurse A.
“Okay, have a seat on the stretcher. You’ll need to remove all clothing and place it in the bag here. Then you’ll need to put on the latest in medical fashion—this gown, don’t bother to tie it at the back or the neck. Put these booties on your feet. Let me know when you’re ready.”
“Yes, ma’am.” She draws the drapes together to give me some privacy. Not that there’s much of that here, but they try. I change and sit on the stretcher, swing my legs around, and pull a sheet over me. No since in tucking the gown in around me as it won’t stay on me long. I hear the nurse rumaging around on the other side of the curtain.
“Ready, Nurse A.”
“Good, ‘cause we got to get things going.” She places items around me on the stretcher. Moving with the sure steadiness of having done this countless times, she hooks me up to a pressure cuff on my right arm, tapes an oxygen monitor on a finger, places both lower legs into pressure cuffs and turns that on. Instantly, it starts huffing and chuffing air into the cuffs, massaging the blood vessels so blood does not stagnate in the lower extremities. It’s really kind of pleasant.
Nurse applies a tourniquet to my upper left arm. “Make a fist.”
I do so.
Nurse palpates the back of my hand, inspecting it like she’s hunting for bugs or something. “Ah, there it is, a nice, big pipeline.”
Nurse is excited about finding a vein for the IV. I could be wrong, but I think she gets her jollies from sticking people. I used to.
Pressure (ouch) and I watch blood pool in the hub of the catheter. Deft as a magician, Nurse pulls out the metal needle while sliding in the plastic canula and hooks up the fluid filled IV line. She rolls her thumb over the inline flow valve to set the drip. Then she tapes it down to my hairy skin. This will be fun later.
“There, Mr. New. Don’t go anywhere and I’ll have your wife come sit with you for a bit. Okay?”
“Sure. Thanks.” Where could I go? I’m tied to the bed four different ways.
Sweet as sunshine, she flashes me a smile and picks up the phone. When Carle comes in, Nurse gives her a smile, then returns to her paperwork.
They bring Carle a chair.
The Anesthetist checks in with me, asks a lot of questions like they are supposed to, and has me sign some papers. His trainee asks me the same questions as he looks on.
An hour later, surgeon arrives. “Hey, Mr. New. We all ready?”
“This is going to be real simple. And you’ll go home after the procedure without a catheter. Oh, Nurse, I want Mr. New to have an antibiotic via the IV.” He shifts to shop talk and I’m lost. Presently, Nurse piggybacks an antibiotic bag onto the IV.
“Well, lets get this show on the road.” He nods to Carle. “I’ll bring him back safe and sound.”
“I’d appreciate it,” she says.
A quick kiss and she’s gone.
I’m wheeled into the bowels of Surgery and into a suite. My bearings are all turned around but I know I’m on the second floor above the laboratory where I work. I move over onto the table—.
Two hours later, I’m waking up in Post-Op.
“Ah, Mr. New, welcome back. Are you thirsty?”
Nurse B is smiling at me. “Yes, ma’am, I am.”
“Want some ice?”
She gives me a small cup of ice chips. I much and crunch away as more senses return to full function. Carle appears on my left. I get redressed in street clothes.
“All right, Mr. New. When you get home, you’ll probably want to sleep some more, which is fine. You can have a normal meal, wahtever you want, and drink plenty of fluids. You can restart your evening pill regimen like normal. Rest easy for the next forty-eight hours and you can return to work on Monday. Okay? Filling fine?”
“Well, beginning to.”
“Good enough. Here is the wheelchair and off to the front exit we go.”
All in all, the entire thing was very anti-climatic.
* * *
The phone rings at my workstation.
“Hi, Mr. New, it’s Surgeon with the pathology results from the surgery.”
“Hello, Surgeon. Is it what you expected?”
“Yes, it is. It’s still the aggressive type of tumor. It just popped up in a different location. As long as we stay on top of things, there isn’t much to worry about. The good news is, this tumor type grows into the bladder space, not into the bladder wall. That would be worse. Because it’s the aggressive type again, I’m going to schedule you for another six BCG treatments like before. All right?”
“Fine by me, Surgeon. Whatever we need to do.”
Final Results: Another tumor down and more BCG (Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin) to follow. Ah, well. At least no Foley catheter was involved!