It was a March night back in 1991. My teenage son, David, found me writhing on my bedroom floor in great pain, throwing up.
An ambulance took me to a hospital, but it must have been the wrong place at the wrong time. None of the staff knew what to do with me. They actually sent me home by taxi!
During the light of the next day, I came back to the hospital, and was rushed to the operating room. Some sort of mechanism was stuck up inside me, and a “basket” retrieved a calcium oxalate kidney stone. I bled into a catheter for a few hours before I was pronounced fit enough to go home.
It was not my last adventure. Since then, I have had three lithotripsies to shake more stones into smaller pieces. In a separate operation, a stent was inserted from my kidney to my bladder to ease the pieces out. Since I was passing huge globs of black blood, the doctor also used the stent to look inside for cancer. It came back negative.
In total, I’ve had over 20 of the dang things – the rest have passed on their own accord. As the saying goes, “It is like having a baby.”
I guess not everyone must get stoned, but statistics show they do curse many of us. “The lifetime incidence of kidney stones is nearly 13 percent in men and 7 percent in women. Once an individual has formed a stone, the likelihood of recurrence is 50 percent or greater at five years and up to 80 percent at 10 years.” (uwhealth.org)
I am very thankful for the lithotripsy operations. Much easier to handle than that basket! “Lithotripsy uses sound waves to break stones apart. These sound waves are also called high-energy shock waves. The most common form of lithotripsy is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). Extracorporeal means “outside the body,” and in this case refers to the source of the shock waves applied from outside the body using a special machine. . . . It quickly replaced surgery as the treatment of choice for most stones. ESWL is a noninvasive procedure, because it does not require a surgical procedure. Noninvasive procedures are generally safer and easier to recover from than invasive procedures. After lithotripsy, stone debris is removed from the kidney (s) or the tubes leading from the kidney to the bladder through urination. The lithotripsy procedure takes about 45 minutes to one hour to perform. Usually, the patient will be put to sleep with general anesthesia. Because of this, patients usually do not experience pain. Sometimes patients will be allowed to remain awake during the procedure and may even be allowed to follow the progress of the procedure on an ultrasound or X-ray monitor.” (healthline.com)
I was knocked out every time!!! Notice the indentation on the side to be treated. I’ve never had both kidneys done at once.
I tell you that story so I can tell you this one.
A few days ago, I upgraded my membership at Planet Fitness. One of the perks is access to a HYDROMASSAGE machine. It is wonderful! Especially after a work out! “During a HydroMassage water massage, many HydroMassage users say they feel totally at ease with a deep sense of peacefulness. Others report feeling invigorated as circulation is increased during their warm massage. Because you have control of your massage by controlling the pressure, speed and area of massage, each individual experience will vary. However, they all have one thing in common; they think the HydroMassage bed is the best massage they’ve ever had!”
My daughter Brenda even suggested the next time a kidney stone gets stuck, “turn on the Hydromassage to full blast. It just might do the same thing as a lithotripsy!”
Might as well. I have nothing to lose!!