Friday, November 25, 2011

Peanut m&m's and Kidney Stones

What does a peanut m&m have to do with a kidney stone, you ask? Well, on Monday, November 14, my husband, Bob, finally had surgery to remove a kidney stone, a very large kidney stone that the doctor told him was about the size of a peanut m&m (and no that is not the actual stone in the picture... that is an actual m&m). This stone has been giving him pain since the spring of 2008! It has been a long journey through already troubled times as most of you know. And if you don't, just go back in my blog and you can read all about them. We do very blessed that his treatment was able to be done at the Mayo Clinic here in Phoenix. And Monday, November 14, 2011 turned out to be an eventful day in another not so great way, as well. So here's the story....

We left our house at 6:15am in order to get up to where the Mayo Clinic hospital is by 7:30am. We decided to take both our cars since Sarah had to be at work in the afternoon. So off we went, Bob and I in one car, and the girls with Sarah driving in the other car. When we were about 15-20 minutes away from the hospital, Rachel called us to let us know that the car's clutch was slipping majorly, and they couldn't go any faster than 50 mph. I immediately felt knots in my stomach and completely helpless since we HAD to get Bob to the hospital on time! We kept communicating by cell phone with them as I was driving as fast as I legally could to get Bob to the hospital on time so that then I could deal with the girls' situation. Rachel called us again and said the car was not moving at all and they were pulling off to the side of the freeway. By this time the knots in my stomach are tying themselves into knots, and I am ready to cry! Thankfully, a pastor from our church was coming up to be with us at the hospital, Pastor Jim, and we were able to connect with him and he went and found the girls by the side of the road and stayed with them until I was able to get back to them. Also, thankfully, they weren't a real long distance from the hospital, so I didn't have to go far to find them. We called Triple A, and they put us on high priority since we were on the side of the freeway, Pastor Jim took Rachel and Hannah to the hospital, and Sarah and I sat and waited for the tow truck. It finally got there (would hate to think how long it would have been if we hadn't been "high priority"!) and after giving the driver instructions about getting the car back to our house, Sarah and I were off to the hospital. Whew! First crisis taken care of. The knots in my stomach start to lessen. This entire time I'm also praying that we get to the hospital before Bob is taken into surgery!

We get to the hospital, and I expected to find everyone on the 2nd floor which is where their surgical unit is (which we knew from Bob's emergency trip there last week), but no, they were all downstairs and I was handed a pager and told we'd be paged when we could see Bob before surgery, which should be about 30-45 minutes. After about an hour with no page, I went to inquire about what was going on with Bob and they told me he was already in surgery! What??!!! I couldn't understand why we weren't notified of that before, and I was disappointed that I didn't get to see him before he went in. However, I figured that they wanted to get it done and over with, so I updated my Facebook status saying that Bob was in surgery and sat for the next hour with my stomach in knots again and praying. I had also asked that they let me know how long he'd been in surgery already, and since they never got back to me about that, I went and inquired again. This time they asked me to wait while they found out and then told me he was in recovery and to go upstairs to a department I'd never heard of! Turns out it was the surgical unit that we were familiar with, I don't even remember what they called it downstairs. So I get upstairs to the surgical unit, and I find out that not only is Bob NOT in recovery, he hasn't even had surgery yet and is in pre-op! Wow! Where did the people downstairs get their very wrong information?! As a side note I'd just like to say, that overall, I've been super impressed with the Mayo Clinic and their employees have all been more than kind and helpful. So this whole fiasco with the wrong information and their dismissive attitude in what I later learned was the admitting department, was rather disappointing to me. However, the people in the surgical unit were MOST kind and very helpful so I focused on that, and of course on Bob. I was able to go back to his room in pre-op and "hang" with him until they came and took him to surgery. SO glad I was actually able to see him before surgery! By this time, also, Pastor Jim had left with Sarah to take her back to Queen Creek so she could get to work, so she never saw her dad before he went into surgery. In fact, I had to text her to let her know that he actually hadn't been IN surgery and that I was now with him in pre-op.

To clarify what was happening when I was told Bob was in surgery when he actually wasn't... his first procedure of the day was to have a scan so that they could take another look at his kidney stone and also insert the tube, using a local anesthetic, that they would use during surgery. I can't imagine having that done while being awake, but Bob said it was pretty cool to watch it on the screen. Makes me kind-of shudder! Anyway, this took longer than usual because the first machine turned out to be not working and they had to change rooms and re-do some prepping on him for this procedure. So then when he was sent up to pre-op after this procedure was done, that is when people downstairs told me he was in recovery. Well, if you stretch it, I guess the pre-op COULD be considered recovery from this first procedure! [rolling eyes] Still irritates me that they couldn't get their facts straight. :/ But moving on....

Since I was with Bob as they wheeled him off to surgery, I now KNEW that he was, in fact, in surgery! So the knots in my stomach were back as we waited and prayed. The surgery lasted a little over an hour and then I was called back so the doctor could talk to me and tell me how it went. Thankfully everything went well, and he was as certain as he could be that they got all the pieces of this stone that decided to break in two last week! I was also told that he'd be in recovery for a couple of hours and that because he had to be on his stomach during the surgery, it would take longer for him to wake up. So the knots in my stomached lessened, and we waited now while he was in recovery...

Around 6pm MST, Bob was finally settled into a room. I LOVED his nurse! She was so personable and was also very good about explaining things to me. Bob was in a lot of pain when I first saw him, and he looked very pale with several tubes coming out of him. Kind-of tied up the knots in my stomach again seeing him like that. The nurse explained to me that they had to be really careful about giving him more pain meds at the moment because his respiration rate was low, and if it went any lower, he would not be able to stay on that floor. So if they gave him anything for the pain that further slowed down his respiration rate, that would not be good. They finally were able to give him something that wasn't a narcotic (which, to my understanding, is what could have slowed down his respiration to the danger level) and he finally seemed to be comfortable and was able to sleep. I heaved a big sigh of relief because I really didn't want to leave for the night knowing he was in a lot of pain. About this time it was the shift change, so I waited to meet his new nurse, and she, too was great! So I talked to her for a few minutes, made sure they had my phone number, and finally was able to leave the hospital knowing that Bob was sleeping and that he was in good hands for the night. :)

Next day, I headed for the hospital all ready to bring Bob home only to get there and find out they are keeping him another night because of a bleed on his kidney which was causing his hemoglobin levels to be too low. He looked much better then he had the night before, though, and seemed in much less pain. So I settled in to spend the afternoon and evening with him.

Finally, Wednesday, the 17th, he was released! The kidney bleed had stopped on it's own and his hemoglobin levels were back up to normal so we were ready to GO! The only thing I wasn't too excited about was the fact that they decided to leave a tube in him and I was going to have to clean and redress it everyday. I am NOT nurse material AT ALL and just looking at this tube coming out of him made me a bit nauseous! HELP! LOL. The tube being left in has definitely slowed down his healing a bit. And actually, on Monday, the 21st, he got the tube taken out. YEA! :)

So now the healing begins and NO MORE KIDNEY STONE! He will still have a stent in for a while as his kidney was pretty inflamed from this huge stone bumping around in it. So it needs to heal, but the doctor didn't think there was any permanent damage, thank goodness!!! Bob will also be taking some herbs for a while that are supportive of a healthy kidney and also are supposed to keep new stones from forming, so we are praying that they will work.

All in all, I am so grateful to God for getting him through this, and I trust Him that He will help Bob heal and get back to good health again. I am also SO grateful for our church and how they have come around us and supported us and loved us through this! I don't know how I would have gotten through this past week without them! Especially Jim Herzberg, our associate pastor, and Meredith Bryant who was my angel last Tuesday during Bob's emergency treatment. And I have SO felt all the prayers from everyone who has been praying us through this! Thank you SO much and please continue to pray as Bob heals from this surgery. :)

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