April 30th: Woke up this morning feeling punky with lower back pain. Had my plasma transfer on Thursday, and today is the day I start feeling normal again, so this caught me off guard. But I was in bed a lot these past few days and it isn’t unusual for the back to bark when I am, so I went about by business early this morning and picked up the groceries, but when I got home I couldn’t put them away because the back hurt worse and I had to lie down because I felt like complete shit. As time went by it got worse instead of better, and I could not understand what was going on until the answer came to me in a flash. I had K take me to the emergency room, where they gave me fluids and took a CT Scan. As I suspected, it’s a kidney stone – 4 mm. They gave me some pain meds and more fluids and sent me home 4 hours later. Got a script for anti-nausea meds and a few oxy’s if the pain gets severe, but I’m going to avoid those unless the Tylenol Extra strength stops working. I’m feeling much better now but need to see a urologist.
May 6th: Went to the urologist office. They explained that given where the stone is, it will take about 25 days for me to pass it. They also said that during its journey, I will feel it move from my back to the front, and I will notice it moving further south until it passes. It could be painful at different points but if that occurs, I am to take pain meds and the anti-nausea stuff and call them if that doesn’t help. This will be my first experience passing one, because my only other experience involved a stone that was too big to pass (8mm) and had to be surgically removed. I also have a strainer to use because they want to see what it looks like at my next appointment, scheduled for May 29th. This should be fun.
May 14th: Woke up this morning and my body was on FIRE! Plus, my lower right abdominal quadrant, where I last noticed the stone, is so tender that even touching it is painful. My entire abdomen feels like I’ve done 200 sit-ups. So, I swallowed some Zofran and two extra-strength Tylenol, and an hour later I felt good as new. But the fever came back during the evening, so I took more drugs and was able to sleep. This already sucks more than I anticipated, but at least it appears the end is near. K suggested this was in the same area as my appendix, and that maybe I should ask my PCP, but I dismissed that because it is also in the same place I last felt the stone. One thing to worry about is bad enough, and I don’t want to sound like a neurotic patient.
May 15th: Couldn’t work today. Yesterday’s pain is not back, but the fever is, I feel so wrung out that I had to call it a day after three hours. This can’t end soon enough.
May 16th: Back in the saddle and got a full day of work in, I’m but concerned about the fever that doesn’t want to leave. I’m eating Tylenol like candy.
9AM. My fever spiked again last night: 102.7 degrees. I think my fever on Sunday when this first all started was higher (I didn’t take it at the time) but something is wrong. I’ve had a running fever of 102+ since Sunday. The Tylenol kills the fever, but it comes roaring back when the meds wear off. I called the urologist and they told me to go to the ED because all the pain meds are doing is masking something that isn’t going away.
10:30 AM. Saw the ED doc. They are going to run the same tests they did on the 30th but need to do a COVID test because of the fever.
1PM. Blood tests came back with good results. The urine too. They did not detect any blood in the urine, which I thought was odd. The kick in the ass was I tested positive for COVID, and I am dumfounded. I do not go into public buildings without a mask (I am in the distinct minority) and avoid crowds. I’ve been out to eat three times in the last month or so, but wasn’t sitting near anyone other than the folks I was with. This is so bizarre, but at least now I understand why I’ve felt like shit for five days. I asked if that rules out the need for the CT scan, but they are going to do it anyway because my abdomen is still tender.
3:00 PM. A different doc just walked into my little room in the ED. A surgeon. He introduced himself and explained the reason he was there is because the CT scan results indicate my appendix needs to come out NOW! I’ve already called K to tell her about the COVID. She scheduled PCR tests for herself, Nidan and her 86 year old Mom who has COPD and lives with us, and now I have to let her know I won’t be coming home tonight. She won’t say I told you so, but she was right. I should have listened to her when she first asked about it. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around all of this. You can’t make this shit up.
May 19th: Going home today. The surgeon said the appendix was extremely inflamed and was not in good shape. I shudder to think what might have happened if I let this go a few more days. One of the questions they keep asking me is if I’m passing gas, and they were happy to learn that my fart glands are alive and well. K later told me when the surgeon called last night to tell her the surgery went fine, he said that while he is not a radiologist, he could not see evidence of a kidney stone when the previous CT Scans clearly did. Don’t know how that occurred, because I have been using the filter and I could still feel it before all this weirdness started happening. But I can say that about of lot of things these past five days. On a positive note, everyone else in the house tested negative for COVID, so I thankfully haven’t gotten the entire house sick.
Postscript: I am four days removed from surgery. I was given antibiotics, an antiviral med for the COVID (six horse-sized pills each day for five days) and some stool softeners. I need to take those twice a day because the last thing they want is for me to be constipated with the three new incisions in my abdomen, which made sense. I did not realize it at the time, but after I was plagued with constant diarrhea, I looked at the bottle the antibiotics came in and discovered one of the common side effects was diarrhea. Swell. I stopped taking those like a bad habit, and at least that is starting to improve. Here are a few things I discovered during this journey.
- I would not dare attempting to fart without sitting on the porcelain throne because it would result in a mess. When I shared that tidbit with one of my cousins, he called that phenomenon Sharting. I kind of like that.
- COVID is still thriving. The positivity rate in CT, which is one of the most highly vaccinated states in the nation, is over 15%. My nurse said they have more patients in-house with COVID than they have since the last surge. The vaccines do help prevent significant problems and death, and anyone who can’t see that is a fool. They are playing Russian Roulette with themselves and loved ones. I just don’t get it, and never will.
- The worst pain I felt after surgery was not my abdomen, but my throat. They inserted a breathing tube during the surgery because of the COVID. I had it in for a little over an hour, and I woke up with the worst sore throat of my life. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like for those who had to be put into a medical coma and survived that lenghty ordeal having had a tube in their throats for all that time.
- I am still COVID positive, and the worst thing is a metallic taste that is constantly in my mouth. I’m sucking on lollipops and popsicles to try to combat it. This provides temporary relief but that’s all. It also charges the way everything tastes. Even water.
- I don’t know how anyone who has a full beard can stand wearing a mask all of the time. I don’t have one, but do have a mustache and goatee. I like to keep it trimmed closely, but it got long and bushy over these last three weeks and wearing a mask was really irritating my face.
- Speaking of masks, I received a number of N-95s from the hospital to take home and find it interesting that they come in different styles and shapes. The one I am using now is definitely not a favorite. I look like Donald Duck when it’s on.
- My quest to lose weight is over! I weighed over 216 pounds when I started with a goal to get it down to 190. I achieved that by the time all the shit hit the fan on May 14th. Since then, I’d drink a lot of water, but there were days where I ate hardly anything at all because the idea of it was nauseating. I lost six pounds during those five days. This is the lightest I’ve been in over twenty years. Thirty-two pounds gone in almost five months. I’m done!
Stay well my friends.