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Good and Bad

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I posted on Monday about my first time being sick as a single parent (spoiler alert: it sucks!). My symptoms had started on Sunday and I was pretty sure I had the flu: high fever, alternating chills/sweats, nausea, vomiting, body aches. Classic signs, right?

In our co-parenting plan, the girls’ Dad takes them on Wednesdays overnight. He picked them up Wednesday afternoon and I was STILL at Death’s Door. In texting with my sister (an RN), she convinced me things had gone on too long to just be the flu. If anything, symptoms had been worsening. I was completely incapacitated. I mean, just writhing around in bed and on the bathroom floor (in between puking my guts up). And then I started to really notice the pain. Right in my lower back. Like…..right on the kidney.

I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed it sooner. I had an extremely high fever the first couple days of illness so that was front-and-center for me. My thoughts were distorted, I couldn’t put together a coherent sentence. I was a mess.

It took me at least an hour to pep-talk myself into getting up, changing clothes (I was wearing puky PJ’s) and drive myself to a full-service urgent care. But once there, a urine analysis and ultrasound confirmed a diagnosis: KIDNEY STONES

I have an extensive family history of kidney stones: my brother, my dad, all my dads’ siblings (including the females), my grandpa, etc. I grew up listening to stories about my Grandpa’s work ethic. He used to live in New Jersey and take the train into work in New York. He’d literally lie under his desk writing around in pain until he passed his kidney stone(s), then back to work and on the train home again. Long family history. So the Family Curse has struck again.

The Good News

  • I’m not contagious!!!! I was so sure I had the flu and was terrified that the second I got better, one of the girls would get sick and then the other girl and this would be a two-week long ordeal. Thank god that’s not the case!
  • It’s treatable! I came home with a whole smorgasbord of prescription medications: things to help with pain, nausea, antibiotics (because my urine also showed an extremely elevated white blood count – the stone likely caused an infection, too), and something to help my urinary tract expand so the stone can pass more easily (<not sure if this is just layman’s terms? That’s how it was described to me).

The Bad News

  • It still hasn’t passed. It was sitting low in my urinary tract so the doctor felt it would pass “soon.” That was Wednesday and no relief yet. He said if it hasn’t passed by Monday or Tuesday to come back again and they can zap it with a laser to break it up but he didn’t want to do that as a go-to because he didn’t think insurance would cover it.
  • It’s a lifestyle change. You get it once? Odds are you’ll get it again. I need to get an internal medicine doctor to help me so I can better manage stones when I undoubtedly get them again. I have been 100% INCAPACITATED this entire week. The stress from all the missed work (not to mention the already high stress of my life, in general right now) is almost enough to break me. I will likely need to make some dietary changes and things to try to prevent or reduce the re-currence of future stones. And I need to figure out some better pain meds. I was initially prescribed oxycodone but I took one on Wednesday night and was HIGH AS A KITE!!! Y’all. I’ve never done mind-altering drugs before, so I have nothing to compare it to. But this was insane. I was seeing sounds and hearing colors. I was god, controlling weather patterns. I mean….it was out of this world and NOT in a good way. Immediately Thursday morning I called and got a new pain med, Tramadol but it makes me super tired to where I can hardly keep my eyes open. I need to find something that can help manage then pain, but still allow me to at least do minimal amounts of work and take care of my children!
  • It’s costing me $$$. This was the kids’ Fall Break week! I was going to save on money by doing fun things for free. But instead I was forced to put them in daycamp for Thursday and Friday because of said incapacitation (see above). I’ve also had to buy way too much take-out because there was just no way I was going to be able to cook and the kids needed to eat. I haven’t reconciled the budget from this week yet, but I’m pretty sure I’ve used our entire “eating out” budget just this week. Plus prescriptions, co-pays, a heating pad, etc. etc. Lots of extra money spent this week.

So there you go. At least now I know what I’ve got and I can try to take active steps to get out ahead of it and better manage it in the future (recognizing the symptoms and getting started on meds sooner). But I’m still in pretty excruciating pain so there’s that.

I’m accepting all thoughts/prayers/well-wishes you want to throw my way. I appreciate any and all! <3

~Ashley


10 Comments

  • Reply Sarah |

    I have a friend who is going through the same thing but he is only “sick” when the stone moves. He is able to function but then the minute it starts to move, he is in excruciating pain! It started way in the back and has moved to a few inches to the side of his belly button. It has been almost two weeks. For some reason, they do not want to laser it. Maybe because of the cost but I also think they said the recovery from the laser is difficult.

    I’ll say a prayer! I am so sorry!

  • Reply Vicky |

    I have kidney stones too. I find taking something called stone breaker when I first start having twinges in my back seems to help. It’s herbal and you put it in water you buy it on Amazon. Some people take it all the time but I don’t like the taste and normally take it for about a week until the pain is gone. I had the laser thing done this year and it cost me about 5,000.

  • Reply Kili |

    Ashley, that sounds aweful. sorry you have to go through this. Stay strong! Get well soon!
    Really hope you can take some preventive measures for the future, like you suggested to look into.

  • Reply Nicole |

    Always a blessing to have a diagnosis instead of wonder and worry, but sounds like a miserable one. So sorry you have to suffer through this. And it is almost unbearably hard when you have to function as mom at the same time. Prayers and well wishes to feel better soon!

  • Reply Jay Pearce |

    Keep your head up because you are doing a great job handling all of this! Seems like everything is hitting all at once but better days will be ahead. Just take it a day at a time.

  • Reply Andree |

    yeouch! Hopefully dietary changes will help prevent these in future. My DH had stones in his salivary glands a few years ago – and if his pain is any indication, kidney stones sound horrible. He had to snack on alternating super spicy and sour things to force them to pass.

  • Reply Been There Done That |

    You poor girl! It is horrible trying to care for children when one is so ill. I have read that limiting protein (beef, pork) is helpful and lots of water, fruits and veggies.

    I was so amused to read of your oxycodone reaction. I have had several major surgeries in the last 18 months and am always prescribed oxycodones afterward for pain. They do absolutely nothing for me–no highs and certainly no pain relief. I think people just have different receptors to drugs. I find that Tylenol extra strength is the only thing that is helpful for me. I hope this all goes away soon!

  • Reply Been There Done That |

    PS Not amused as us in funny/haha but actually intrigued how people react differently to opiads. There are people who love it and become addicted, of course, those like you who have terrible reactions and people such as I who view it as nothing but a placebo.

  • Reply Marcy Trost |

    I’m an active user of Facebook groups for various health issues, and I checked on your behalf and found that there is a FB group for “Kidney Stones Understanding and Support”. My suggestion would be to join the FB group to find out from others who have “been there & done that” how best to manage the lifestyle changes you are now facing with your new diagnosis. Good luck!

So, what do you think ?