Inhuman Swill : Kidney Stones

Hot bones

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So I headed down to St. Joseph Hospital yesterday morning for my abdominal CT scan. When I scheduled the appointment, I was told I'd have to show up two hours early to drink a nice barium milkshake. It turned out when I reached the radiology floor, though, that my urologist had merely ordered a scan with and without contrast. No barium required. This meant I was there two hours early.

That was okay, though. They squeezed me right in. Lying on the table being slid like a magician's assistant through the donut hole of the scanner, I was amused by the light-up pictographs that instructed me when to hold my breath and when to exhale. The fellow in the breath-holding pictograph looked like he had a huge wad of chewing tobacco stuffed into his cheek. Among the other icons on the scanner display were a heart, a pair of lungs, and something that at first looked to me like a bondage hood. It was actually supposed to be a radiation warning symbol with a camera aperture affixed to its underside.

I went through the scanner twice before a nurse stuck me with an IV line to flood my veins with a radiocontrast dye to help my urinary tract show up better in the images. She warned me that I would probably feel warm or flushed for a minute or so when the dye went in. The sensation was actually a whole lot weirder than that. It actually made me feel like I was being cooked from the inside out, like my bones were glowing red. It was like having the worst fever I'd ever experienced. And the sensation faded, as promised, after a minute or so.

(Does anyone know why it feels that way? I'm wondering if it's some kind of immunoresponse.)

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By the way, for those legions of you who've been on tenterhooks about my bladder, tomorrow I at last go in for my abdominal CT scan. (I had to reschedule it from last month because of a guest.) I have to be there two hours early to drink barium or something of the sort so my inner bits will be nice and glowy. I'll be sure to report.

Then next week I have my lovely cystoscopy at the urologist's office, when he have a look-see directly inside the ol' bladder. Can't wait for that. I've had one once before, and believe me, it's so much fun.

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Rose bladder

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[Spoiler warning: Mildly squicky medical details within. The squeamish may not wish their appetites spoiled.]

I know you've all been waiting breathlessly to hear what's come of my possible kidney stone situation. I just saw my very booked-up urologist, and what he has to say boils down to: "We need to do more tests before we know what's going on."

He cautions me that there could be a myriad of reasons for hematuria (blood in the urine) and stinging urination. The blood (which, incidentally, I've only seen twice) could be coming from the kidneys, the bladder, the urethra, what have you. I need to start out by having an abdominal CT scan and a cystoscopy.

I've never had a CT scan, but I've had a cystoscopy one time before. It Is Not Fun. It involves having a camera shoved up your urethra and into your bladder. Yes, it's done with local anaesthesia, but you still feel it. The only good thing about it is, it couldn't be scheduled until January 18th.

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Too much information

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Meanwhile, I have accomplished a different weeks-old goal by not even focusing on it. Moments ago I passed a kidney stone, my first ever. I suppose it's like that Douglas Adams bit, where the way to learn to fly is to throw yourself at the ground and miss, which you can only accomplish by not thinking about it.

This means my distracted, irritable, insensitive, curmudgeonly days are even closer to being past than expected. Good news, some of you will no doubt think to yourselves.

That unexpected clink! will be forever engraved upon my memory.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Kidney Stones category.

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