‘Pee Party’

Kudos to my friend April for coming up with that one. Proceed at your own risk, this is about medical issues, and may not be your cup of tea.

In the ongoing saga of my kidney stones (I guess perhaps I need to start naming them, or just refer to them as ‘the boys’ from now on) I went to see a urologist yesterday. Never been to one before, so of course it was an escapade, as my medical forays inevitably turn out to be. Nothing normal when it comes to me and medicine.

It’s been three weeks since I was in the ER with the abdominal pain, in that time I’ve seen my primary GP, he said that he’d seen the images from the CT scan and said that the stones, while rather large (9 & 10mm) aren’t in an easy position to accidentally get stuck in the ureter and cause an issue that would require an emergency intervention. That being said, they’re still larger than normal, and might require some attention to deal with them. I asked to be referred to a urologist (I was rather insistent) and he said he already was going to do that anyway. Excellent, I needed practice in confrontation and browbeating regardless.

A couple of days later I received an email saying that I had an appointment in a few weeks with a urologist with a different medical group (I was actually expecting one in the same medical group as my GP, but when some doctors are scheduling into late summer or early fall, you take what you can get) and the appointment was in mid-morning. Well, that’s good and bad, in that my wife isn’t a morning person, and me, having worked 1st, 2nd and 3rd shift in my career, I’m up at all hours. It was pretty quickly determined that she wasn’t coming along. Which is a little unusual, but I can roll with it. Besides, I could get some cat litter at PetCo before coming home and swing by the cemetery where Bob is buried. All are in the same general area.

As is customary anymore when you have a Doctor appointment, a week before the office starts texting and emailing and sending reminders that you have that appointment and need to confirm it. This goes on for days, because automated systems don’t have to be fed. Even after confiming it, doing the electronic check-in, confirming every malady you’ve ever had AND setting up payment, you still get the reminders. I guess it’s the cost of doing business, or the cost of socialized medicine here in the USA. We spend so much on the apparatus, of course they’re going to spend it on ways to remind us of things instead of allowing us to use calendars. Or whatever.

The appointment went off rather well, although I saw a different doctor as the one I had been scheduled with was overbooked. So long as the new one knew what she was doing, I wasn’t going to quibble. We went through the usual questions, she looked over the information that had been sent by my GP, but for one reason or another didn’t have the CT scan images from my trip to the ER. Which one would have thought she would. After all, it had been three damn weeks. And she had all the other information, why not that? She gave me a form to sign to grant access to it, though I was pretty sure when I was in the ER I signed a similar form allowing any doctor access to the images, though it might have only covered doctors in their own sphere of influence. Ever since HIPPA, it’s been nearly impossible to get medical information to be communicated easily between medical entities. So many hoops to traverse in the name of privacy. Which I understand, BUT. [Topic for another time]

At any rate, after discussing the issue, we were left with 2 options. Remove the damn things, OR wait and see. Removing is a procedure that involves a laser and shock waves to break up the stone. Unfortunately, they can only do one kidney at a time, so since there are 2 stones on opposite sides…yeah you get the gist. Waiting and seeing only involves a CT scan once a year to get an idea of where they’re at. The original scan said they were in the middle of the organs and not likely to move. If one did happen to move, it would be painful. Like, really painful. So, that’s the option I went for.

Even so, the urologist wanted to ascertain why I had blood in my urine at the ER. Granted it was a micorscopic amount, it could have been a result of passing a stone, but hey, let’s be sure. So, blood was drawn, urine collected and just to liven things up, she wanted a 24 hr urine collection test to ice the cake.


I remember my wife doing one of these, and storing the container in the fridge. I’m sure for her it was doubly bad, because she doesn’t have a handy spout to dribble the stuff into the container. So for 24 hrs I was peeing into a container. At least I didn’t have to give them a 24 hr stool sample. That would have been over the top. So, as my friend April referred to it, I was engaged in a 24 hr pee party. I did get the results yesterday, which said they’re still not sure why I had blood then. I have none now, and other than the stones, things seem ok on my kidneys. Also, no sign of bladder cancer, or anything else that might cause issues in the near future. Even so, I’m going to have a minimally invasive procedure in a month to check a couple of other things in the bladder (I love catheters…NOT) and then a follow-up in June to discuss even more things. Getting older isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Anyway, thanks for sticking around this long. I hope there’s a happy ending to all this. I expect there will be, it will just take some time.

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