- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
My Kidney Stone
My brush with the kidney stone began innocently and painfully in September 2013. At the time, I did not know that the pain was caused by my kidney stone. It all started on a Monday morning after my regular light chore of cleaning the front yard. As I was sitting down in front of my PC, I felt a tightening in my lower right back and then an excruciating pain followed. I had never had that kind of pain in that area before. Since I had my regular strenuous workout the previous day, my immediate thought was that the cause must be due to an inflamed nerve. I tried to lie down on the bed and shift the positions in the hope of easing the increasingly unbearable pain. But, it kept getting worse and in about 2 minutes, my whole body was wet due to my perspiration from my attempt to endure the unbearable pain. As I was thinking about calling 911 for an ambulance, I remembered the painkiller, Aleve that I took to relief my uncontrollable coughing from my Bronchitis sometimes ago. I struggled to the bathroom cabinet where I kept a bottle of Aleve and took one 220 mg pill. Miraculously, within a minute, the pain was gone. I could still feel the discomfort when I pressed my hand at the lower right back area. But, I was able to move around and go about my normal routines.
Unfortunately, the debilitating pain rushed back after the drug effect worn off after 1.5 hours. So, I took another 220 mg pill and was relief that the pain went away again. I looked up the Aleve bottle label and the information on the Internet and found that the limit is 440 mg a day to avoid stomach bleeding. The pain finally vanished for good at night after I had taken 8x220 mg pills and I was able to have a good night’s sleep. In the next morning, I did not have my regular bowel movement. After having a normal lunch, a minor pain was felt in same area. But, after one Tylenol pill, the pain was barely noticeable. At night, during sleep, I felt the minor pain again but I was able to control it with another 250 mg Tylenol pill.
In the next morning, I needed the help of Fleet to dislodge several dark-colored, clay-like stools that fit the description of the symptom of stomach bleeding. Immediately, I took a 20 mg Pepcid pill to reduce stomach acid that could aggravate the bleeding and prevent speedy recovery. I could still feel the minor pain but I no longer need the Tylenol to bear it anymore. In the morning of the 4th day, my bowel movements returned to normal with brownish soft stool. More importantly, I no longer had any pain in my lower right back. So, I concluded that Aleve had really done the job. The pill not only blocked the excruciating pain, its anti inflammatory effect also cured my inflamed nerve.
After 8 months of normalcy, the pain came back one afternoon in a warm humid day. I just finished my regular strenuous activity and was somewhat dehydrated under the hot sun. Not long after lunch, I had a rare bout of diarrhea with dry stool instead of the normal liquid type. Almost in the same moment, I felt the same pain at my lower right back. But, the pain was more bearable as I needed to take only Tylenol for relief. The other thing that was different was the tightening sensation at the end of my urination. The good thing was that the urine’s color was normal – light brown and clear. Immediately, I researched the Internet and concluded my right kidney might have been infected due to dehydration. The pain could actually attribute to the kidney. To relief the coming and going pain, I needed to take one 250 mg Tylenol pill every 4 hours. Rest and plenty of liquid were in order.
For the next 3 days, the condition had not gotten worst or better. However, one complication had arisen; constipation and I had no bowel movement from the time of my diarrhea 3 days ago. I still had my regular meals and the stomach felt a little bulging but no unusual and long lasting discomfort. I took Milk of Magnesia with no effect and detected not a slight movement in my colons. Even though Tylenol could cause constipation but according to the medical information on the Internet, dehydration could also cause blockage in the colons. Sensing the severity of my conditions, I decided to check into the Emergency Room.
At the ER, I explained to the doctor of my possible kidney infection and colon blockage. Blood and urine tests as well as CT scan were performed right away. 2.5 hours later, the results came back showing that my colon was fine and the lower right back pain was due to a kidney stone in the tube from the kidney to the bladder. The good news was that the stone was not big and was very close to the bladder. The doctor instructed that one more day of plenty of water, the stone should be flushed into the bladder and the pain would be gone. I was given Hydrocondone for pain relief and sent home. The next day, after 12 hours of constant water consumption resulted in having to urinate every 15 minutes, the pain was suddenly gone. In the meantime, I started to take the maximum allowed Milk of Magnesia dosage. 3 hours later, my bowel movements began to work emptying close to 4 days of wastes in watery brownish liquid.
I had my first good night sleep. But, I was awaken in the early morning with the same lower right back pain. My reasoning was that it must have been a 2nd kidney stone. So, I started the same regiment of heavy water intake. The pain at one time was getting unbearable that I had to take a Aleve pill. To my great relief, the pain was gone suddenly after more than 10 hours of hydration. Fortunately, that seemed to be the last kidney stone in my system and I have not had any pain to this day.
Follow Up Checkout
Two days later, after reviewing my blood and urine test results, my primary physician made an appointment to see a Urologist due to the high creatinine count in the blood indicating possible kidney disease. At the Urologist’s office, a new round of blood and urine tests as well as X-ray was performed. The results came back all good – no more kidney stone for now and the creatinine level had dropped to normal. The Urologist and I agreed that since both kidney stone episodes occurred after strenuous exercise and dehydration, the fluid inside the kidney became concentrated and caused the crystal-forming substances to combine into sizable stone. I needed to drink more water while engaging in heavy outdoor activity. For the past 30 years, I had trained my body not to intake any liquid during exercise while consuming a lot of liquid before and afterward. This routine had helped me to maintain minimum body fats and induced a great sensation as the thirst was relieved. I guess my aging body is telling me that it is time to make a small change.
Even with the medical insurance, my 4-hour ER visit came to around $1500. But, I am happy with the prompt, efficient, and professional services that I received. The ER was not chaotic like the TV series though there was a constant flow of patients. Even in the dead of the night, all the necessary tests and diagnosis were performed without the long wait that I would probably encounter at my primary physician’s office.