Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Kidney Stone Trilogy part three

"More About My Damn Kidney Stones"


"It Don't Mean A Thing If it Ain't Got That String"

My mind was still too drug addled for me to be certain if it was me or the hospital bathroom that was pitching slowly back and forth. Once I was certain of my footing I shifted aside the fabric of my muumuu-like hospital gown so I could void my bladder. It was only a short while ago that I had awoken from my Ureteroscopy with an almost frantic need to relieve myself.

That sensation was forgotten the moment I caught a glimpse of my manhood. The doctor had left a pin-hole sized incision at the base of my urethral opening and from that incision there dangled a small length of dark blue string.

My first thought upon seeing this was, Well isn't that festive?


How did I come to this strange and sorry state? Let me bring you up to speed.

What began as a backache turned out to be a kidney stone, and a pretty darn painful one at that. Said kidney stone turned the next few days into a gauntlet of Doctor visits, x-rays and specimen bottles that ended up looking like the perfect accessories for the Bratz dolls ' Carrie White Prom Playset'.

The urologist discovered that this latest kidney stone was, much like my writing career, stuck. A week of medications and painkillers was the first course of action. The medications were sadly ineffective the painkillers however were spectacular. The only drawback was, as you regular readers of this blog may have noticed, that my writing suffered. Hours were wasted watching the Christmas tree lights flicker and blink, and even more hours were wasted writing TORCHWOOD/ MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 crossover fan fiction. Emails went unanswered but relatives were called at odd hours of the night with even odder questions.

The next step involved me heading to the local outpatient surgery center. I'll admit to you I was a nervous wreck. My mother in law came along with me, she's a nurse practitioner and was able to draw upon her years of experience to respond to my increasingly panicked questions with a combination of tender wisdom and well-timed swats to the head.

That day I needed plenty both.

Once I had checked in the nurses gave me a hospital issue robe and gown, I was told I had to be wearing nothing else for the procedure.

There was a small snag at this point and the snag in question was my scrotum on the arm of the chair. When I informed the nurse that my gown was at least three sizes too small she nodded understandingly and then called out into the hallway, “Hey Rosie we need another Marlon Brando!”

Well maybe she didn't but I've been on drugs for the last three weeks, cut me some slack people.

Once my dangly bits were hidden from view an IV was added and questions about my the state of my health were gone over two or three times.

Then I was led to the operating room, my urologist and I had a quick hello and then I laid down on the table and started chatting with the anesthesiologist. I remember thinking to myself, All this just so I can take a piss without having to scream.

A few moments later the I wasn't thinking at all because the anesthesiologist injected into a cocktail of Midacum and other drugs into my IV line and darkness rolled over my mind like a dark wave. The last time I was put under for an operation I was six years old, I remember very little of it really. I guess I had always thought that when you get sedated you have Technicolor dreams of unicorns flying TIE fighters. This was not the case at all. I don't remember much of it right now except for an oblivion that seemed to threaten to go on forever, an oblivion that seemed to swallow me whole.

Truth be told the memory of it haunts me, its what I fear dying might be like. I still can't imagine what's worse, no afterlife at all or an afterlife that ends up being like an ethereal and inescapable family reunion. I can almost see it now, dozens of Bruno souls voluntarily exiling themselves to purgatory or reincarnating as tapeworms to avoid talking to me.

It was either forever or a few heartbeats later that I found myself starting to waken. On one hand I was trying to get out of bed, on the other I apparently had forgotten how to open my eyes. All I knew was that I was sure I had to go to the bathroom before I had an accident. Two nurses were trying to keep me down, eventually one of them gave me a bedpan. Other voices spoke to me but I am not sure what they said or if they were real at all. Eventually I sobered up enough for a nurse to lead me to a nearby bathroom.

And that's when I found the ripcord on my hoo-hah.

I called the nurse in and asked her if that was supposed to be there. She assured me that yes it was, that the string came part and parcel with getting a stent.

I should note that on this crazy and sedated day more than tripled the number of people in the world that have seen my loins.

And it is unlikely that number will change again unless I need more surgery or I finally break down and add a photo section to my website called 'A Little Somethin' For The Ladies'.

As I was led back to my room so I could get changed back into my street clothes I learned several things. I learned that it had taken them three tries to intubate me, due to an oddly shaped windpipe. (Does this mean I have a respiratory bypass system like a Time Lord? I can only hope...) I learned that while the kidney stone they removed from me was only 2 millimeters in diameter it had been shaped much like the starship that had rocketed Superman to Earth in the 1978 film. I learned that I had three new prescriptions to take for the next two weeks, one of which was that tasty tasty Vicodin. I learned that the blue string meant that a stent had been run along the length of my urethra so the damage done by stone and surgery could be repaired; it would remain in place for the next 11 days and during that time I would experience painful urination that would have blood as well as the occasional stone fragment or scab. When I asked at what point I would start to feel better they just smiled and changed my prescription from Vicodin to Oxycodone.

Once I was home my wife and mother in law put me to bed. My daughter had a Christmas pageant that night but there was no way I was able to go and that made me really sad, at least until the Oxycodone kicked in, then I spent the next few hours trying to explain the UNIT dating controversy to my dogs.

The 12 days of Christmas passed in a pleasant haze, I watched TV, I played video games, I overate but I sadly couldn't sleep comfortably unless I was sitting up on the couch. The In Laws came over for Christmas and it was a great visit but I was too woozy to put together my daughter's new two story doll house but her grandpa picked up the slack quite nicely. While he did that my daughter backed me snacks with her new Easy Bake oven until she ran out of mixes. Just was well really I was about to slip into diabetic shock.

Later I got around to opening my Christmas gift, a complete set of the first five CINEMATIC TITANIC releases. What is CINEMATIC TITANIC you may ask? It is the newest project from the creators of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, it is five funny people mocking some of the worst films ever made for you entertainment and enlightenment.

Now I know there are some people out there that never enjoyed MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, I refer to those people as 'The Damned' but I think even they would be entertained by CINEMATIC TITANIC. And if they don't then we'll just call them 'The Doubly Damned'.

My wife even got me a CINEMATIC TITANIC t-shirt that I wore most of the next week, frequently in tandem with a jaunty looking beret.

I also had a chance to check out the newest DOCTOR WHO Christmas Special but since I'm not in England I'm not sure how.

Again I blame the drugs.

Finally December 29th rolled around and it was time to have the stent removed. I was glad of it, I had been out of work for over twenty days by then and I was actually starting to miss my soulless corporate overlords, and I missed the challenge of stealing office supplies.

The urologist told me that everything was good and that once the stent was removed I would be able to relive myself without trauma or cursing. As I sat there with my pants low and my hopes high I asked him what kind of sedation would be used to remove the stent.

Imagine my surprise when I learned there would be none.

He pulled on his rubber gloves and had me stand over a waste basket- apparently in anticipation of the outpouring of blood, urine and tears he was soon to create. He told methat I would feel some momentary discomfort. I closed my eyes and hoped for the best.

And he pulled the string.

It felt like I was peeing a stream of hot lava that was going on for ten feet. I made the same kinds of sounds that Curly from the Three Stooges made when he caught his head in something.

And then just when I thought it was over he pulled out the rest.

“There,” he said to me. “That wasn't so bad was it?”

Wasn't so bad?

Let me tell you a story dear reader. In the fall of 1991 my great grandmother died, she was ill and in a coma but her passing still hit me pretty darn hard. My friends tried to cheer me up by taking me to a movie, sadly that movie was HIGHLANDER 2.

Having a stent removed was only sightly less worse than that day.

I got home a short while later and made my way to the bathroom, there was no sign of where the string had been and when I relieved myself there was no pain. For the first time in weeks.

So that's it, the story of the most geekiest, trippiest, not workingest Christmas ever.

But I shudder to think what Easter has in store for me.