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I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

"This is Your Life": A Kidney Stone Komedy

I've been trying real hard to keep a positive attitude about all that has happened this weekend, but I gotta tell's getting tougher with each passing moment.  I look back on the events of the past couple of days and can't help but think that it would make a great movie.  What a comedy of errors.  I would go see it.  Just not sure I'm enjoying living it right now. ;-)  I try to keep perspective and I realize that this is nothing in light of eternity and that things could be far, far worse.  Holding on to that attitude keeps me grateful and hopeful.  Truly, we are very blessed.  So, as I share with you our story and our struggles over the past few days, I want to be sure that you understand beforehand that this is not meant to be a pity party.  I don't want you to leave this post thinking I'm just a perpetual complainer or pessimist or that I don't appreciate just how good I've got it.  I see myself as quite the opposite.  There's always a ray of sunshine somewhere, a silver lining to every cloud, and a blessing among any storm.  Honestly, despite everything that's ever happened to me over the course of my entire life, I've been given the most precious gift of all and one that I could never earn or repay...the love of God and the hope of eternity with Him.  This post is really meant more for comedy's sake and to help me regain my sense of humor.  It's truly uncanny to me just how much has been thrown at us since Friday.  Yet even among the chaos, there have been precious moments of joy and laughter which I will also soon share.  Having said that, here's the story...

Justin called me from work shortly after 11 a.m. on Friday and asked if I would bring him the heating pad and ice pack for his back.  He was having some pain and a coworker had given him some ibuprofen but the pad and pack would certainly bring further relief.  I obliged (although I couldn't find the heating pad so he would have to settle for the Thermacare patches I found instead) but must confess that I was silently thinking to myself, "I'm sure his back is hurting but I can't believe it would be that bad.  He probably just wants to see us and this was a good excuse."  In fact, once Sadie and I got there, he looked fine.  He didn't wince in pain.  We even went for a walk around campus together during his lunch break.  Then, Sadie and I left right after that.

As I was leaving "The Barkin' Barn" an hour later (a great thrift shop in Searcy, by the way), one of Justin's coworkers calls to tell me that she thinks Justin needs to go to the doctor, he seems to be in a lot of pain, and to please come pick him up.  So, me and my little traveling companion get there as quickly as we can.  I pulled up as close to the back door as possible, turned on the hazards, left the car running and Sadie in her car seat.  I called Justin's office thinking maybe he could meet me at the door and I'd walk him to the van from there.  Katie, his coworker who had called earlier, answered the phone which was my first clue that this was something more serious.  That number is Justin's direct line.  Only he ever answers.  I asked if I needed to come get him and she said she thought that was best.  Second clue-check!  I was not prepared for what I saw when I entered his office, though.  He was lying on the floor surrounded by 3 or 4 female coworkers, who were wondering what on earth they should do to help this man.  Could he get up on his own?  Were we women going to be able to get him to his feet if he couldn't?  Should we even try to move him or do we need to just call an ambulance?  One thing was crystal clear...he definitely needed to see a doctor.  We were able to get him up and in the van without having to call the paramedics.  That's when I noticed the small trash can that Launa placed in the front seat with him.  He was nauseous too?  What's going on?

Sweet Launa kept Sadie with her at work and watched our boys once they got out of school too, after sweet Sarah picked them up and brought them to her, then dropped them off at our friend, Meredith's house where they spent the next 24 hours.  I can't say enough how truly blessed we are to have such wonderful friends.  This has been such an humbling experience to have so many Christian friends willing to offer their time and services at the spur of the moment and indefinitely, particularly on a Friday afternoon.  Thank you, ladies (and Steve)!  How do we ever repay you?

It was left up to me whether to take Justin straight to the emergency room or to go to Sherwood Urgent Care instead.  I opted for Sherwood because #1-it seemed closer than the hospital and #2- I thought he might be seen faster.  In hindsight, I think I made the wrong choice but it was a tough call.  There's no guarantee that things would have gone any smoother if we'd gone straight to the ER either.  I pulled up to the front doors, left the car running, and helped Justin inside.  A worker met us at the door, Justin headed straight for the couch, and I tried to get him checked in as quickly as possible.  After giving the receptionist his name and DOB, I went to move the van to a parking space.  It literally probably took me less than 30 seconds to do this but by the time I got back, Justin was lying on the floor in the lobby, having wrinkled the rug in the process.  I walked in just in time to see and hear the receptionist peer down at him and ask, "You more comfortable on the floor?"  She looked a little annoyed but to her credit, asked if he needed anything.  After Justin mentioned feeling nauseous, she quickly supplied not just one but two barf bags.  (I think she really values that rug. ;))  There were a couple of other people in the lobby at this time, but not many.  Of course, everyone was staring.  Having a child with Asperger's Syndrome, I'm used to occasional stares whenever there is a public meltdown or Jackson's lack of self-awareness or inhibition leads him to do things that "stand out" among the neurotypical crowd so it didn't really bother me.  I would probably have stared too.  It's not every day that you see a grown man writhing around on the floor in pain...unless, perhaps if you're a nurse or physician. ;)

There are benefits to making a scene like that, you get a room pretty quickly. ;)  In a matter of moments, two nurses appeared with a wheelchair, managed to move my husband from the floor to the chair, and whisk him back to a room.  By the time they got him on the table, he was in serious pain.  I don't know how long the pain lasted but it felt like forever and it just kept getting worse.  Before it was over, Justin had spoken words that I'm not sure I'd ever heard him speak, we were both crying, and he was slightly rude to one of the nurses.  {I say 'slightly' because, in his defense, she did seem to be asking the same questions over and over again, just in a variety of different ways...and he wasn't trying to be rude.  He just kept saying, "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" in anticipation of her next question (which, again, sounded much like the one before it).  I don't think she appreciated that very much.  On the other hand, I don't think she appreciated the amount of pain he was in at the time either.}  They never did give him any pain medicine. (sigh)

They did some blood work and took a urine sample.  Labs were normal but there was a little blood in the urine sample and they could tell he was slightly dehydrated.  Next, they did a CT scan and found a 4mm stone.  By the time we received the results from the scan, the worst of Justin's pain had subsided, although it was by no means gone.  The nurse told us that it was a "medium-sized" stone, sometimes passable, sometimes not and left it up to us whether we wanted to have him admitted into the hospital and see the on-call urologist who would decide whether or not a lithotripsy was needed, or go home with medications and try to pass it that way.  After talking with her a bit more, we opted for the hospital stay.  There were, what we think, very important pieces of information that were not shared with us (perhaps unintentionally) that, had we known, would have probably persuaded us to try the home option first.  It would have been helpful to know that they do not perform these procedures over the weekend.  It would have been helpful to know that even if they did, they would first need the official "radiologist-signed" report of the CT scan in order to know where the stone was and how best to treat it.  It would have been helpful to know that the emergency clinic doesn't have their own radiologist so the results are sent off, and being the weekend, would not be signed until Monday at the earliest.  We've acquired bits and pieces of this information since being admitted, most of which we learned just today.  To say that I'm a little upset about this would be an understatement.

Justin was finally in a room around 6:30 Friday evening.  At that point, we were both under the impression that we would be seeing the on-call urologist shortly and would soon get an idea of when he could have the procedure done.  It was after 10:30 the following morning before we ever laid eyes on the urologist.  But before I go there, let me tell you what happened to me when I went home to gather a few clothes for the night.  I run home, pack the bag, hop in the won't start.  I unplug the car charger, turn off the air-conditioning and try again.  Still won't start.  Ordinarily, Justin's car would also be available, but I had picked him up from work to take him to the clinic, so "Vicky" was still in the Harding faculty parking lot.  Thank you, Lord, for wonderful neighbors!  I asked for a jump start but neither of us had cables so Rick cleaned my battery cables to see if that would help.  It started, we all rejoiced, exchanged phone numbers in case I had further problems and I drove off...about 50 feet.  Engine dies again, power steering is gone and I am left trying to coast (and turn) this monstrosity into the first available parking space...which just happens to be a handicapped spot.  (Aren't you envious of my life right now??  Wouldn't you love to be me in this moment?? ;))  Oh!  And did I mention that there is also something quirky going on with our mobile phone that keeps us from being able to find phone numbers in our address book?  Do you have your friends' phone numbers memorized?  I don't.  I guess I need to go back to the old school method and start carrying a written one around least until I've memorized a few more phone numbers. ;)  Even so, there are many blessings to note here:
  1. I had Liliana's (my neighbor) phone number.  She had already offered to take me wherever I needed to go and she drove me to pick up our car so I wouldn't be stranded once I got to the hospital.
  2. I was still in the complex parking lot and not on any major road when this happened.  (It was pitch dark by this time.)
  3. I still had another working vehicle that I could retrieve when this happened.  
  4. Even if my neighbor hadn't been around or offered to help, our friend Mandy had also called to check on me and offered me a ride.  
  5. Thank goodness for facebook, which given our phone problems became a much needed and useful form of communication.
See?  The Lord worked it all out.  No problem. :)

Two friends of ours, Dana and Dennis, also came to visit Justin Friday night.  Guys really crack me up with the way they think.  I kind of felt like a 5th wheel a couple of times, being the only female in the room, but the conversation was so great!  Dennis whips out his phone to get online and see what is the largest kidney stone that was ever passed.  Would a girl ever think to do this?  I venture to say, not many.  So, there was much research on all things "kidney stone" that night, complete with pictures.  You are opening another window to search for yourself now, aren't you?  Here, let me save you the trouble of searching. :)  My favorite line was, "A smooth, small stone passes through the ureter more easily than a larger, jagged one."  Really?!  Shocking!  I mean, are we so stupid in America now that we need this information written down?  We couldn't figure this out on our own? LOL  Still, it was great for a laugh!

Now back to the urologist, he asked us if Justin had a CT and if we had been given a copy of it.  Up until this point, we were under the impression that they already had it.  Nope.  So, he orders an x-ray to see if he can spot the stone that way.  We found out today that the x-ray was essentially useless.  The stone couldn't be seen. :/

When we learned yesterday that the hospital doesn't do lithotripsies over the weekend (and therefore, knew that it wouldn't be happening that day, which was kind of what I'd been waiting around for), we decided that it was time to relieve Meredith and Steve of the kids.  None of them had seen either of us in over 24 hours and for the boys, even longer than that.  Plus, Jackson was reciting scripture in front of the congregation with his class the next morning (today) and I didn't want him to miss it...and I didn't want to miss seeing it.  Let alone that they didn't have an overnight bag there or anything.  So I picked them up, went through the McDonald's drive-thru (That was a sight, seeing me get in and out of the car in the drive thru since our windows don't roll down.  Can you picture it?  Good thing I don't embarrass easily, huh? ;)), and then took them by the hospital to see their Daddy before going home.

We said a prayer before we left just like we do at home and Jackson's prayer was so sweet that night.  "Dear God, thank you for Daddy's tube that shoots water up his arm to make him feel better.  Amen."  Those are the moments that help you get through the uglier ones.  Laughter really is the best medicine (although Justin would argue that morphine is pretty good too ;)).  I'm reminded so often of just how important humor is.  Just think how depressing this world would be without it.

Today was another humdinger of a day but I'll have to save that story for tomorrow.  I've already written a novel as it is, I'm tired, and chances are only a small percentage of you actually read all of this post anyway.  (If you are one of the select few, many thanks!!)  Until then, goodnight and be blessed! :)

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