It’s been ten days now and my heartbeat remains in rhythm. I’m hopeful it will stay that way for a while. The doctors gave me a prescription for the blood thinner, Xarelto, which I needed to take for seven days. (Is it me, or does Xarelto sound like the villain in a sci-fi alien movie?) They also gave me an additional seven pills, to be taken the moment I go back out of rhythm.
The benefit of this pill, as opposed to Coumadin, is that you don’t need to go for blood monitoring while you’re on it. I was certainly all for that. What I wasn't “all for” was the $116 bill! And that’s after insurance! My policy covered $25 and I paid $116. I figure that’s because the insurance companies want you to be on Coumadin, because it’s dirt cheap. Bastards. $116 for 14 pills… unreal.
So, I had the cardioversion done on Monday, and I was back at work on Tuesday, none the worse for wear. I thought I was home free, but then the kidney stone pain started up again.
I was at work, and I started getting pains in the same place; my left side. It didn't make sense, because they told me I had the one stone that moved (from the left side) and two more smaller ones still in my right kidney. I was also feeling some pain along the urinary tract, so I figured the stone might be moving on from the bladder.
When I went in to take a leak, I thought the pee looked a little pinkish; then I passed what looked like a couple small, black “flakes,” which I took to be chips off the main stone.
“The Death Star” is on the move,” I thought. I told my boss and left work early. I could have taken my Percocet immediately, but since I’d never taken one before, I wasn't sure how hard it would hit me, so I didn't want to be trying to get home from work when kicked in.
Once home, I began to wonder how I would capture this stone. Obviously, I wasn't keen to just reach into the bowl. I’d probably have to cut my arm off after that. I should have stopped at Walgreens or something; I bet they have pee strainers. I didn't think Pinky would let me get away with using a kitchen colander. I considered using a coffee filter, but didn't think it would drain fast enough. Eventually, we McGuyvered something up with an unused pair of Pinky’s panty hose and an old yogurt container.
Turned out, nothing moved. I took the Perc, the pain gradually dissolved, and that was it. (There were no unusual side effects from the Percocet; it just dulled the pain.) In retrospect, I think that might have been the last gasp of the urinary tract infection the stone caused. It’s been over a week now, and I haven’t felt anything since.
When I was still at the hospital for the stone, I asked the doctor what would happen if the stone just stayed in the bladder. He said, “Nothing.” So I’m not worried. My Aunt also emailed me and told me she had the same thing happen to her, about 25 years ago… huge stone pain, that stopped when it got to the bladder, and never surfaced again.
So here I am… most guys have two balls. Some have one. Now I have three.
I’m just glad all this stuff got resolved before this upcoming weekend. Big doin’s are afoot, as Pinky and I head into The Burgh, to see a Penguins game and Pirates game, and hang with friends and family.
Naturally, I started coming down with a cold on Monday. I should be good to travel by Saturday, though. I’d better be.
Like I said, it’s been a rough April. I've just been fortunate that I've had Pinky riding shotgun with me through all of this. She’s been my advocate and crusader, part Clara Barton and part pit bull. It would have sucked to go through all this crap alone. Hospitals don’t make it easy to go through things by yourself, especially people like me who are uncomfortable asking for things or being the center of attention.
Also, I’d like to thank you for all your kind words and best wishes. I just wish I had a better ending to this medical saga for you, but I promise to let you know if I ever get any kind of “resolution.”
I’ll try to get a short post up for you from the road this weekend, and I should have the beginning of this weekend’s update on Tuesday night.