I had taken 3 days of vacation from work so I could go to the NTASHA show with Sport. As you know from my last post, we decided he was just not ready for it, so I stayed home...well sort of.
I decided to take a short trip to Fredericksburg TX. This is a place dear to my heart as I have many fond memories of climbing Enchanted Rock with my parents and my children....and so much fun shopping in the quaint little German town with my Mom. Mom passed away 6 years ago and I lost my Dad over a year ago. I went by myself leaving on Friday morning. That evening I walked through the town and visited all my Mom's favorite shops, grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to the same cozy hotel we always stayed in for the night so I could get up early to climb Saturday morning.
That evening I got a call from my youngest daughter, Joy. She told me that once again, she had a kidney stone, but not to worry because one of her frineds was with her. Joy has suffered from kidney stones since she was 18 and had to have that first one of the 6 she has had since, surgically removed.
All through the night her friend sent me text messages updating me on her progress. They spent most of the evening at a 24 hour emergency clinic. Assuring me that everything was fine, I awoke very early Saturday morning, packed up my car and drove out to Enchanted Rock. I was the first to start the climb. There was an air of excitment as I churned my way up the face of the granite. I am sure I made the best time ever, somewhere between 20 to 30 minutes. At the top, I thanked God for giving me such amazing parents. I wanted to watch the sun rise, but a heavy haze and clouds obstructed the view. Still, it was very beautiful...serene and very quiet as I was up there all by myself.
I started my descent...and the tears started to roll down my cheeks. Funny - as a child, I would complain al the way up the rock and get all excited when I knew we were done climbing and on our way down. As an adult, sorely missing my parents, it was completely opposite. I sat on a park bench for a few minutes at the bottom before I climbed into the car for the trip home.
...so much for this being a short version of what has happened over the last 2 weeks!
An hour into my 5 hour trip home and my phone rang. It was Joy. She was alone at home and still in a lot of pain. I told her I was on my way straight to her house.
I walked in finding her unable to straighten up, in a tremendous amount of pain and gagging with dry heaves. I knew instantly she needed to go back to the clinic for stronger IV medication and IV fluids as it was very apparent she was getting dehydrated.
4 hours later, 1 bag of fluids and 2 doses of pain and anti nausia medicine, we again were on our way back to Joy's house. I stayed with her that night. Joy slept for about 5 hours before awaking to pain on the OTHER SIDE of her abdomen. I scooped her up and back to the emergency clinic we went.
A second cat scan revealed the unimaginable. Not only did she now have a kidney stone on each side, one in each ureter, but both were stuck in the ureters and would have to be surgically removed. Thank God the clinic doctor recognized that many Urologists do not do surgery on Sundays and sent us to a hospital with a recomendation to one that did. Unbenounced to any of us, Joy was going into kidney failure.
It is a unnerving thing to follow an ambulance to the hospital when your child is the patient...but that is the exact position I was in. Because she had already been assessed at the clinic and was coming via ambulance, when we arrived at the hospital, the check-in process was very minimal. She was in a room in less than 15 minutes. I was impressed.
Because Joy was so dehydrated, it was almost impossible to get any blood drawn from her and the tiny IV cathater had to be replaced with a larger one prior to her surgery. My poor girl was a human pin cusion and the nurses were literly digging in her arms trying to hook a vein until she was bawling in my arms. I felt totally helpless. Expressing my concern to the staff yielded a solution. I walked down to the surgical suite as they pushed Joy on the gurney. I stood beside her as the Anesthesialogist gave her a drug that put her fast to sleep prior to changing out the IV port to the larger one.
I waited in the waiting room when Don arrived. Her surgery lasted less than an hour. Her Urologist was very personable. He emerged from behind the locked doors with photos in hand. Sitting down with us, he described the procedure and how 'unique' Joy's physical condition was... calling it the "Perfect Storm" of his profession. He advised he put a stint in each of her ureters that would need to be removed a week from Tuesday.
The minute Joy arrived back in her room, she was trying to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. I obliged......every hour on the hour.....as now her kidneys were gushing urine out of her body! Although aloof from the anesthesia, Joy was accutely aware of her huge appetite. She ate a full dinner and tried to call and order breakfast at 9PM, thinking it was 9AM! Add to that was the unique piece of furniture available to me since I was going to spend the night. It was a hard chair covered in a cold vinyl plastic, that stretched out ...but did not quite lay totally flat. It was a piece of furniture that screamed, "Yes ..you can stay....but we don't really want you to!" It was a long night....to say the least!
Mid-morning Monday, we were released to go home. Neither of us had any extra clothes, so gathering what we had was quick and easy. We dropped off her prescriptions at the pharmacy and headed back to her house. She was exhausted, her arms were green and purple from the wrists to her elbows, especially around any injection site.
I stayed with Joy that night. We watched movies, we talked about everything under the sun and when she rested, I tried to help out by doing some chores and shopping. Although I did not think she was ready to go back to work, I did feel she was okay to leave, so Tuesday morning, I gathered my things and went home. Peace at last...... or so I thought...
Wednesday morning, Joy called me again in tears. I could barely understand her. Her right arm, the arm that had obviously been so compromised with so many failed attempts at intravenius injections was not only in intense pain, but she was now experiencing numbness in it. I told her to call both her Urologist and her General Practioner who is also a family friend. Both doctors told her to go back to the emergency clinic and have them do an ultrasound on it.
Back into my car, I found myself heading back to Joy's. I picked her up and dropped her off at the clinic. While they were doing the ultrasound, I left to pick up Joy's dog, who was at the vet getting neutered. I dropped Jax off at Joy's house and went back to the clinic. The results were in, Joy had a blood clot in her arm. Joy burst into tears telling me she could not do it anymore. She cried harder when she found out she had to go back to the hospital and even harder when I told her she would have to stay for several days. When I had a moment to be alone, I just stood there dumbfounded. Before I knew it, I was once again following an ambulance containing my youngest child, to the hospital.
This time, she was wheeled right into a room .... where we were to stay for the next several days. This room was smaller. We had to share a bathroom with another patient in the next room and there was no shower. On the bright side... the room was freezing cold, there was not a thermastat and I got to cozy up on the same vinyl chair monster I had wrestled with before. Ahhh - but no sleep was to be had that night. Despite the complications it had already caused, a larger IV port had to be inserted into her arm so they could do a contrast dye test .....promptly at 1:30AM. The tech doing the test had quite a sense of humor - referring to the stints visible on the scan as "bad boys".
Immediatley, they started Joy on abdominal injections 2 X a day along with a pill usually reserved for our Grand Parents called Coumadin. This drug she will have to stay on for the next 3 months. When asked, Joy's doctor was calling for her to stay in the hospital until at least Sunday...4 days...unless that is, she was able to give herself the shots.
"No way.. I can't do that!" she said with a grimice on her face.
"What if you release her into my care?" I offered. "Can she go back to the farm with me and I will give her the injections?" Without taking a breath, I offered my out of date credentials of being a former surgical tech and giving my husband the same type of injections for the treatment of Hepatitis C. She looked at Joy and asked her if this is what she wanted. Joy's head nodded with the intensity of a bobble head. She wanted to leave that hospital as much as I wanted to come home. So after 2 nights stay in Hotel Hell, we packed up and were on our way to the farm.
That was Friday morning. It is Sunday evening now. I just gave Joy her second to last injection. She says they sting, but that I give them in a way that the needle does not hurt at all.
I go back to work tomorrow full time... Joy will go a half a day. It sure is going to seem uneventful.......I HOPE!