My journey from 59 to ………

Archive for the tag “kidney stone”

Kidney stones part 2 of 3 (or how to spend New Year!)

Remember that stone, no not Darryl, that other stone that destroyed me in a way that personal training, no matter how good, has never managed to do?IMG_0397


(Very quick recap, in September I was suddenly in horrendous pain, admitted to hospital and, after a couple of nights of serious painkillers I got rid of it.)

Well, one down, but there were still two more, larger ones, lurking about and I want rid!

Having had an outpatients appointment with my consultant I was put on the waiting list for surgery and, quicker than I expected, my turn arrived.

I was originally scheduled to be operated on on 11/12/15. When the appointment came through I checked my diary, the Club One Hundred party was the next night. Although disappointed I decided that it was more important to get the stones sorted but then I found out that the First Aid training for ESAR (Essex Search & Rescue) was that weekend and missing that would delay my going ‘live’ so I rang to see if I could postpone my op.

Spoke to a very nice lady who said that was fine but that it would be next year unless, short little laugh, I wanted it done on New Year’s Eve? I think she was somewhat taken aback when I said that actually that would suit me down to the ground! (Ever since Ray came out of hospital in 1989 we have stayed in on New Year’s Eve and I usually have to wake him up to say Happy New Year so this could be quite an exciting alternative! I’ve spent a Christmas in hospital with him, now I’ll see how they do New Year!)

So I was able to go to the First Aid training which included loading people into stretchers which could be winched up by helicopters (obviously I’m going for the most dramatic bit!)

And then on to the Club One Hundred party which was a great evening!


Yesterday I went for my pre-op assessment. Now I’ve managed to avoid having any surgery before so this is going to be another first for me! I was told to report to Basildon Hospital at 1pm and to allow up to 3 hours for my visit. I resigned myself to the idea that most of that time would be spent sat around waiting to see people. I could not have been more wrong!

I arrived on time, met by a very cheerful, friendly lady in her Christmas outfitย and was given the necessary stuff to provide a urine sample! Very shortly after that a friendly nurse called me in.

She explained what would happen, got me to provide my contact details, any dietary requirements (I felt asking for ancestral food may be taking the ****) and then took my height, weight, blood pressure, temperature and then I had an ECG, more about that later!

Back into the hallway, phone out to check Facebook and ……. I was immediately called in by the pharmacist who wanted to know my allergies and medication.


Well apparently that’s a very unusual answer! Think I made his day.

I showed him the supplements I take, carry on with the Vitamin D, Zinc and Magnesium but stop the Fish Oil as it can thin your blood.

Back out and a short wait in the corridor where I kept thinking about that ECG, it looked very pretty ……..

Called in by the Sister for a complete barrage of questions. An early one was did I have Alzeheimer’s, not yet ….. Now I know why it was at the start, I wouldn’t have been able to answer the questions!

Although there were what seemed like hundreds of questions they were not asked in a tick box way. She seemed genuinely interested in what was going on (the reality must be that she is bored out of her head asking the same stuff of people all the time) and I was able to ask questions at any point, which of course I did!

“I’ve just had a tetanus jab and I’m due to start a course of Hepatitis B ones, will that be OK?”

So of course she asks why I’m having them and I say it’s because I do voluntary work in a prison and she’s surprised and we talk about that and then she goes to ask someone …….. and I sit and wait, and I think …. about that ECG …..

Back she comes, I’m not to have them two weeks either side of the op so I’ll just leave the vials in the fridge, something to look forward to later!

On with the questions, ooh your blood pressure’s good!

And then I ask …. “May I take a photo of my ECG?”

Stunned silence, nobody’s ever asked that before! Why would I want it? “Well I find things like that interesting and I write a blog and ….”

She couldn’t think of any reason why not but said she’d just pop next door to check. She obviously explained what I wanted to do and the other person asked what the ECG was like and was told it was excellent, not sure what was said next but it was followed by loads of laughter – they’ve now met me!


She kindly made me a copy, without my distinguishing details, and I’ve taken a photo!

It appears that, physically at least, I’m in pretty good shape

More questions and I warn her my father had very bad reactions to anaesthetics …. just in case …..

More questions and then we get onto the details of my admission. One blood test now then another a couple of days before the op to confirm my blood group and ‘harvest’ some extra blood in case they need to give me any. What an excellent idea. Because of the M.S. I can no longer be a donor but at least that means that a) they can save other people’s for those that need it and b) people who could but don’t donate have to provide some for themselves!

On the day I can have a light breakfast before 8 am and then only water (that’s easy)ย  except for a sort of energy drink that I have to mix up until 12 when I arrive at the, I want to say departure lounge but some may think that’s in bad taste!

After that, nothing. I will be taken from there to the op and then put on a ward somewhere, they’ll ring my brother and tell him where!

Any other questions?

“Well I’m due to be doing throw line training on the 6th January …….”



“I’m training to be a member of Search & Rescue!” Obvious really!

“I don’t think you’ll be up to that”

Will I be able to do the 2 day initial search course on the 16th Jan?”

There’s more chance but you need to remember that kidneys are delicate and that they may bleed …. Ask the Consultant and Anaesthetist when you see them”

“I hadn’t even got to the ‘When can I start training again’ย  bit ……”

Well done Basildon Hospital, keep up the good work and I’ll see you again soon :-/




I love the NHS!

On Friday I had a steroid injection in my knee (for arthritis / Bakers cyst) at Brentwood Community Hospital. 

Needles don’t bother me and I was quite relaxed about the whole thing. Linda, the physio, and I share the same sense of humour and attitude to life! 

I caught a glimpse of the needle which was quite big, but she was so efficient that I hardly felt a thing. 

After sitting in the waiting room for 10 minutes to make sure there were no reactions I left, with her warning to take things easy ringing in my ears. 

Now I was full of good intentions and decided I definitely wouldn’t go to the gym on Saturday, so I went to Bluewater. 

Driving back I was hit by a pain that I could only describe as excruciating. It was horrendous. I was trying to breathe through it, relax into it, talk through it, anything to get me home. 

I rang Ray, he finally answered, & warned him to have the front door open. I got home, raced in and picked up the phone to dial 111. 

Picture the scene, I’m doubled up in pain trying to answer the questions from the person on the phone whilst Ray is telling me to get Spin CDs up on the computer for him!!!!!! 

My answers were such that led to me being put through to a clinician who said I should go to the out of hours GP (an appointment was made for 20:20 and to take a urine sample with me) and that I could take paracetamol and ibuprofen. 

Got Ray fed, tucked him in, prepared his injections and tablets for the next day and, as I could not settle, set off early. 

Stopped en route to but him some biscuits and me some ibuprofen then got to the out of hours GP based at Basildon Hospital. I knew where that was as I’d taken Ray there a couple of years ago. 

Doctor was very pleasant, asked lots of questions then tested my sample. Now I drink loads of water and I’d been surprised at how dark it was, thought I must have been dehydrated for some reason for the previous few days but no, turned out it was blood :-/

The GP spoke to the surgeons and sent me over to A&E. Staff there were helpful but I had to wait quite a long time until I was seen. I was walking round in circles because it hurt less if I was moving. I was reaching the point where I was going to have to call for pain relief when my name was called and I went through. 

(I have no complaints about the wait, I should have probably told reception how bad it was but there were lots of other very ill people there, staff were doing their best and it is just not my way!)

Memories after that become a bit hazy. I remember seeing a doctor and saying the pain level was 8/9 (again not like me) and being given paracetamol and a diclofenic suppository! I was dubious about thus but happy to try anything at that point. It was magic! I took it just before going to X-ray for a scan and, by the time I arrived there, the pain had eased. 

I didn’t find out until later that I could only have one of these a day, I would never have thought I could look forward to having anything shoved up my bottom!

The scan confirmed all the doctors diagnoses, a kidney stone! 2.7mm in the uretha. 

Back to A&E and the really kind nurse to wait to be admitted. 

I was so relieved to be safe in the hospital and getting help with the pain that I didn’t care how long that took. 

At some point in the night the nurse took me to the Surgical Referral Unit where I was put in a room on my own. 

Time then started to rake on a surreal quality, in fact I think I ‘lost’ a day! 

Doctors explained what was wrong and that they were hoping it would pass naturally, nurses kept checking me, asking if I was in pain, taking my temperature, blood pressure etc and giving me the much needed pain relief! 

Now I’m usually very fit and healthy these days and my blood pressure is good so you can imagine my reaction when, at 6am on Sunday morning, when all I’d been doing was lying down for hours, it was recorded at 189/76!

The pain continued and I was being given liquid morphine and paracetamol which dulled it but did not stop it altogether ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

This was the  best painkiller but, as I’ve said, I could only have it once a day!


I think this, incredibly unflattering, selfie shows the state I was in!

But, as a carer, I couldn’t just think of me! 

I’d left Ray his injections for Sunday and pills for Sunday & Monday but I needed to sort out future meds and meals. 

The meals side was, relatively, easy. My wonderful next door neighbour Pat made him dinner on Sunday. 

I rang the District Nurses to explain the situation, confident that they would take over his medications until I, an unqualified, unpaid mug, oops carer, who had been doing it for 24 years was well enough to be discharged. 

I was SO wrong! The person who answered my call said they would not be able to help. 

I was gobsmacked, and I am again as I’m writing this! 

You’ve seen the state I was in, I truly cannot remember all the details about what happened. I argued and, eventually, they got a district nurse to ring me. 

She was not at all helpful or supportive. She said they were not covered to do it and hadn’t I got a neighbour or family member who could do it? I remember commenting on how they as qualified nurses couldn’t do it but that I should tell a random unqualified person to do it. She then said “Well where are your family?” In a very disapproving tone at which point I lost it. I asked her what the hell she meant and then said tell you what, let’s forget it and just let him fucking die!!!

That got a reaction, she asked me not to swear at her!

I was beside myself and shed the first (& only) tears of the whole episode!

Another, much nicer, nurse rang me later and said they were going to contact our Health Centre to ask the doctors to ask them to do it. 

Exhausted I went back to my pain / morphine / paracetamol haze …….. The phone rang again later … Ray ….. but when I answered it was a doctor ringing from my house to talk to me about what dosages he should have so that she can tell the nurses. 

Now, as his blood sugars can vary between 1.3 and off the scale I vary the dose, but they can’t do that? 

Still, at least I could stop worrying about it. 

Bacon the good stuff ………

I cannot praise Basidon Hospital enough. 

There was a good choice of food

I was going on and off nil by mouth as they debated whether to operate but meals were ordered up for me and prepared the minute I was allowed to eat. 

I was checked regularly and pain relief was given quickly when I asked for it. 

I remember at one point being asked if I was in pain and saying that I honestly didn’t know any more!!!

By midnight on Sunday, after continuous pain, and no sleep since Friday   I asked for, and was given, a sleeping tablet, but by 4 a.m. the pain was bad enough to wake me up again, that was the end of sleep! 

I was getting very good at sucking the very last drop out of the morphine syringe! Anything I was offered I grabbed! 

Another examination by the doctors ….. back on nil by mouth, preparations made for an operation to fit a stent. 

The pain, despite 2 lots of morphine and paracetamol was unbearable and I was walking round the room more to distract myself than anything else. Then I went for a wee, looked back and thought ‘what’s that?’ 

I could see a bit of grit in the toilet bowl, it was still there after I’d flushed but the pain had eased so I grabbed it, took it to the nurses and asked if it could be significant!

I cannot believe how something so tiny could destroy me!

I’ve now got to do some praising!

Everybody I came across at the hospital were brilliant! The nurses, the support staff, the doctors, the radiologist, the cleaners ….. everybody! I could not have been treated better!

But not only me, I saw the care that was given to other patients especially a group of Alzheimer’s patients including Annie (not her real name) an articulate, intelligent, argumentative woman with kleptomaniac tendencies. Although in my hazy state she gave me some amusement she must gave been driving all of you mad but you were amazing with her!

All the Facebook comments. The text messages and offers of help (you know who you are) were much appreciated. Thanks guys!

I must also thank brother Nigel and, even more, my sister in law Renei who brought me stuff in, shopped for me, sorted out Ray’s tablets, are a meal with him and took me home with her and thoroughly spoiled me before I returned home on Tuesday. 

Recovery is taking some time and I’m still taking paracetamol but that’s enough!

 I have had to accept that I can’t go to the riot training / control and restraint day that I’ve been looking forward to for years ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 

I’ve also said I can’t do the search dog assessment on Saturday ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

My knee has benefited from the rest tbough and feels great ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

From tomorrow we are going to practice Ray doing his own meds. We obviously need to be self sufficient!
Best comment I have received – had to be added ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ


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