First Kidney Stone, Kidney Stent Experience
In early Dec 2013 I woke up one morning with what I thought was back pain along my left flank, not too severe but annoying. As the day went on, the pain remained but I began thinking the pain felt a bit more internal than a back muscle. It seemed to be located about belly button high but very deep and left. I started surfing "abdominal pain left side" and noted what organs might be located on the mid left abdomen... as I was beginning to suspect gall bladder, appendix or kidney stone but wasn't sure of the location of each.
I began to suspect Kidney stone but (stubbornly, as my wife would say) did not go in for another 2 days hoping it would pass. Finally the pain drove me to the emergency room in the evening.
Surprisingly, I got right in for examination, (having been used to typical ER hours wait, I guess they take such symptoms as I had more seriously than cough/cold/flu).
The ER did a cat scan which clearly showed a 5 mm stone stuck a couple inches down the tube to the bladder. The doc told me it was right at the limit of size which could likely be passed and since I had symptoms for several days it should probably be treated by a urologist (they also noted I had pneumonia in my lungs...nice double whammy). I got some antibiotics for the pneumonia and they scheduled me to see a urologist the next day.
The urologist nurse called me the morning before my appointment and told me that the doc had decided from my cat scan and blood work, which indicated 15% kidney function loss, that I would need a kidney stent ASAP and set up an afternoon slot that day to do it.
I went under and the stent was placed. As I was recovering, the doc told me the stent procedure was good and what to expect (blood in urine, discomfort, etc.). I went home after urinating (bloody as he had indicated) with a prescription for Roxcet (Percocet?) for pain.
For the next 3 plus weeks the stent was my often noticeable companion. Some Stent observations:
For me the stent was not a source of pain EXCEPT when urinating. It felt like a pressure vacuum when relieving myself which resulted in cramping along my side, maybe a 5 on the pain scale (10 max). I found sitting down while going (to urinate) substantially alleviated this cramping.
When doing daily routines the stent was not too much trouble, no issues bending or lifting, but it would flare with crampy pain now and then. The drugs I mentioned worked pretty well to tamp this down as needed.
My body seemed to adapt to the stent after about a week and cramp episodes hardly ever happened
(except during urination, this never went away).
Back to the saga - I had some X-rays done in prep for lithotripsy (blast the stone via ultrasonic waves) which showed the stone back in my kidney! Evidently the Stent placement had pushed the stone loose and up into the kidney again. The doc said it was not a problem since lithotripsy could be done anyway, so I went under about a week after the stent was placed, to blast the stone away.
But......after awakening, the doc told me he was not sure the stone broke up and was leaving the stent while they assessed further. More X-rays were inconclusive because the stone was not clearly seen in my kidney. About a week later, I went through a 2nd lithotripsy, where the doc had to abandon the procedure and use some sort of wanded (I think?) ultrasonic tool which finally broke my ultra-hard stone into 2 pieces, which he was able to remove.....at the cost of substantial bruising to my tube. So another stent went in for another week to allow healing time for my tube with a regime of antibiotics.
Interestingly, a couple days later I returned to the ER in extreme pain (9 on 10 scale) in my bladder and side. This came upon me for no apparent reason, starting as a growing urgent constant need to urinate, which after a couple hours turned to pain, dull but intense, much worse than the original stone pain. My wife drove me to the ER where I did the usual blood/urine sample tests, while they gave me morphine for the pain, which finally did fully alleviate the pain after an hour or so.
They could not find any cause, attributing it to "spasms" around the stent. They gave me a prescription for morphine type narcotic in case it happened again and sent me home.
A couple days later I felt the same thing happening with intense constant need to urinate with no apparent trigger. I took a narcotic pill and this stopped it. Only thing in common both times was it started about an hour after I ate dinner?
Anyway, to close this down, I had the final stent removal about a week after the stone removal, but for some reason the doc did not give me a couple days antibiotics as he had before and sure enough, I got a raging Urinary tract infection within 36 hours. Stubbornly being sick of seeing doctors and hospitals I waited a day longer than I should have to go in and was really ill with fever and nausea when I finally got some antibiotics. It took 4 days for me to get close to normal again but I have made it through the worst 30 days of my life so far.
I will do what I can to avoid another kidney stone.