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The Doctor Is In And Updating On My Stomach Kidney Stone Weirdness

by Alex Iwashyna

in Is It Just Me?, My Daughter, Pets, Resentments


I climbed up the bunk beds this weekend to go to the doctor’s office where I was well taken care of by Princess N and Nugget Hamburger.

Doctor Princess N and Her Doctor Cat

That’s Doctor Princess N to you.

Doctor Cat

Oh great. Doctor Nugget Hamburger Cat thinks your kidney stones are in your heart. Or this stethoscope is delicious.

However, my doctor visits didn’t end this weekend. I  went to the urologist on Tuesday because I have kidney stones. Maybe.

Background: I told Facebook on the 28th: “My stomach hurt so much this morning that I couldn’t walk for 45 minutes. I was literally sitting or crawling until I took a hot bath. WTH is happening to me? And the first person to answer “cancer” is fired.”

Y’all were so nice to me in the comments and made me feel normal enough to actually take care of it. I guess I thought I would show up with weird pain and the doctor would say: TOO WEIRD! GO HOME! (And to think I was once surprised by the patient who peed blood for 10 years before seeing a doctor about it.) Without friends to say, Hey, that happened to me. or Hey, let’s get that checked out NOW., it’s easier to pretend it will go away and never come back.

Anyway, my PCP thought it was my gallbladder but did a full abdominal ultrasound just in case. My gall bladder look fantastic but the ultrasound showed kidney stones.

On Tuesday December 4,  me, thirty-five old men and three young men went to the urologist.  He was very nice even when I hid my cup of pee behind the extra rolls of toilet paper because I was worried someone would steal it.  (I had to pee earlier than my appointment time so there were going to be many other pee-ers between me and my nurse taking my sample and I thought leaving a big cup of ALEX IWASHYNA pee on display was much stranger than hiding it behind the extra toilet paper. Potato. Potato.)

My urologist said my ultrasound imaging of the kidney weren’t good. In fact, they didn’t even get the left kidney (?) and although he did see the two “what-they-think-are-stones” stones, he felt the right kidney images weren’t great either. Also, although he has seen kidney stones present with severe upper abdominal pain and some back pain, he felt like my presentation was atypical enough that we had to keep considering other possibilities.

Blah blah blah…. I’m having a full abdominal and pelvic CT scan on Friday possibly with contrast. The point of exposing me to radiation is to visualize my kidneys better if it is stones and to rule out most other abdominal or pelvic issues.

I know it’s the right thing to do, but I wish we already had an answer. I also can’t help the deep down fear the CT scan will find something terrible so feel free to think kidney stone thoughts because I’d rather have those than where my stupid medical experiences go. Too bad cat scans don’t include cats because that would be very soothing.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan (Best of Fates) December 5, 2012 1

It would be oh-so-adorable if they had cats in there to amuse you during scans. And I know quite a few rather good radiologists, so don’t hesitate to ask and I can get you a second opinion on scans!

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Alex Iwashyna December 5, 2012 2

Thank you. And medicine really does need to be more internet like with LOLcats and MEMEs

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Leigh Ann December 5, 2012 3

I don’t have to tell you that I always think I’m dying when it turns out I have a muscle cramp. I hope it’s nothing more than kidney stones and crappy ultrasounds for you. (Does having a medical degree make you more or less anxious about these things?)

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Sarah December 5, 2012 4

I think they should have kitten/puppy rooms instead of waiting rooms. Much more amusing and relaxing than the traditional doctor’s office waiting rooms!

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Kimberly December 5, 2012 5

Hey, you’ll be able to find out if your kidney’s are boys or girls!
Either way, it sucks. Sending you pee pee pecks on the cheeks…weird. I have no idea what to say.

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Nicole December 5, 2012 6

Argh, Alex. All will be well. I, too, am a freak out-er about anything with my body. Sigh. I shall be sending all my feel good and relax vibes to you (except for the ones I need to keep so I don’t go insane).

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angela December 5, 2012 7

Here’s to kidney stones and CAT scan kitties. Fingers crossed and prayers sent and lots of positive thoughts that everything turns out ok.

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Skye December 5, 2012 8

Well, if something is wrong at least you can tell people you’re not a hypochondriac! ;) Ever since my cancer diagnosis, my friends are afraid to tell me I’m being paranoid about medical stuff. Wait… I should probably not count that as an upside. Sending best wishes- I’m going to go even further than kidney stones and hope for something completely harmless, like really painful and embarrassing gas. Also, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve had 2 instances of horrible pain (chest and abdomen) leading to medical testing and nothing ended up being wrong. So fingers crossed you really are a hypochondriac drama queen like me. ;)

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Anne@AlwaysHalfFull December 5, 2012 9

Sending kidney stone thoughts your way. I don’t have a medical degree but I always think the worst until the answer comes. I just know I will die a horrible death long before I should. Luckily so far I have been wrong.

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TheKitchenWitch December 6, 2012 10

You had a shitty ultrasound tech! I’m sorry you have to go in for a contrast CT–but I’ve had a lot of them and they aren’t TOO horrible. Gosh, I am so helpful. Sorry. Really, though, I hope everything is okay!

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Alex Iwashyna December 6, 2012 11

You are the first person to say the contrast CT scan isn’t too horrible so that’s helpful.

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Skye December 6, 2012 12

Really? I’ve had an abdominal CT with contrast and it was not that bad. They told me it would feel really weird (there were specifics but I don’t remember, like maybe I’d feel like I had to pee and/or vomit or something?) so I was super freaked out, but there were only a few seconds of feeling really cold and kind of dizzy and weird (but I was lying down obviously so it wasn’t scary) and I was like, that was it? I mean, it actually felt REALLY indescribably weird, but it seriously lasted for like 15 seconds at most and was not as bad as I had imagined. You’ll be fine :)

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Rachael Seda December 6, 2012 13

Kidney stone thoughts all the way. Thinking of you! It looks like you’re very lucky to have such great caretakers!

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Lily from It's A Dome Life December 7, 2012 14

First of all, if more doctors dressed like princesses the hospital would be a happier place.

I always assume I am dying, except when it is something serious because then I will wait until I am almost dying to go to the doctor. It’s complicated.

I am trying to understand how someone does an ultrasound of your kidneys and misses an entire kidney. How is that possible? I mean they can see what they are doing right there on the screen.

I am hoping for kidney stones. You’ll make it because you are both brave and awesome and you have cats (who might be better at ultrasounds than some of the techs) to think about while you are being scanned…and princesses…maybe unicorns too.

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Tara Morris December 8, 2012 15

I’m thinking kidney stone thoughts for you. My brother has had many CT scans with IV contrast and he said when they inject the contrast it feels like you are going to pee yourself, so you may want to wear a Depends or something. Oh, and the joys of the urologist’s office. We always feel like we are the youngest ones in there amongst the old men then when we see a young guy we immediately think testicular cancer and want to hug him. I hope you get this all sorted out soon. xoxo

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Alex Iwashyna December 9, 2012 16

Thanks Tara. I thought of y’all when I was there. I hope your brother is well enough to enjoy the holidays.

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Walt December 9, 2012 17

I had to ride the CAT scanner a couple of months ago. I share your stress. While reading your post it brought to mind that they had cat posters in the scanner room. I was so stressed I didn’t make the connection until now. Cheese and crackers!

PS: What is the secret message of “Potato,potato”?

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Alex Iwashyna December 9, 2012 18

Phonetically, it’s “po-ta-toh (long a), po-taht-toh” but I realized that, if you write them, they’re spelled the same. Plus, I like “potato, potato” (pronounced the same) just as much.

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