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Holmium Laser Lithotripsy or (Kidney Stone Blaster!) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ross Cavins   
Sunday, 15 March 2009 18:00

kidney stones This past week, I had my bi-annual kidney stone attack.  Only, this attack was a culmination of a bunch of small attacks that have happened over the last few months. 

It finally got to the point where I couldn't keep anything down (read: upchuck) and I decided to call my urologist.

It happened Sunday night after I had scheduled my Pork Laxative blog for Monday morning distribution.  In fact, it happened ALL Sunday night.  I slept about 2 hours because the pain had me up and ambulatory (read: moving around like a Gypsie, no offense intended).

Latin word alert:  Ambulare - to walk or move about, which is a reference to early medical care where patients were moved by lifting or wheeling.

In the morning, I called into work that I would be there around noon.  Noon came and I realized that this attack wasn't letting up.  Hence, I called the urologist.

He got me in on an emergency visit, squeezing me between appointments that obviously weren't as important as mine.  We did the KUB (read: X-ray) and found that there were four stones stuck in my ureter, the tube that empties your kidney to the bladder. 

Now, my ureter is larger than most (yes, I said that) because in 2002, I had a Double-J Stent in me for six weeks between regular Lithotripsies .  It irritated my ureter (like a grain of sand irritates an oyster, only completely different) and in response, my ureter expanded to avoid the irritation.

A normal person can pass a 2mm to 3mm kidney stone but I can now pass at least a 5x7mm stone (which I did a few years ago).  Looking at my current KUB, my doc noticed I had a 5mm stone embedded in my ureter holding up three smaller stones behind it.  Somehow, this 5mm stone had gotten lodged in place.  He said my kidney probably hadn't drained since it got stuck there.  Which means, since this last series of bouts began.

Which means ... that kidney had urine about 2-3 months old.  Nice picture.  Anyone for lemonade?

So, because the stones were located where they were, at the entrance to the bladder, he suggested the Holmium Laser Lithotripsy in favor of the normal Lithotripsy.  I concurred.

This is where they go up in me with a laser and blast the little buggers to smithereens by touching the laser filament to them and firing away.

Because they didn't accept my crappy little insurance, this advice cost me $309 instead of a $20 co-pay.  You may now let go of the breath you just sucked in.

Tuesday morning, I went to the hospital, got knocked out by Versed (a lovely little drug), was operated on, and woke up completely refreshed and ready to attack the world.  Then it was revealed to me that I had a Double-J Stent inside me, even though the doc promised he wouldn't do that unless it was absolutely necessary.

This Monday, as you read this, I will be visiting his office for him to remove the stent.  Three hints how this is done:  1) There are no incisions, 2) They don't knock me out, and 3) They use a long, thin flexible video camera with little grabby hooks on the end.

Yeah, you get the picture.  I will be violated.  The last time this happened, I got to use the stirrups the women use when they visit.  Then I got my little guy novacained with a very large needle, twice.  And then, as a beautiful nurse assisted, the doc went up in my boy and yanked out the stent. 

I yowled like a pimple-faced girl dumped at the prom.

I also left gouge marks in the wallpaper. 

The only good things out of this are 1) By my X-ray, there are no more stones in me, and 2) the Holmium Laser Lithotripsy was performed at the hospital, so it's covered because they take my crappy little insurance.

The bad news is that the operation will still probably cost me over $2000.

But wait, I just got an amazing idea!  I think I'll invent the latest round of cool FaceBook video games.  Kidney Stone Blaster! TM - Sound like a hit to you?  Sound like $2000 worth of a hit?  Plus $309 shipping and handling, of course.

For more up-to-date informaton on kidney stones that will blow some of the myths all to hell (like stop drinking milk and do drink cranberry juice), visit here:  The Free Library.

Update (Nov 2, 2012): The hospital took my insurance, but the insurance DENIED my claim saying I had pre-existing conditions. As of today, I have finished paying off the cost of the Lithotripsy and companion Radiology screens. You don't want to know how much I paid.

 

 
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