Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Well friends, it turned out to be a kidney stone, but it was quite an adventure arriving at that diagnosis.

My regular doctor ended up being unavailable for my E.R. follow up appointment, so I saw her standby doc on Monday afternoon. By that time I was starting to feel really crappy again, especially in my back and abdomen on the left side. But the doctor gave me a brief exam and told me that the pain was due to constipation caused by pain meds and possibly IBS... she prescribed Smooth Move Herbal Tea (ew, sorry) and sent me home with promises to follow up the next day with lab results and a referral to a GI specialist.

I spent that night crying in pain and taking Vicodin every three hours.

The next day I waited patiently to hear from the doctor, only to get an email in the afternoon that contained a link to some unreadable lab results and a note: "You are slightly anemic. Hope you're feeling better!"  WTF?! I was not feeling better; I was in agony and had only two pain pills left! I called the office and left a message. I called again two hours later and left another message. Finally an annoyed nurse called me back. She got me an appointment with a GI specialist for the next afternoon, and after a significant amount of arguing about the Vicodin prescription put me on the phone with the doctor. I explained that I thought I had all the signs of kidney stones and didn't think I could get through the night on only two pain pills, but she insisted that I was simply constipated and that "being uncomfortable" was normal. I should, "try a hot water bottle or some Milk of Magnesia." Again, WTF?!

Basically, she was treating me like a drug seeker and flat out refusing to refill my pain meds or consider any other possibilities about why I was in pain. I've never been so livid in my life, but there was nothing I could do. So Stew and I went to bed, terrified, at about 10:00 p.m.

At 1:00 a.m. I woke up in excruciating pain and took my second-to-last pain pill. It did nothing.

At 2:00 a.m. I took my very last pain pill as I continued to writhe and sob in pain. It did nothing.

At 3:00 a.m. we headed back to the E.R. where they pumped me full of drugs until I finally stopped screaming and puking.

Shortly after, they did a CT scan, which easily revealed the large kidney stone that had been plaguing me since Saturday morning. The E.R. doc said it had absolutely nothing to do with IBS and told me to cancel the appointment with the GI specialist. He was very irritated with the other doctor for blowing me off and planned to send her my chart so she would have it first thing in the morning (basically a "you idiot" note between doctors, he explained). I hope she got the message.

I eventually went home in a drug induced haze with prescriptions for the correct medications while I waited for the stone to pass (sorry, TMI). This luckily only took until that evening, and I immediately started to feel better.

Let me tell you... having a kidney stone is basically some of the worst pain you can experience. Many people say it's right up there with childbirth. I would definitely not wish it on even my worst enemy. Plus it is extremely scary to be in that much pain and have no one be able to tell you what's wrong. For all I knew, I was dying.

The main thing I learned from this experience is that doctor's don't know everything. In my case the doctors heard "IBS" in my medical history and immediately took that and ran with it. I knew that the pain I was having was much different than any of my typical problems, but I let the medical staff take things into their own hands because they're supposed to be the experts, right? But the bottom line is you know your body... be your own advocate! Speak up and say something when you can; it might save you a lot of pain and heartache in the end. Looking back, I should have just insisted on a CT scan at my very first E.R. visit, but  then hindsight is always 20/20. I'm just glad it's finally over!

And I do have to take a second to mention how amazing Stewart was throughout this whole experience. He calmly held my hand every step of the way and I don't know how I would have gotten through it without him. Husband of the Year Award. 

Have you ever had kidney stones?


  1. UGH!!! I am just sending so many positive thoughts your way for an easy and speedy recovery!!

  2. oh my gosh please feel better soon!! im so sorry you had to spend your weekend in this way, is it possibly the worst weekend ever?? sending healing thoughts your way!

  3. Omg! Sarah, I'm so sorry. I honestly can't stand it when nurses are annoying and useless like that. Being one, I know how much emphasis and persuasion they can place on doctors (most of the times) and should be patient advocates. I'm glad you are feeling better. So, sounds like you have child birth in the bag now ;)

  4. Omg! Sarah, I'm so sorry. I honestly can't stand it when nurses are annoying and useless like that. Being one, I know how much emphasis and persuasion they can place on doctors (most of the times) and should be patient advocates. I'm glad you are feeling better. So, sounds like you have child birth in the bag now ;)

  5. So glad you're feeling better, but what an awful ordeal for you to go through!

    I've been through something similar with doctors/nurses not listening to me (although it was not nearly as bad as a kidney stone!) and it was incredibly frustrating. Some doctors and nurses just hate to be wrong and called out about it, but like you said they don't know everything.

  6. wow! i can't believe you went through all of this and they were such shitty docs! i told you i went through stuff like that w/ abe when he was sick, they just wouldn't listen to me and I KNEW what was wrong w/ him, so he was un-necessarily sick for two weeks before I changed docs! I hate that! seems like they would have thought about it being that right away! I've head the pain is horrible and worse than childbirth, and at least when you are in labor you know what's wrong w/ you and are expecting an awesome delivery, but with this you had no idea and that's just horrible! Did they say you may have more in the future???!!!!

  7. I know EXACTLY how you felt. I had a "near death" feeling for three months and was treated like a drug seeker when I finally told the doctors that I DIDN'T want drugs but answers. My mother has been a nurse for over 20 years and after multiple doctors appointments and NUMEROUS ER visits, she insisted that I have an upper Endoscopy. LOW AND BEHOLD, I had a serious stomach infection that lead me to have over 80% of my stomach removed immediately. That left me in the hospital for a few days over a month and with a feeding tube for 42.. oh yeah, can't forget almost dying in the hospital and having collapsed lungs which lead to multiple hospital stays-- oh yeah and I got lice in the hospital. And then for a month after the surgeries (yes, two of them due to my becoming septic because the stuff they were giving me in the feeding tube leaked into my abdominal cavity), I had to go to the hospital every other day to get IV iron and blood transfusions. And while I had the lovely feeding tube for 42 days in the middle of a hot FL summer-- I could not have anything to drink, not even an ice chip. I feel your pain, love.
    (you can read about it at


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