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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A kidney stone and the US health care system at work

It's been a trying week.  I want to thank ALL of you that gave me your well wishes on my health issue last week - I really needed your prayers!  Since several of you asked I thought I'd explain what happened.  So, this is NOT a crafty post, but it's not gory either.  I'll have the winner and a crafty post tomorrow.

First, I woke up with a start on Monday....that's a week ago Monday....at about 5:50 a.m. with some pain.  At first, I thought it was 'womanly' pains, but I don't have those anymore....thank you Mirena....I was confused.  Then it got WORSE.  After vomiting and moaning....screaming....with pain for 45 minutes....while my dear, wonderful husband took care of the girls....I crawled back into bed covered in sweat, but the pain had lowered.  I realized what it was - a kidney stone. 

I had a kidney stone in my early 20's,  just one, and that passed in a 1 - 4 hour episode.  The memory of that pain was 'burned'....engraved, tattooed, stamped, etched, carved....into my memory.  But unlike the one 20 years ago, I had 2 more episodes that day.  Hummmm....that was different.  Next, 3:33 a.m. Tuesday, in the bathroom again, vomiting and in MAJOR pain.  By the grace of God, my in-laws are in town.  DH called them to watch the kids and we were off to the ER.  Now when I say ER, I mean the luxury 'boutique' hospital that opened a few  years back.  Bouns - quick ER times...it was 3 am after all....Little did we know, that choice would make this experience last 3 weeks longer.

....They give you excellent pain meds in the ER just so you know....   After ushering me into a private ER room with personal escort, they took blood, had me pee in a cup and ordered 'films'.  One $$$$ CAT scan later showed that I had a 7MM stone that was wedged in my urethra just below my kidney....nothing was getting by that sucker....  The ER doctor said it was a 'good size' stone and 3 hours later, we were heading back home with prescriptions and a 'referral'.  LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE.   Here's why I say that....

If we had gone to a bigger, well staffed hospital, they would have scheduled the stone removal as soon as a urologist could consult and an OR was available.  We know I didn't go that route, so allow me to continue my story....

I slept the rest of the Tuesday while my hubby worked a 12 hour shift and my in-laws took care of the kids....thank you....  I called first thing Wednesday morning for an appointment with the urologist the hospital referred us to, it was scheduled Thursday at 1:30 p.m..  I had 2 more episodes that day. 

Thursday, I felt pretty good!  On a scale of 1-10, I was a 6-7....episodes are generally 9.5-10....and pain was controlled with the pain meds the ER doc gave me.  I talked with the urologist and he took another set of 'films'.....this time just x-rays..... and it confirmed the size and the fact that it hadn't moved - at all.  Remember when I said I had a 7MM stone?  That is actually is more than DOUBLE the normal size of a kidney stone, much to large to pass on its own. .....THIS is when a real hospital would schedule an OR.... The doctor discussed my options....sonic waves vs. laser vs. retraction....and he suggested doing the Lithotripsy, aka: sonic wave treatment.  Cool....easy and painless....he shuffled me off to the scheduler, she took my number and said she'd call before 5 p.m.  with my treatment time, it was currently 3:15 p.m.  At 4:50 p.m., she called.  I was scheduled for 11:30 on TUESDAY....yes, that was 5 days away from then....  Here's how the conversation went from there:

     Me: TUESDAY?  You mean I have to go through the weekend with this pain?
     Nurse:  Yes.
     Me:  5 days....vomiting pain....
     Insensitive nurse:  Well.... he gave you a prescription for pain meds.
     Me:  Yes, but that doesn't take away the pain....
     Stupid, insensitive nurse:  You can take more than 1 pill if you're hurting or go back to the ER for a pain shot.
     Me:  IF I'm hurting?....by this time I'm in tears....


That's when I took my health care into my own hands.  My brother-in-law works as a nurse at the hospital we should have gone to and gave me the name of a urologist  with offices in the same building as the hospital.  Since it was after 5pm, I had to wait and call Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. when the office opened.  I explained my situation, how I got their number and that I was desperate for their help.  The doctor had procedures planned starting at 11:00 that day, and if I could get in right away he could see me.  I checked in at 9:50 am, while having an episode with hubby and 3 year old in tow.  After waiting 2.5 hours....he did have to squeeze me in....and 2 episodes later, I must have looked quite terrible, 'cause he admitted me immediately....without seeing any 'films'.... and put me on his surgery schedule for that day.  I finally got into the OR at 5:00 p.m.  What he discovered was that my stone, didn't want to leave me.  It had wedged itself into a curve of my urethra and was blocking  my kidney off from extracting all the loveliness that kidneys extract.  After 5 attempts with lasers and scopes, a hole in my urethra and a stint, he was finally able to get it out.....I love him, really, love....  This whole experience will be over in 3 weeks when I can get the stint removed.

What I learned from this experience:
First: Go to a real hospital ER, even if it's filled with drug addicts and crazy people and you have to wait for hours.  They will have all the things needed to help you.  Had I gone to the real hospital on Tuesday, I would have had the Lithotripsy done that day.  Since I didn't get in until late Friday, the machine was unavailable.

Second:  You are your best advocate.  If you don't like the answer  you are getting from one doctor, go to another one.

Third:  Drugs in moderation are your friend.  Especially if you're at a level 9-10.  Use them.

Finally:  Stupid, insensitive nurses should all be forced to experience long, drawn out pain without meds.  ....perhaps bamboo shoots under their nails....Only for my entertainment and satisfaction.  That's all.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Midnight - tonight!

The date for the end of the giveaway was a little mixed up, so I'm extending my blog hop giveaway of the Paper Crafts Magazine Card Creations:Get Inspired issue until midnight tonight!  Keep making those comments on my original post here so I can include you in the list.  See you all tomorrow with the winner!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Paper Crafts magazine presents Card Creations:Get Inspired Blog Hop

Happy Holidays Blog Hop Peeps!  I can't believe it's already December!....where does the time go?....  It's an exciting month isn't it?  Card Creations: Get Inspired, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years....Did I mention Card Creations: Get Inspired?  That's the news I've been waiting to tell you about!

It's an all new publication from Paper Crafts based on their very popular Get Inspired column featuring cards inspired by everyday things.  Like shoes, throw pillows, shoes, sweaters, mirrors, shoes, plates and cups, jewelry....did I mention shoes?....the list goes on.  I bet you didn't realize there's so much around you to inspire fantastic paper creations?  I had SO much fun creating for this issue....photos are my favorite things to inspire my creative side.... They gave us 40 different photos of typical things you'd find, well, anywhere, and asked for literal and interpretive creations inspired by them.  I tried to make 2 for each all the photos....80 total.....BUT..... I only got 35 done....tee hee....  It was SO much fun!  Some were really easy to create from, but others were really hard.  I found the literal creations the easiest to make on most of them, however my favorite creations were the ones I took creative licence with.

Now here we are today!  I was one of the lucky ones invited to participate in Paper Crafts, Card Creations: Get Inspired blog hop!  Our challenge today was to take a photo of something from our own home to inspire a new creation.  Since I am a decorator and have loads of homes I help out for the holidays, I decided I HAD to use my holiday mantle as my inspiration for my creation for this....its so glittery and sparkly....I love it!  There is NOTHING I love more than to over-stuff my mantle with fabulous ornaments, each sparkly and gorgeous....*yum*....

I don't use tradtional color combos for my holiday decor, and have used it to inspire other paper creations....check out my 2010 Stampin Royalty card here.....  My favorite time in this room is at night, a fire roaring, lights twinkling, spiked caramel apple cider in my mega mug....*aahhhh*....Keeping to the parameters of the original challenge they gave us, I choose to make 2 creations, one literal and one interpretive!....since I'm currently bed-ridden with a kidney stone, I had time....

This is the literal creation....can't you tell?....  I've had these fabulous holiday words for a year now and am excited to be finally using them.  I didn't have 'believe' so I used 'Christmas' instead.  Wanna know how I made the lush 'ornament' garland along the bottom?


1. Gather up your items.  Large and small glue dots (Zots), glitter (Martha Stewart), buttons, pearls or rhinestones and your card..  FYI - I used the Cuttlebug houndstooth folder for the top panel of my card.

2.  Cut your strip of large glue dots to separate each one (this makes it easier to place them where you want).

3.  Adhere 3 glue dots in a random pattern (not to close together).  Sprinkle with same color glitter.  Repeat 3 times.   If wanted - Add small glue dots and add dazzling diamonds glitter.   *TIP* when adhering the glue dots, plan on clustering 1 of each color in a loose group.

4.  Embellish with buttons, pearls and rhinestones.

Lush and lovely!  I did the happy dance when it was finished - *LOVE it*

Now, on to the interpretive one....and my favorite....a little shabby chic creation with lots of whites and I've added in the glitter and sparkle with the sentiment and the pin.  See that fan-tab-ulous shimmer paper?  Sorry, I picked it up on my recent trip to Copenhagen, but it's made by Annie P Paperie.  I think there may be a place in New York....for those of us on this side of the pond....check out her fabulous things here.

Have you been inspired?  I certainly hope so!  As a thank you for joining me today, leave a comment below and you'll name will be entered into a drawing for a copy of this fabulous issue!  THEN visit the Paper Crafts Connection blog and be entered to win an AWESOME new Martha Steward tool, the Craft Station!  The Craft Station includes a 12”x12” LED light table and glass cutting mat, a cutting shuttle and movable ruler arm, three cutting blades and cartridge, a metal stencil, a stylus, five 12”x12” tracing templates, a cutting knife and an alignment guide. Retail price is $165 - AWESOME!!

Now head off to Lorena's blog and check out all her inspiration!  If you got lost, here is the list of the ladies on the blog hop:

Don't forget you can find inspiration in anything around you.  Don't believe me?  Check out the Card Creations: Get Inspired and you'll see how easy it is.