I was fully planning on writing a new blog post this weekend, filled with actionable MS information, wisdom, humor, pathos, and astonishing literary flourishes. Instead, I was sidelined by the WORST pain I've ever experienced in my life.
Woke up Saturday morning feeling relatively okay, but after a few minutes was hit with a horrendous stabbing pain radiating from the right side of my lower back. The pain was so intense that it pretty much paralyzed all the parts of me that aren't already paralyzed. I was rendered dazed, confused, and writhing in bed, and it took me several minutes to work up the strength to call out for my wife. She did a quick consultation with Dr. Google and came up with a likely culprit: kidney stones.
I soon spoke with a family member who dealt with a kidney stone a few years ago, and she told me that there was really not much to be done other than to rest and wait for the stone to pass.
So, I did just that – rested all day Saturday and Saturday night, and though the pain did start to subside I still felt pretty miserable when I went to sleep late Saturday night.
Woke up Sunday and after a short while was once again hit with a monstrous jolt of pain emanating from the same area in my right lower back. As soon as I could muster the wherewithal, I called my neurologist, as I no longer have a primary care physician. This is because the doctor who had been my PCP for 17 years decided to become a VIP physician, requiring patients to pay $3000 a year just for the privilege of being able to get an appointment with him – please, don't get me started. Turns out the world is filled with vampires, some of them hiding in plain sight.
My neuro told me I should immediately go to the emergency room, which I did just as soon as Karen heroically managed to untangle me from the bedding, get me into some street clothes, and then into my wheelchair.
At the hospital, the ER team did standard blood tests and urinalysis, as well as a CT scan. The blood tests came back relatively normal, the urinalysis turned up traces of blood, and the CT scan showed inflammation in my right kidney, but no kidney stone. I was told that I very likely had recently passed a kidney stone without knowing it, and the stone may have done some damage its way out.
Not sure I entirely buy that explanation since I feel really sick, as if I have an infection. Nevertheless, a recently passed kidney stone is the party line, at least for now.
I did do an infusion of Rituxamab about six weeks ago, so I'm not sure that a standard blood test would actually show the typical signs of infection since my body has been wiped clean of B cells. The doctors in the ER didn't really seem to understand the potential significance of my having taken Rituxan, and appeared to be pretending to know what I was talking about when I told them I was on the drug. Just another example of our modern medical miracle machine showing that in large part it is made up of chicken wire and chewing gum.
I'll be seeing an urologist early this week to try to get the situation clarified and resolved.
Anyway, just wanted to let WK readers know that I'm still among the living, despite my not having put a new essay on the blog in over a month. I have some good ideas for new posts, and also a very long interview I conducted with a naturopathic doctor who works exclusively with MS patients that should prove to be enlightening once I get it transcribed. All of this is unfortunately on hold, however, until I start feeling a bit better. Hope you will bear with me…
Since I associate almost everything that happens in my life with one song or another, here's the song that's been playing on a loop in my head ever since my wife uttered the words "kidney stone"…