Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Mario on the morning of surgery
It all happened last week today.  The burglary; Mario's back pain.  

When I usually find something in my life that is unwanted, I haul it away, or ask God to take it away.  He does, and the whole thing is removed.  Away from me.  

Thinking back on the last week I see a surreal picture, one that is hard to digest as a whole scene, but one that happened piece by piece.  Pain.  Doctor.  Emergency Room. Surgery.  Recovery. Coming Home. Prayer. 

Mario, after the whole ordeal, is feeling much less pain.  He's at home, but on a limited activity load.  He's gone from being the non-stop blur of activity who worked out and lifted weights everyday to letting his exercise be walking our dog.   Still, he's happy to be home, and it's good to see him as himself (kind of) again.  

This came as a surprise, after all, and it was so unusual but on Thursday last week he complained of back pain (he never complains much when he has pain) and soon couldn't urinate without seeing blood.  That same night we went to the hospital and he was admitted to emergency and a brilliant doctor admitted him for tests.  The next morning (Friday) they scheduled surgery for the next day.  The doctor (who bore a striking resemblance to our son, David) told him that not only was it a kidney stone, but it was 8mm (a little less than a centimeter) which was quite large, and looked so on the MRI.  

It was lodged in the ureter (the fine tube that runs from the kidney to the bladder) and was backing up the urine back into the kidney.  One of Mario's kidneys (on the x-ray) looked like a kidney -- the other looked like a water balloon!!  His main concern was that the kidney wasn't damaged, so he suggested putting in a stint to drain the kidney.  THAT is what his surgery was for on Saturday.  The 22 cm stint is still inside of him... running from the kidney to the bladder and insures that urine will flow into the bladder then be eliminated.  The surgery was painful, but relieved the concerns about the kidney...and for the time, that was the important thing.

On Tuesday we saw the young doctor in the morning, who asked Mario if he was still having pain and how bad it was. As Mario described it, the doctor said that was fairly normal pain and should be expected (he has pain capsules to help take the edge off).  This is when we learned that the stint is only to "un-stress" the kidney and that the stone can't pass through it as it is now.   It may have even gone back into the kidney when the stint was put in place!! 

So, he scheduled Mario for another surgery for next Wednesday. The only way to see the exact position of the stone is with an MRI, which he'll do on the morning of the operation.  On this one they will find out exactly where the stone is, send shock-waves (sonar) to break it up and then possibly remove it if it is still in the ureter.  If it has gone back into the kidney, we don't know if it will be able to pass through the ureter (even if it is broken into smaller bits)which has been so stressed by the stone.  So...the stint may have to stay in for another ten days after the surgery next Wednesday!! 

To see your husband hampered by such a small thing and to witness, first hand, pain and discomfort is excruciating, emotionally.  When I think of how it's not over, and possibly won't be over for a long time, it hurts even more.  

I feel very disappointed now...but there's nothing much else I can do. 

It doesn't come all at once...all we have to do is go through it piece by piece.