Last week’s column turned to Jeter Chiropractic for help with nerve problems in my right leg and a little discomfort in the back of my lower leg. I wrote that column on Thursday, and a week later, I wrote the next column after it seemed like a lot more than seven days. My goal in this column is to share information that has been collected from a very difficult week.
Last Thursday afternoon I saw a little blood in my urine. This is not always a bad thing for runners, as it occurs once a month in the blue, which is usually associated with degradation or strenuous exercise. I put the issue on the shelf and finished the day, the last time in over a week that I tried to exercise. The beginning of the ongoing story was the blood and discomfort of the lower back, both of which were now tied to a kidney stone that had grown their ugly head late on Friday. Five years passed without any pain. Usually heavy means so much that it can’t get out of the body on its own. Since this story is not about kidney stones, I will mention it briefly as a background to a more serious issue.
The stone hit Thursday night with severe nausea that emptied my stomach and caused a severe cold and limited my ability to urinate. Often, the stone stops moving and the pain subsides a few hours before returning, but the stone hits hard for 12 hours in a row. My daughter Amber took me to Novant ER Hospital and after arriving just before 5am for the next day and a half I underwent surgery to put in a stent and limited the stone to the side of my right kidney. On Saturday afternoon, I was discharged from the hospital with further surgery to remove the stone and stent that had been scheduled for a few days later. This is where the story really begins this week.
I was at home, not particularly uncomfortable, except when I was forced to urinate. Bladder spasms caused by a stent were terrible, but usually went away within a few minutes. On Saturday, I received my first call to return to the hospital immediately due to a possible blood infection. Throw everything away and come here!
Seriously enough, the doctor called my daughter twice when she couldn’t call me. I spoke with Dr. Spencer at about 8:00 pm, just about six hours after my release. She told me that I should start treatment immediately for a blood infection and promised to call me within 20 minutes and offer me a plan to enter the hospital.
Dr. Spencer called and told them the good news that they would like to have blood cultures repeated to confirm the issue. Until Monday afternoon, when Dr. Ricard called with the same issue, I didn’t hear anything else. Cultures have confirmed blood infection, which is now important every hour.
I went back to the ambulance and was ready to stay for up to 12 days, as Dr. Ricard offered as much as possible. New blood collection and testing for vital signs continued when I was placed in the ER room for constant monitoring. At that moment I felt very well and did not have a fever, apparently a key sign if the infection had started to work. Most importantly this initial treatment with a specific IV antibiotic was based on the best knowledge about my condition. I have been told that there are many types of blood infections and that the right antibiotic must be found to stop it, and some of the antibiotics used have a severe effect on the kidneys. This work, followed by proper antibiotic follow-up, was done with continuous cultures.
Thankfully I was sent to the normal room of the hospital at 4am on Tuesday morning, I decided to have a regular blood test and vital signs test while wearing regular heart monitors. I started gathering information about what an infection can do if left unchecked. Heart problems seemed to be the most worrying, but damage to other organs could be much more. Treatment is based on choosing the right antibiotic and using IV more quickly against the use of the pill form.
Over the course of two days, I followed the publication of Novant MyChart and learned that several departments were working together to quickly eliminate the infection, and that urologist Dr. Lee Johnson was very aware of the activities. I took the time to save some of my writing and other notebooks. Most importantly, I began to build a real understanding of all the good things that were happening around me. Mercy nurses and CNA from the third floor of the west became friends and sources of knowledge and comfort during the situation. More and more, doctors stopped because they showed good results. Later on Tuesday afternoon, an infectious disease nurse, Caroline Waller, visited me for an illiterate discussion about my condition. She informed me that if these results continued, I would be able to leave home for treatment Wednesday afternoon. I was amazed that things move so fast.
So, from home and with the urological surgery that is now scheduled for Monday, I find myself very blessed and thankful for all the work that has been done at Novant Health and the fact that they are still monitoring me. I will continue updating things next week.
Dolphin Dash 5K is set for Saturday, April 9th, at Sacred Heart. Search for it and other events at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org.