Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Health status update


Yesterday I saw the specialist for a follow-on consultation.  The good news:  X-rays, urine tests and other indicators show that the surgeries so far have been successful.  The hydronephrosis from which I was suffering appears to be in retreat;  the swollen, misshapen kidney is shrinking, getting rid of excess fluid, and slowly reverting to normal;  and the nasty bits removed in two previous procedures are not reoccuring.  So far, so good (particularly given that, if no improvement had been visible by now, kidney failure would have become more likely than not, requiring removal of that organ).

The not-so-good news:  it's going to take at least a month more to finish this off.  I have another surgery scheduled for June 17th, followed by another week or so with a new stent (replacing the one already inserted).  If X-rays show that the kidney has shrunk to normal size, and tests show that it's creating urine normally and sending it on its way, the stent will come out, and I'll be officially cleared.

Assuming all goes well, it'll be a full eight months since the hydronephrosis made itself known (in ouchy fashion) before it's cured.  The first four months of that time were spent in tests to find out what the problem was, followed by six weeks of trying to find a specialist to treat it.  I refused to work with the first one, as his practice treated me like a spare appendage who would do nothing but "put up and shut up" - something I don't do very well.  The second, current specialist has not been what I'd call great at communication, but at least I have the opportunity to state whether I like what I'm hearing or not, and ask for more in-depth explanations when I feel they're needed.  I suppose, in today's medical marketplace, that's a win - sort of.

I found the process of booking my June 17th surgery to be . . . worrying, I guess.  I was present as the scheduler called the hospital and tried to make a booking.  Date after date was turned down, either because there were no operating theater openings available, or because my specialist had other commitments that prevented him using the time slot that was available.  I asked whether the hospital was shutting down some of its operating theaters, laying off the staff that had worked there, and trying to run the remainder at an increased tempo.  I got the distinct impression that I wasn't supposed to ask that question:  I was to be a polite little patient and do as I'm told and not question the system.  Again, I'm not very good at that.  I'd say the odds of my being correct about that are probably a lot higher than even, judging by the defensive response I received.  Food for thought . . .

Anyway, so far, so good.  I'm in the process of preparing a fundraiser for the major back surgery I'll need later this year, and I hope to launch that later this week (or next week at the latest).  I'm just checking with accountants and lawyers about the tax implications, which appear confusing:  answers vary depending on who's giving them.

Thanks again to everyone who's kept me in their thoughts and prayers, and one reader who - out of the blue, having never met me or even spoken to me - was extremely generous in helping my wife and I cope with the expenses involved in these procedures.  He wishes to remain anonymous, but I hope and trust God will reward his faith in action.



NobobyExpects said...

Great news!

LL said...

As a sufferer of kidney stones and two bladder surgeries (one botched and a year later a second worked) you have my full and complete sympathy. Get well soon, BRM.

tweell said...

Glad to hear that you are doing better. I hope and pray that will continue.

Paul said...

You are in our prayers.

Glad it is going well. Yes, the shut and sing is more pronounced now after the Covid Circus.

MD's always did have a bad attitude.

boron said...

Hospitals are supposed to be "temples of healing"; unfortunately, recently they've left out G-d and his messenger Raphael (now replaced by "the bottom line").
There are some good docs and great docs still around, and, of that group, there are even docs (even a few surgeons) who are able to communicate with their patients.
I'll say a prayer asking for your continued improvement.

Will said...

On your question about OR utilization:
A roommate is scheduled for a procedure in a San Jose Hospital. They want him there at 6:30 AM! for the anesthesia process.

Peter said...

@Will: Yep. My first procedure in this round, I had to check in at 5 am for an operation at 7 am.

Tree Mike said...

Doctor is one of the targeted professions by Free Masons.

Anonymous said...

> They want him there at 6:30 AM!
That's pretty normal in my area. What ticked me off was the time they wanted us there at 0515. The office crew didn't show up until 0700, and the doctor didn't show up until 0900.

Their excuse: "We wanted to make sure you would be here on time." Somehow I managed not to lunge over the counter and choke someone. I might have, if not for the thought that it took six months to get to the "surgery" part after the cancer diagnosis. We got another oncologist after that, though.


Uchuck the Tuchuck said...

Good to hear you are doing better, Peter. Hopefully the "good news, bad news" scale will start tipping more and more in your favor from here on out.