Four hours ago, I sat in an ER waiting room texting my husband a complaint about the fact that there were 2 TVs and both were tuned to WWF Friday Night Smackdown. I was there because I’d taken my mom to urgent care earlier for either a muscle strain or a kidney infection and because mom couldn’t produce urine for their cup to test, they sent her to the ER because it could also be a kidney stone and they were unequipped to deal with a kidney stone.
And so we waited and I watched wrestling while texting my minor annoyances about being in the ER. They triaged my mom and got her back into a room where a nurse informed my mom they would need to insert a catheter. So she’s prepping for the catheter and a doctor rushes into the room “Ms. Mom how long have you been in full renal failure!?” Uh… what the fuck?
No, no, that’s not possible. I talked to a nurse yesterday about her symptoms…. renal failure was not on the list of possible issues…. So let’s back up to Monday.
Mom has a check up with her nephrologist, because she does have one kidney that no longer functions and the remaining one gets monitored fairly closely. Her numbers were high, but they always are because she has hereditary renal disease and there’s minor damage to the remaining kidney. But while elevated, the numbers were not in the “Holy shit, we have an emergency” range they were in the “the remaining kidney is having to work extra hard and you need to make sure we continue to monitor it” range. Tuesday mom begins prep for a colonoscopy on Wednesday. The prep makes her seriously sick; intense vomiting… we call the colonoscopy center and they tell us “Sometimes that happens, go ahead and come in as scheduled on Wednesday morning.” We do. She has the colonoscopy and there’s a polyp where her appendix attaches to the intestines, but it’s been there for the last 2 colonoscopies and it’s not cancerous. The appendix tried to rupture once when she was young and her mom froze it, because that’s what you did back then and there was damage to the appendix and they didn’t remove it. Now they are going to set up with a surgeon to go ahead and remove the appendix and the polyp, just because. Other than that, the colonoscopy is great. She comes home and she’s still sick on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday the center calls to check up on her and I talk to them. I tell her she woke up with some lower back pain on Thursday morning, she’s still nauseous, having trouble eating, and drinking. The nurse tells me the back pain is probably muscle strain from the intense vomiting, it should be better on Friday. Keep her hydrated and try to get her to eat, sometimes the intense laxatives cause illness for several days afterwards, the big thing is keeping her hydrated. I threatened her Thursday, if you don’t start consuming more fluids, I’m going to take you to the ER. She groaned and rolled her eyes at me. But really, this is not an emergency, it’s not even urgent considering I’ve talked to the nurse and she says this happens and it could last three to four days.
Friday morning, the back pain isn’t getting better and she’s starting to complain the muscle is spasming. Okay, a pulled muscle will spasm on occasion. The day wears on… she’s not feeling better, the spams are becoming more frequent. I tell her “I think you should go to urgent care, maybe they can do something for your back if nothing else.” At which point she also tells me she’s having some trouble urinating, she feels like she needs to pee, but she only dribbles when she tries.” Well, that sounds like a UTI, you haven’t been complaining enough for a kidney infection or stone. “Yep. Let’s go to urgent care and get you looked at. Most likely, you’ll get some antibiotics and some extra bed rest, but it will ease all our minds to double check.” And we went from there to a doctor rushing in to tell us she was in full renal failure in the space of six hours.
All I can think is “holy fuck”… Her number was 1.5 on Monday, high but definitely not at failure level and now it’s 11.7. What the…. I should have been more insistent Thursday that she go to urgent care… Except, I get my stubbornness from my mom. Unless I tied her up and had J carry her to the car and strap her in, she wouldn’t have gone on Thursday. I keep thinking, I knew something was wrong… I didn’t know what and my mind actually wasn’t on her kidneys… but I was sure there was something amiss beyond just a reaction to the laxative. I read an article recently about vomiting rupturing aortic aneurysms and my mom has one in her lower abdomen. I thought a couple of times, maybe she’s so tired because it’s leaking. I kept asking her is there any tenderness in your abdomen? Any feeling of increased pressure in that area? She told me no every time… apparently what I should have asked is “are you completely emptying your bladder every time you urinate?”
On Tuesday as she was doing prep for the colonoscopy she joked she wasn’t going to survive it. And holy fuck…
The majority of the test results won’t come back until tomorrow (Saturday), but no one seemed to think she was in immediate danger. They were admitting her to the hospital and talking about the possibility that they may have to do emergency dialysis and I’ve known people who lived decades on dialysis… that’s when she kicked me out. She told me to go home because if I left, they would turn out the light over her bed in the ER cubby and she could get a little sleep. I debated going into the waiting room and staying. But the nurse told me there was nothing I could do there and they were just waiting on a room for her upstairs. And my mom is a mom. With me there, she was worrying about me because I’d driven her to urgent care and then the ER, so I wasn’t taking my medication and was forced to sit in uncomfortable chairs. She’d already asked me three times about my pain levels. I decided it would probably be easier for her if I went home. But holy fuck…
Now I’m home and stress wired. I’m tired, but I also feel wide awake.
2 thoughts on “And Just Like That…”
What a kick in the gut. I’m so sorry this is happened.
I’m thankful she let you take her to urgent care AND even more thankful they didn’t give her meds and send her home. Prayers they can get her kidney functioning again and she doesn’t have to do dialysis.
Hoping for the best outcome for your mom and that she can return home to rest soon! Kidneys are finicky sometimes. Sending out positive thoughts that things were caught quickly.