Mom. Mom. Wake up. We need to go to the Emergency Room.
These are the words I said to my mom as I stood at her bedside at 4am with the worst pain of my life.
My mom, who normally takes 15 minutes to wake up, throws back the covers, proceeds to fly out of bed, grab the keys, and drives us safely and swiftly to the hospital emergency room.
What killed me the most about that experience was the look of sheer terror on my mom’s face.
They ran tests and more tests and had no diagnosis, a lot of guesses but no real answers. So they sent me home to see my GP later that morning after they got pain under control.
He knew what was wrong and he knew it was bad. He sent us to a Urologist who saw us immediately and he said the funniest and scariest thing you never want to hear a Urologist say.
He said, “you feel that? That’s your kidney. We shouldn’t be seeing or feeling it.” Then he asks the funniest question: “do you drink beer?”
No, I drink coffee, lots of it.
Well, that’s the problem. If you drank beer we would have caught this a long time ago.
How much coffee did you drink last night?
I’m studying for finals for undergrad, so I had three Venti lattes.
Yup, that’ll do it. Your blocked kid. You’re going to need surgery.
Whaaaaaaaat!!!!! I have finals!!! I can’t have surgery. It’ll have to wait.
That’s not up to me kid, you’ll want to talk to my colleague she’s the expert. I’m old school, I’ll cut you halfway around the middle, take half a rib and leave you a 12″ scar and it’ll take you 4-6 months to heal. She does robot-assisted, reconstructive kidney surgery. She’ll leave you with a few small holes and a few weeks recovery time. Go talk to her to see if you’re a good candidate for her surgery. Best of luck to you kid, good luck with finals.
So off we went to see robot-lady. She asked a lot of questions and drew a diagram of what she thought my problem was. She said, “you have UPJ. A congenital condition. It’s a miracle you weren’t diagnosed with this earlier. You’re 37 that’s amazing.”
The simplest way to describe it is: you have a kink in your kidney straw.
So she runs tons of tests to see if she could even perform the surgery as there is a major artery that she needs to be sure is safe to not be affected. After many nuclear tests and tons of peeing in cups, it was determined that I was an excellent candidate for this procedure. She asks when I would like to have the surgery?
At the end of the year. She looks at me and says, “no, seriously.”
I am serious. It’ll have to wait. I already missed some finals and have to make them up. This will have to wait until December. It was July. She agrees begrudgingly and says, “no later. We’re booking it now.”
I said you got it. I literally had my robot-assisted, reconstructive kidney surgery the day after my last final of the year in December as promised. I was back in school 4 weeks later to finish out my last year of undergrad.
The surgery was a success! Everyone was jubilant, especially me as I could now drink 3 Venti lattes without issue while studying for finals which was awesome since I still had two more years of university.
Sometimes I can feel my scar tissue pulling inside when I’m dehydrated. I simply drink some water and wash it down with some coffee (see blog: https://coffee-musings.myfreesites.net/coffee-sexy/i-m-going-to-wash-down-my-water-with-a-cup-of-coffee).