It ain’t over till its over

I went home Thursday afternoon in good spirits and apparent good health. I relaxed and recovered all day Friday with normal urinary and bowl functions returning. I eat and enjoy solid food and think I’m moving a little slow but this is not so bad. I’ll be good as new in a week or two.

Saturday I go to my woodturning club meeting and bum around with the guys sitting, standing and walking from 9 till 3. I do fine with a pizza lunch and a great vegetable soup dinner at home. All systems seem to be functioning normally.

Sunday I go to a woodturning class where 7 of us work one-on-one with the instructor from the Saturday meeting. Another great day of low stress activity, a great Fire House Sub lunch and veg soup for dinner at home. I’m feeling really good and have begun tapering off on the pain meds.

Then it happens! I go to the bathroom after dinner and fill the bowl with blood. All prior urinations had been normal. Then the next time I try to go I can’t pee at all. Cold sweat, nausea, Something isn’t right. JoEllen and Hannah call 911 and I take a bumpy ride to the hospital in the EMT van. That was Sunday evening at ~9:00 PM. It is now Tuesday noon and I’m still here.

The assumption is that a scab in the kidney incision has come off and entered the bladder and blocked the flow of urine. The first thing they do is insert a Three Way catheter about the size of a fire hose. Not fun but not as bad as I thought it might be. Getting past the prostate was the most ‘interesting’. They hook this up to pairs of 3 liter bags of sterile fluid and stat flushing the bladder of blood and blood clots. I think they have run 5 or 6 bags full through me at this time.

Sometime on Monday they turned off the flush and just let the catheter drain on its own and evaluate the amount of blood in the urine. Now the frustrating part. Even though I have a primary kidney doctor (whom I like very much) he is only at this hospital 2 or 3 days a week. As a result other doctors from his Urology Group come through to see me as well as the hospital doctor. They all have a different opinion about what they see coming down the catheter pipe. Is it clearing up? Is it too red? Are there more clots? Should we turn on the flush again. Should the catheter come out? Should the catheter stay in?

The bedside manner of this retinue of doctors varies from excellent to less than none. I don’t think these doctors have a clue as to how frustrating this difference of opinion is to a guy like me. I want facts and figures, whys and wherefores, risk vs. benefit. What are my options? Why would I chose one option over another? What is the downside of waiting? etc. etc. etc. The only doctor that is willing to talk to me on those terms is my primary kidney doctor (Dr. Braun) and he’s not here.

My blood count dropped overnight so the thinking took a turn to, we need to do an angiogram catheterization to find and plug this leaky vessel. So in prep for that they took me off of solid food again till that decision is made. When I ask about this angiogram procedure they can’t tell me the process or the risks but they think I need it. Not on your life till I know more!

My very helpful nurse Shawn takes up my concern and manages to get a call through to Dr. Braun who in detail explains the procedure and the risks. We together decide to wait a while longer to let the body heal itself before starting a new invasive procedure.

The issue is that I’m leaking blood from somewhere in the kidney. If it doesn’t stop I will need a blood transfusion. There is some risk in a transfusion but not extreme as far as I know. If I have the angiogram procedure they may or may not correctly identify the leak and plug it. There is a possibility that the plug partially or completely shuts down the kidney. Hey folks loss of this kidney is what we have been trying to avoid from day one. So Dr. Braun and I decide that waiting a while longer with the downside risk of a blood transfusion is not a bad course to take. The upside is that if the bleeding stops on its own we avoid another risky procedure.

I’ve got a lot of faith in modern medicine and science. But when things start to get iffy and there is a lot of speculation and little or no concrete evidence then I’m more inclined to rely on my God and the abilities that He has built into this complicated, fragile box we live in. So at this juncture we are waiting another day to see if my old body can’t stop bleeding on its own. If it doesn’t then I guess we go in tomorrow with the zappers to plug the leak. Either way your prayers are appreciated.

More to come I’m sure.

3 thoughts on “It ain’t over till its over

  1. Dave,
    We are praying for you. Sometimes it seems like God has a strange sense of humor. But his word brings truth.

    Isaiah 40 New International Version (NIV)

    Comfort for God’s People
    40 Comfort, comfort my people,
    says your God.
    2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and proclaim to her
    that her hard service has been completed,
    that her sin has been paid for,
    that she has received from the Lord’s hand
    double for all her sins.
    3 A voice of one calling:
    “In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord[a];
    make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.[b]
    4 Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
    the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
    5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.
    For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
    6 A voice says, “Cry out.”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”
    “All people are like grass,
    and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
    7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
    Surely the people are grass.
    8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.”
    9 You who bring good news to Zion,
    go up on a high mountain.
    You who bring good news to Jerusalem,[c]
    lift up your voice with a shout,
    lift it up, do not be afraid;
    say to the towns of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”
    10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
    and he rules with a mighty arm.
    See, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense accompanies him.
    11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
    and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young.
    12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
    Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
    or weighed the mountains on the scales
    and the hills in a balance?
    13 Who can fathom the Spirit[d] of the Lord,
    or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
    14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
    and who taught him the right way?
    Who was it that taught him knowledge,
    or showed him the path of understanding?
    15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
    they are regarded as dust on the scales;
    he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
    16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
    nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
    17 Before him all the nations are as nothing;
    they are regarded by him as worthless
    and less than nothing.
    18 With whom, then, will you compare God?
    To what image will you liken him?
    19 As for an idol, a metalworker casts it,
    and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
    and fashions silver chains for it.
    20 A person too poor to present such an offering
    selects wood that will not rot;
    they look for a skilled worker
    to set up an idol that will not topple.
    21 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
    22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.
    He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
    23 He brings princes to naught
    and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
    24 No sooner are they planted,
    no sooner are they sown,
    no sooner do they take root in the ground,
    than he blows on them and they wither,
    and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
    25 “To whom will you compare me?
    Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
    26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
    Who created all these?
    He who brings out the starry host one by one
    and calls forth each of them by name.
    Because of his great power and mighty strength,
    not one of them is missing.
    27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
    Why do you say, Israel,
    “My way is hidden from the Lord;
    my cause is disregarded by my God”?
    28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
    The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
    He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
    29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
    30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
    31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

  2. Oh Dave, I’m so sorry! (On the upside, I think you’ve got a second career in blogging!)
    We will indeed keep you lifted up before the Lord, our wonderful Healer. If there’s anything else we can do, don’t hesitate to ask. We love you, Brother.

    (I predict cranberry baked goods in your future…)

  3. Thanks for update Bro. Karen & I are praying for you. You are making good decisions. Keep pressing those Docs for Educated answers. Not guesses!

    We love you and Hannah. God bless you both!

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