The Morning After

It’s the morning after and my position on kidney
stones remains the same–bent over.

It’s the morning after and my position on kidney stones remains the same–bent over.

One stone removed, another on deck. And the judgment to remove it was solid. (OK, I’ll stop, but how many kidney stone puns can you cram into one paragraph?)

The stone was larger than the exit, so I would have ended up doing the surgery later anyway. (Had to try one more.)

I don’t recommend this. Those pesky little pieces of calcium–or other combinations–can ruin your day. And removing them is no picnic.

I’ve been gently advised the most recent method of dealing with them is to manage pain and let gravity take its course. Well, I still hold to a more aggressive method. If I had waited, I would still need to go through with this “basket retrieval” method while continuing on pain medication and altering my life with the same result. It’s not that I think I know more than the specialists. But I do think I should have had the opportunity to discuss my concern with them, and they should have heard my past experiences. I enumerated some of them in yesterday’s post. But that simple courtesy was denied. We are admonished by television commercials for pharmaceuticals to “talk it over with your doctor.” But what if the doctors won’t talk it over? What if they have a fixed path with no room for individual variables?

Fortunately, I have a primary care physician who is thoughtful and who does listen. And lest you think I’m suggesting the patient should be able to dictate care, let me challenge that thought. In my mind this was about a simple conversation between the physicians and me taking into account history, context and experiences in order to arrive at acceptable “management” of a kidney stone that was tearing me inside out. That didn’t happen at the emergency room.

An additional point. It’s interesting to experience two remarkably different institutional cultures in a short time. I’m sure the medical care is equally proficient at both hospitals, but the staff at St. Thomas Medical Center project an entirely different sense of concern. From the receptionist’s desk to the surgery holding room, this personality shows through. Staff at the organization where I work produced a video called “Beyond Thirty Seconds.” It points out that people form an opinion about the local church they are entering within the first thirty seconds. If you don’t demonstrate welcoming and hospitality in those crucial seconds, it’s likely you’ve lost them. This is true in other settings, I suspect.

So, dear reader, I promise this is the last of my posts on kidney stones. I’ve got to go now. No, really. I’ve got to go now.

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