Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Slowly but Surely

Today was a day of celebration. The oppressive stent terrorizing my ureter and bladder has been banished from my urinary tract--thrown to the bottom of a KSI trashcan where it is to remain until the day when it joins other miscellaneous medical waste in the nether regions of St. Joseph's hospital.

I've never been so glad to be back at work. Seeing the teachers, having students say they missed me (if they were just trying to score brownie points I don't even care), grading some papers, and planning some lessons has never been so rewarding. I really do enjoy my job and missing an entire week with an unwelcome, uncomfortable, ureter-stretching piece of plastic was pretty miserable.

The week of the painful stent and subsequent gastrointestinal issue has kept me not only from teaching but also from running. This past weekend I was actually feeling much better and was starting to be able to walk and stand for more than a few minutes at a time without my stent telling me it was time to sit back down or face some seriously painful consequences. I was looking forward to going back to work on Monday morning to put in a half day and then having the stent removed in the afternoon. Unfortunately, my immune system had other plans. I got a terrible stomachache right before bed on Sunday night.

It should probably go without saying that things started to get a little gross, but I guess I'll say it anyway. If you're squeamish you may want to skip to the last paragraph. At about one AM I woke up with an even worse stomachache--a very sharp, acute pain. Then, I barfed. But, unlike many stomachaches, the pain didn't go away. It stayed as a stabbing sort of sensation that left me unable to go to sleep. It did, however, leave me able to moan, complain, and vocally welcome death.

Kidney stones hurt--ureter stents also hurt (some people don't notice them, others say it's the worst five days of their lives--I was in between). Throwing up with a stent is possibly the most excruciating pain I've ever had. As I expelled the remnants of purple smoothie (blueberries, raspberries, greek yogurt, and agave nectar) into the toilet, the pain from the stent--what I would imagine having several vice grips squishing my internal organs would feel like--caused me to scream. Not a super-loud scream, but loud enough that Laura voiced her concern.

After about 24 hours of that sort of misery and another day getting over the diarrhea that so kindly accompanied the vomiting, I'm back at it. I had to reschedule my stent removal for this morning and I'm thrilled to have that done. I normally volunteer at my church on Wednesday nights, but Laura advised me that I'd probably be a little tired after having a foot-and-a-half long tube with the circumference of CapriSun straw pulled through my ureter, bladder, and out my urethra, followed by an almost full day of teaching. She said I might want to not be at church until the late hour of 8:15 PM.

She was right, I am exhausted (it's only 5:30 PM) and I'm ready to go to sleep. I did, however, do a little jog of just of just over 2km when I got home from work. My legs are very tired and I'm feeling pretty weak, but it felt awesome to be outside running again. I've lost a little weight since the surgery and subsequent stomach illness, but I know that slowly but surely I'll get my strength back and be running my regular distances and paces in no time. For now, I'm just happy to be back in the land of the living.

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