Monday, June 28, 2010

Kidney Biopsy

I am still having issues with my kidney. Same symptoms and chronic pain. After doing another 24 hour urine study, my nephrologist decided that the next logical step would be for me to have a kidney biopsy.

Wes drove me to the hospital last Thursday morning. After much confusion on the part of the hospital staff as to where I was supposed to be going (I knew exactly where I was supposed to go) I ended up in Admitting where they got me registered and then took me to my room. I had to have bloodwork done before the procedure to make sure that my blood was clotting properly. My nurse came in and got me into a gown. I explained my situation to her. I will not get into it here, but all you need to know is that I am terrified of hospitals. Also, these medical professionals thought that they were going to be performing the kidney biopsy without sedating me. Wrong! I seriously would have taken the IV out myself and left before letting that happen. So the waiting began. Wes and I waited and waited. The nurse came back in to put my IV in. I have had a lot of IVs and this was by far the worst one ever attempted. She started out trying to put it in my right hand. It hurt like crazy, I knew she hadn't gotten the vein even though I wasn't looking. (I find things like this easier to cope with if I don't look at the needle, see the blood, etc.) She kept trying to flush it with saline and it was not flushing. It just kept causing more and more pain. Wes was watching her and said that he couldn't understand why, but after trying to insert the IV into my vein, she kept pulling up on it which was lifting the skin on my hand. No wonder it hurt so much. I finally told her that I could tell that she clearly had not gotten the IV into the vein properly and asked her to try somewhere else. She got the IV into my left hand without too much trouble. The only problem was the placement of the IV made it painful to use my left hand.

My procedure was supposed to be at 1 pm. By 12:45 we still hadn't seen anyone from phlebotomy. I knew I couldn't have the procedure without them testing my blood so I was getting more and more anxious. I called the nurse and we asked about it. Just as she was about to call them again someone showed up to take blood. The nurse was also able to give me medicine for anxiety, which helped some.

When they were finally ready to take me downstairs for the procedure Wes followed along behind the stretcher, keeping his promise not to leave my side until someone forced him to. We met a few of the radiology technicians while we were waiting. They were very nice and helped take my mind off of how scared I was. I was taken into the room where the procedure was to be done and we talked to the Interventional Radiologist who was going to be doing the biopsy. He was a very nice man who has been performing kidney biopsies for 18 years. He explained the whole procedure along with the risks associated with it. I was able to ask him questions, one of which was my concern about the fact that they usually biopsy the left kidney. That did not seem like the best option in my case because all of my kidney pain for the past 7+ months has been on the right side. Now that could be due to something as simple as stones only forming in that kidney and have nothing to do with any disease they are trying to rule out, but if they biopsy the right kidney and find nothing we will feel more confident with the results than if the tissue had come from the left kidney. He had one of the technicians use the ultrasound machine to scan my kidneys and said that he could easily access either one, so we decided to biopsy the right kidney. It was funny when she had the wand over one of my kidneys, the doctor pointed at the screen and said "that is what a kidney looks like". Wes and I both laughed and explained to him that we are unfortunately very aware of what a kidney looks like. Wes told him that I can read renal pelvic ultrasounds. We told him a little bit about Owen's history. He told us how much he likes Dr. Gazak (I told you, he is everyone's favorite radiologist) and it also gave him a better understanding about some of the reasons I was so scared to be there.

A nurse came in and got me all hooked up to monitor my heart rate, blood pressure, pulse ox. etc. and then gave me some medication to sedate me a bit. The procedure didn't take long. He put some numbing cream on my back and then injected some of the same numbing medication into my kidney. It burned horribly, felt like acid going in. After waiting for that to take effect he went into my kidney with a special biopsy needle (which sounded exactly like a staple gun) to remove a piece of the kidney. He did this twice. The first time I only felt pressure. The second time he must have hit a spot that hadn't been numbed because it was extremely painful. The sedation helped make it possible for me to tolerate the procedure, but had totally worn off by the time I got back to my room. Wes went to our favorite restaurant in the area, Hawthornes, which is where we used to get dinner when Owen was in the hospital. After eating together and Wes asking me several times if I was going to be ok, he left to get the boys from my parents house and be with them for the night.

I was on bedrest for 8 hours after the procedure. Not only was I not allowed to get out of bed, I had to lie flat on my back. I am very much a side sleeper so that was very hard. I was able to come home Friday afternoon. I am still in a great deal of pain, which is normal. Lots of kidney pain, but also muscle pain from the force of the biopsy needle and how far down it had to go to get a piece of my kidney. Unfortunately I still have the least pain when lying flat on my back; I have to be very careful not to move or bend too quickly. I can't yet move the upper part of my body, but have to kind of plan each move and think about what is going to cause the least amount of pain.

When I left the hospital they said I could have the results as early as tomorrow, so our fingers are crossed. Thank you to everyone who has been supportive through this process!