Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Righty Takes the Afternoon Off

Late in the afternoon of Day Two, when the daily handful of doctors made their rounds to me, two of them became a bit concerned with how Righty was adjusting. Dr. W (the nephrologist) asked me if any nurses had emptied out my catheter bag at some point since the morning. I couldn't remember-maybe? Had I known I was supposed to keep track I would have.

None of the doctors said anything further on the subject. However later in the evening after visiting hours were over, my nurse came in with some extra saline type solution. "the doctors are worried about your output-your kidney might be a little slow because of the drugs etc". She basically was under instruction from one of the surgeons to give me a ton of liquid via IV, then later would give me a diuretic and more liquid until Rightly stepped up. For those of you wondering, a diuretic is anything that promotes the formation of urine by the kidney. (The word "diuretic" comes from a combination of the Greek "dia-", thoroughly + "ourein", to urinate = to urinate thoroughly). I knew I had been peeing but I guess it wasn't enough. The nurse hooked everything up and off she went.

The overnight nurse came a few hours later with the diuretic (in another IV bag) and some more fluid.  She seemed surprised at that point that the extra fluid hadn't really made a difference but at the same time offered me more morphine (one of the contributors to the slowdown). I declined, she left and I lay there awake for awhile wondering if Righty was okay. I gave her a pep talk and soon thereafter fell asleep

We need not have worried. The diuretic was like a cattle prod to my kidney. Within two hours I was awakened with an extreme urge to pee (as my mother would say, 'my back teeth were floating'). I wondered why I was having that urge and discomfort as the catheter should have just done its thing while I slept. After some consideration,  I guessed I was maybe sleeping on the tubing funny and it might be slowing down the flow.  I carefully stood up, thinking a little gravity might help get the pressure feeling to subside. Did it ever! I think I stood there for over 3 minutes feeling things drain a bit more. Finally I was much more comfortable and I went back to bed. The nurse came in an hour later because the IV pump alarm was sounding and she also wanted to see my "output". I heard her say "Holy shit" in the dark. She was bedazzled my my output-understandable really. I looked at her and giggled. She saw I was awake so she said "Your right kidney is clearly working fine now". Phew. She hooked me up with a new bag of liquid just to keep things moving.

I let Righty know that was the last break she was allowed to take for a least another 65 years.

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