Thursday, July 28, 2011

There's a Pain in Ma Belly

Almost two weeks after my kidney donation surgery the cold I caught at the hospital morphed from a head cold to a chest cold.  Awesome. I was just starting to feel really strong, my stomach hardly hurt at all and my energy levels were good. The cold thus far had just been a case of the sniffles with the occasional little cough or sneeze.  Sneezing wasn't fun but at least I could prepare and brace myself to a degree before letting it go.

But then I started to cough.  At first it was a scratchy throat based tickle and a little dry  "kaaaa" noise I would make every 10 minutes.  Charlie often mocked the little half hack that I'd make, holding my belly, as I went about whatever it was I was doing.. The "kaa"s became more frequent and I formed a tight chest.  If I was lying down at all it got worse. Over the next 24 hours as my coughing increased, so did the pain in my upper abdomen, between the upper port incision and the larger one around the navel. At first it just hurt a lot to cough. Then it would hurt when I coughed and linger for about 5-10 minutes. Then the area became very tender to the touch. On about the third day I woke up and honestly felt worse than I did the night of the surgery.  My range of motion was next to nothing.  I had a hard time sitting up unassisted.  I couldn't turn while seated at all. Walking hurt.  Lying down hurt.  Sitting upright hurt. Forget about bending-period.

After I was up for a bit that morning and realized I wasn't feeling any better being more awake, I knew I should go to the Emergency room.  I didn't want to (I think this was the third time in my life that I've done such a thing) but I wanted to make sure I hadn't hurt anything inside via the coughing. It seemed to only be getting worse and the Tylenol arthritis was no longer even touching the pain. To top it off, even my Buckley's cough syrup (which I swear by) wasn't slowing the cough down anymore. I was starting to get a bit worried.  I went upstairs, opened the bedroom door and tried to squeak out to Charlie that I needed to go to the hospital.  My voice wasn't working and the attempt launched me into another fit of excruciating coughs.  "What??" he asked confused and groggy. I managed to make a mouse like "help" sound and he asked if I had to go to the hospital.  I nodded, catching my breath.  Off we went, at around 7AM.  Happy Sunday sleep in day!

We went to Foothills although Rockyview is closer to us. I figured if something was really wrong I'd be sent to Foothills anyway so that one of Doctorpalooza could deal with me. We arrived and I went to the Triage area. No line-woo hoo! I told the nurse I had abdominal pain and she ushered me into a chair in her pod to do my blood pressure and ask the routine questions. Right away she noted my blood pressure seemed high and asked if that was normal for me. I said "No...well yes...well I don't know. I donated a kidney last week so that might be why". She just blinked at me. "You donated a kidney? Where? Here?". I explained that it had been there and that I had developed a cold which lead to the cough she was hearing which had lead to abdominal pain. I told her I was concerned I had done something to my internal stitching. She took all the information down and asked "who got your kidney?". Here we go-I thought to myself. "I don't know-I gave it to a stranger". More blinking at me. "Oh" was all she could muster.  She redid my blood pressure manually (low normal which is my normal-yay) She told me to go wait in the chair area where the admitting desk (for the ER not the hospital) would call me.

No sooner did I sit but my name was called again. I went to the admitting desk, handed in my health card and was told to go wait around the corner in the intake area. That was fast! Around the corner we went and we were instantly greeted by a nurse. She brought me in and asked a lot of the same questions. She seemed to think I thought abdominal pain was causing my cough. I re-explained (all the while coughing and holding my belly) I had just had surgery and that I was worried about the stitches inside BECAUSE of the cough. "And you donated a kidney". "Yes".  "Here?" OMG really?  "Yes". "Who got your kidney?" "A stranger".

Blink Blink Blink Blink. Blink

The nurse mumbled something like "Interesting" and asked if I had been splinting my abdomen when coughing like I was supposed to I said yes (and looked it up later-its the whole holding a pillow on your stomach when you cough, sit up etc. so it hadn't been a lie). She then told me to go sit in the hall and wait for the doctor. So I did.

To be continued in Part II


  1. I wonder if they're asking about the kidney recipient to try to figure out if you've got an infection that they might need to be checked for?

  2. Maybe but I would think they'd figure out if I had an infection then worry about that. It was often phrased more out of curiosity it seemed but you might be right.