I made the mistake of googling my procedure.
When you hear “stent,” what comes to mind?
Maybe a tiny coil, smaller than a thimble? Maybe a micro sized umbrella, like a cocktail decoration for a fairy garden?
Okay, so maybe I didn’t have a reasonable understanding of stents going into this, but I’m pretty sure my doctor didn’t elaborate on purpose.
Because Google revealed ureteral stents are over EIGHT INCHES LONG with curlicues at each end.
In other words, I was electing to have a crazy straw shoved all the way up my pee tube and into my kidney for FIVE DAYS.
I was equally worried about mast cell reactions to the surgery and stent. This was my first procedure since my mast cell disease diagnosis and I had no idea how I would react to some medications such as anesthesia.
However, I needed the procedure. My kidney stones were aggravating my mast cells. My kidney was constantly aching and the pain was spurring low grade fevers.
I shared all my fears with my surgeon. He listened to me, and agreed to follow the pre-op and emergency mast cell disease protocol. He tried to reassure me.
“I will leave a string, so if the stent become unbearable, you can always pull it out,” he said smiling. “Like a tampon!”
This is when I realized we would never quite be on the same page. I’m pretty sure ripping out my own eight-inch stent would be a ticket to the Anaphylaxis Express. I also questioned his familiarity with tampons. Again, I am not a medical professional, but there is a significant difference between a pee tube and a baby tunnel.
My first sentence out of the operating room was, “Why did you wake me up? I was in Fiji.”
And then, “I need to pee.”
This is less curious when you realize I can only drink Fiji water.
The nurse assured me that I didn’t actually have to pee. They had drain my bladder with a catheter and I was feeling irritation from the procedure. After a quick assessment, I realized I felt quite good! My fever and kidney pain was gone! I proceeded to chat with everyone with the recovery room that was conscious. I have a suspicion that my mast cells loved the sedative.
My surgeon reported that he removed 5-10 stones, most of which were too big to pass! I basically had a quarry in my kidney!
Everyone told me the stent would be awful. They warned me that I would scream when I peed. So I emotionally prepared for death. Instead, I burst out of the bathroom, “I PEED! IT WAS FINE! I CAN DO THIS!”
The remainder of the day was awesome. For the first time in months, I had no pain. I bounced around my condo, confusing and concerning my caretaker. Thanks to prednisone, I bid her adieu at 10 pm and pulled all-night creative extravaganza. My poodle pulled a blanket over his head.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end here. After all, it’s a mast cell story. Read part two.