Monday, 8 August 2011

Not a 24 Hour City

Before I go any further with this post, I want to emphasize that I have The Husband's full permission and cooperation to tell this story. Please don't get all bent out of shape by privacy concerns. He is fine with it.

The Husband is a chronic sufferer of kidney stones. As one who has never had the full displeasure of experiencing this condition, I am told that the pain endured is kind of like birthing triplets, surgery without anaesthesia, and full contact dentistry all rolled up into one massive shooting, excruciating, hot branding iron of torment. It is that bad. Over the years, The Husband and his physician have kept a watchful eye on his kidneys to be on the lookout for stones in the night. Ultrasounds, x-rays, visits to specialists, and ridiculous diets that are impossible to adhere to have all been prophylactically attempted in order to stay one step ahead of the dreaded stone. Several years ago, The Husband was referred to the Kidney Stone Centre at St. Michael's Hospital here in Toronto. (Yes, there is such a clinic and they are really on the cutting edge of kidney care-no pun intended.) It was recommend to him at the time that he undergo a non-invasive procedure called a lithotripsy. Using shock waves to target the stones from outside the body, the stones are broken up into smaller pieces so that they might easily pass. My man did undergo this procedure with excellent results and returned to his vigilant ways to reduce the occurrence. Sadly, nothing seems to really prevent their presence, and three weeks ago, knowing that several stones had recurred, he underwent another lithotripsy.

This is where the story gets interesting. At the time of the procedure, they gave The Husband a prescription for Percocet, a narcotic so strong that it would make Rush Limbaugh blush. The nurse told us that we should immediately fill the script so that if the stones began to pass, the medication would only make him wish he were dead instead of actually attempting Hari Kari. My Husband has an issue with immediacy. Procrastination is his mantra. He figured that since he was fine the last time out, he could handle any and all pain with a couple of Tylenol. Two weeks passed and no movement. He knew that he wasn't yet in the clear, so back to the clinic he went for another x-ray and another appointment. While the stones were smaller and broken, the urologist insisted on booking yet another procedure two weeks hence. That appointment was on Friday. Last night I actually saw my husband cry tears of pain.

At midnight he began writhing in bed. He thought it was nothing, but by 2:30 am he begged me for relief. I suggested a Tylenol 3 knowing full well that he hadn't filled the script for the oxycontin. Nope. It wasn't going to be nearly enough. He wanted to go to the hospital, but we knew that all they would do is prescribe the same medication and tell him to wait for it to pass. After throwing on a track suit and searching aimlessly for my glasses, I headed out with the script in hand to where I knew was a 24 hour pharmacy. Wrong again. They changed the one in our neighbourhood to a mere 12 hour location. I had no choice but to call The Husband and have him search the internet through his searing pain for the closest 24 hour spot. (The only good thing about driving in the suburbs at 3 in the morning is that there is literally no traffic. I made a U-turn on Bathurst without a thought.) 20 minutes later I was in Richmond Hill dealing with a pharmacist named Olga who thought that I was on a drug mule mission. She grilled me on the need for such a powerful narcotic and asked me if the patient was an addictive. Can you believe that I actually had to wait behind a guy getting the morning after pill for his lady friend too embarrassed to come in? True story!!

When I called The Husband on my way back south, he actually cried into the phone he was so relieved. I don't think I had experienced that kind of severity in a combined 76 hours of labour. The pills didn't actually dull the pain, but they did allow him some relief to sleep. This morning the stone passed and apart from severe exhaustion he is fine. The second lithotripsy is still scheduled.

York Region-you suck at 24 hour service. Try finding a gas station, pharmacy, or food location at 3 in the morning. There are people who require service in the middle of the night and I would suggest that our leaders do a better job of informing us where these are located. Driving around at that hour is stupid and dangerous, not to mention time-wasting. The good news? All is right in my world again and we have Percocet on hand now-just in case.

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