My Life as a Sitcom, Episode 456

The bad news: For the first time in my life, I am more familiar with the local healthcare scene than the local restaurant scene. My gigantic kidney stone wasn’t ready to make its exit, which I only realized when it decided to bid me a nice “hello!” while at my desk in River North on Monday morning.

The good news: I currently live with a nurse (shout out to Mrs. Herrmann), and I don’t think I totally disturbed the man sitting next to me on the train that I immediately took back into Naperville.

But I could be wrong.

Once I made it back into the burbs and the doctor’s office, my urologist was all, “You could wait and see if the stone ever decides to pass on its own, but you might develop a lethal infection throughout your entire body instead,” so I was like LOL, nope. We scheduled a surgery to have the kidney stone manually removed approximately five minutes later.

It turns out that coordinating a surgery between your urologist and the local hospital is tough, so we had to wait until Wednesday to get the little sucker out. While the doctors were completely confident I would be fine until then, this was unfortunate in the sense that kidney stones are – what shall I call them? – uncomfortable. 

Luckily, I was equipped with enough pain meds that waiting a couple days was just fine. I wasn’t able to head into work on Tuesday, as I was on enough Norco that driving and/or sitting upright weren’t viable options, so I attempted to work from home. This also failed miserably.

I was too nauseous to write or eat solid food, so I instead summoned the therapeutic powers of ice cream (Espresso Chip, to be exact) and sleep until Wednesday morning, when my Uncle Mike picked me up to take me to the hospital. As soon as I got checked in at the Edward’s outpatient unit, I was directed into a room and told to put on the world’s greatest hospital gown. Meet: Bair Paws.


A little hose goes into the hospital gown, blowing it up with air in order to regulate your body temperature during surgery. The fully inflated suit is pleasantly toasty, but looks exactly as hilarious as you’re probably imagining.

Although I am a little upset they didn’t give me those cool socks.

I spoke with my doc briefly, and some very hilarious nurses got me all set up on the operating table. My anesthesiologist came in, told me she wished me pleasant dreams (quite kind, in my opinion), and I don’t remember a single thing that happened afterwards.

The surgery turned out to be less of a surgery, technically, and more of a cystoscopy hybrid. I had to Google what a cystoscopy is even though I had one, and they essentially go like this: a doctor goes up through your bladder with a teeny tiny camera and removes the stone using a tool that I probably don’t want to know about, inserting a ureteral stent in its wake.

Super happy fun times

The stent makes sure that fluid can continue to drain from your kidney into your bladder, as the area can swell quite a bit after a kidney stone removal.

A live one

It stays in your body for a few days until the ureter/bladder heals, and then a nurse removes it using a string that hangs out of your bladder somewhat like a tampon string (sorry, folks). This portion of the Kidney Stone Fun is happening for me tomorrow, and I probably should have waited for it to happen before I looked up an actual picture of what’s currently inside my body.


The past few days have consisted of further attempts to work from home on prescription pain meds, some initially alarming stent-induced side effects, Harry Potter weekend, more ice cream (Chocolate Xtreme this time), and a few futile attempts to get off the couch. Although not as painful as the kidney stone, the stent is more uncomfortable than I had initially thought it would be – but I’m very happy everything has gone according to plan so far!

I was pretty content to do nothing but sleep the first couple days after surgery, but last night, my boredom reduced me to reading Seventeen magazine as a college graduate. I thought that perhaps it wasn’t entirely inappropriate literature for a 22 year-old when I found my favorite floral hi tops featured in the magazine…



…but then I kept reading.



My dad and Mandy spent the week getting the new cottage in Michigan set up, and it was definitely a relief knowing that they were much closer than they usually are.


Accepting name suggestions

They’re headed back to Texas as I type this, but I’m pretty excited for them to come back next month! With any luck, I won’t be touring the DuPage medical system, and I’ll be able to join them this time.

The work week begins again tomorrow, and I’m hoping that the stent-removal will go swimmingly and I can rejoin the beautiful city of Chicago ASAP. My bosses have been awesome about letting me take time off, so I’m anxious to make up for some lost time. That, and the patio bars of River North and the loop must miss me by now.

Until next time.

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