• Russell Levinson

Solo painful trip to the ER with my dog?

Updated: Nov 20

What seemed like a normal Tuesday night soon turned into a very painful trip to the ER. I was making dinner when pain started on the right side of my stomach and back. It quickly got very intense (around 9:30pm), and I tried to find a comfortable position to sit or lie in that wasn't painful. No success there, so I tried to take a nap. That also failed and soon the pain was unbearable, and I had no idea what it was or what to do. I live alone with my dog, and my choices were to either call an ambulance or drive myself to the ER, just over 2 miles away. But, what would I do with my dog? What if I got admitted overnight? I didn't really have anyone nearby to assist. I decided to take some Tylenol, then take the dog for her nightly walk. While doing that, I decided to hop in the car, with the dog, and drive to the hospital because the pain got worse. My plan was to leave the dog in the car, as the temperature was about 55 degrees. If I had to stay at the hospital for more than a few hours, I would have a friend take the dog home with him.

What I didn't plan for was the valet parking setup at the hospital. They were very confused to see a dog in my car and eventually let me park in a special spot near the entrance, as they could see I was in a lot of pain and had no choice. One of the staff did give me a tough time telling me it was illegal to leave my dog in the car, but the law actually states it is illegal only when there is extreme heat or cold in the vehicle. I told the staff that I had someone picking my dog up shortly and I needed to see a doctor.

Once inside, my pain seemed to worsen and I could barely function. After speaking with a few nurses, they said it sounded like a kidney stone.

I was eventually put into a small room, hooked up to an IV, given Tylenol, fluids, and eventually morphine. I could feel the morphine spread throughout my body as soon as I glanced at the nurse injecting it. I had a tremendous warm feeling and the pain disappeared for the next 45 minutes. During that time I texted my friend to come pick up my dog and was given an Ultrasound, X-rays and had my blood drawn. The pain returned and I asked the nurse for more meds. The nurse gave me Ketorolac, which killed the pain for the remainder of my stay.

My dog was successfully picked up just after midnight. Around the same time, the doctor came in and asked me questions and checked me out. Around 3am, he finally came back and told me I had a small kidney stone in my Urethra and it would pass. The timeline was anywhere from a few hours to two weeks. I was told to drink a ton of water until the stone passes. I finally left the hospital around 4am, but had to fight a bit to get a prescription for Ketorolac, which the doctor had promised. I was not leaving without that script because it worked so well and the thought of having that much pain again scared the hell out of me.

Day 2 (Wed) - Slept for about 5 hours and woke up at 10am as the pain meds started to wear off. I checked my phone and saw a text from CVS telling me my prescription was ready. I immediately walked over to the store. I was quickly disappointed when only one of the two scripts was sent over to CVS. The one they had for me was Ibuprofen. I was counting on Ketorolac, which worked so well for me in the hospital. I went home, took one Ibuprofen with a huge glass of water. The pain subsided and I called the hospital hoping to get them to send over the other prescription. A few hours later, I was able to walk back to CVS to pickup the Ketorolac pills. I took the new drug around 6pm, hoping it would kill the pain completely so I could play flag football. Although the doctor did not mention anything to me about exercise, the research I found indicated that light exercise could help increase the speed of the stone passing. I wound up feeling great for the game and play for over 2 hours without any pain. I was home by 10:30pm and I took an Ibuprofen and went to bed. I woke up at 4am with moderate pain and took another, which lasted til morning.

Day 3 (Thurs) - Woke up at 9:30am with some pain and decided to take another Ibuprofen. I think I was trying to save the other drug for more serious pain. I got out of bed around 10am, made coffee, a huge cup of water. The pain was gone by 10:30 and I picked up the dog from my friends house. I took a Ketorolac pill around 5pm with dinner, then an Ibuprofren at midnight. I was drinking so much water, I was using the bathroom like crazy.

Day 4 (Fri) - Woke up without any pain, which I thought was odd and went to the bathroom. I immediately saw the stone in the toilet. I did not feel anything. There was no pain. It was tiny and black, and the nightmare was over. I think I was lucky that the stone passed in less than 3 days.

Lessons learned:

If you live alone, you really need to have an emergency plan. Think about who can help you in an emergency, know the closest hospital, and have a plan for your pets.

Most kidney stones are caused by dehydration, so drink lots of water. The pain is the worst I have ever felt, but Ibuprofen will help before you see a doctor. If the stone is very large, they can do a minor procedure to break it up into smaller pieces. Larger stones can cause bleeding. The pain will disappear once the stone make its way into your bladder. Shortly thereafter, it will pass. I found exercising to be helpful. It may have assisted in moving the stone into my bladder.

Kidney stones will result in severe pain in your side/abdomen/lower back and no matter how you position your body, you will find no relief. You may experience nausea and vomiting, as well as a fever. You will need an ultrasound and/or CT scan to determine if you have a stone and the size, and then how to deal with it properly. A visit to the ER is best if the pain is severe, you have a high fever, or you have trouble urinating. A Urologist can handle less severe cases.

Your chance of getting a kidney stone? 6-11 percent, with men being affected at the higher end.

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