kidney stone adventures, con’t

I’ve thought this a thousand times since yesterday but I took Sarah to her second procedure by myself because Rich was on a business trip.   I’ve thought it frequently…..not because I’m resentful of the fact but because I’m proud of it.  If you only knew the way I was when I was first married, in my early twenties I was still having heart palpitations and driving with my hands whitely clutched to the steering wheel as I drove on the highway, for goodness sakes.  In my mind, highway driving was a near death experience.  Yes, if you only knew how I was from childhood.  My mother told me that people didn’t think I could talk when I was so very small, because I couldn’t bring myself to answer their friendly questions.  I would rather die than get up in front of a crowd and speak.  If I’ve done anything extra brave, its because I was taken over by a power greater than I, namely, love –for music, producing solos, for babies, producing many doctor’s visits and going through child birth seven times, for God– in leading Bible study one year, for travel–in boarding an airplane, etc (that’s about all the brave stuff I have done).  LOL  Perhaps this affliction is more common then I believe (am I a freak?), but the truth remains– I have lived life nervously but!  Amen.  I would be a timid mouse in an underground hole if I didn’t have a family to bring me out into the world.

Sarah had robotic surgery in January to remove a bucket-load of kidney stones.  At that time she was given an internal stent.  So this next procedure was using a scope to look in the kidney to make sure everything was indeed cleaned out and to take the old stent out.  It was scheduled to last about 2 hours.  (last time was 8 hours)

So yesterday when the two of us left home we went to Barnes and Noble.  Sarah didn’t have to be to the hospital until 11:30 so I wanted to pass some time doing something fun.  She picked out a shopkins keychain and I bought two Harry Potter books (3 and 4).  Then we went to the children’s play area in the mall so she could play.  She soon became tired so we walked down the hall and back before getting back into the car.  We made it back to the highway and into the city.  I found the parking garage and got the car parked up on the 6th floor.  It was freezing cold, as usual, and we shivered our way to the lobby to take the elevator down to ground level.  We crossed the street into the hospital…Sarah, myself, and my big brown bag full of stuff we needed.  We checked in and received our identification stickers and made our way to 4G for surgery registration.

A lady took us in her little office to check us in.  Then, we waited for a few minutes in waiting room before another lady took us down a floor to triage where the patients get prepped for their surgery.  Sarah used the bathroom before we put her adorable hospital pajamas on.  I forgot to mention that she had a bath at home before we left and I combed her hair back and braided it.  She looked small and sweet, like a squeaky clean piglet.  Since we had surgical experience, we were not as nervous as the first time.  She asked for an iPad and the nurse got her one that had an Elmo case on it.  Sarah promptly found a Lego game to play and I read Harry Potter #2 and was interrupted many times by friendly nurses and doctors, asking many questions which I answered, calling Jacob one time so that I could get the exact name of the antibiotic that Sarah was taking daily.  Jacob was all stressed out because he couldn’t find his special cord that he needed to print his paper.  He wanted to tell me all about it which made me laugh because in his mind it was much more important than having a child in the O.R.?  He didn’t think of it that way, I’m sure.  I love him so much….and he was helpful to the extreme yesterday as he watched the kids after school (and he did get the paper printed so it all worked out).

One cute thing was that Sarah rated her hunger pains as a 6 on the pain scale (10 being the worse).  Poor thing!

Well, after over an hour of waiting for surgery, it was finally time.  The hospital has small motor cars for the kids to drive down the halls to the O.R. if they wish. But Sarah became sad and decided at the last moment NOT to drive.  The two of us decided it would be nicer if Mama carried her so I did, wearing yellow scrubs, and brushed the little tears off her face.  She was quietly upset…no shaking or talking…just silent tears.  I took her in the room where there were about 7 or 8 people, I think there were two of everybody.  Two doctors, two nurses, two anesthesiologists, etc.  Sarah sat cross legged and facing me as they put the mask on her and encouraged her to breathe deeply and make the balloon close and open.  There were numbers on the screen and they cheered her on to see if she could beat the previous record of that day which was in the 600’s.  She promptly got 724 and started to melt in my arms.  Down she went, gently onto the bed sound asleep.   Meanwhile, I felt like I was suffocating with the surgical mask over my nose and mouth.  I pulled it down and kissed her cheek and left.  I was a little sad but felt mostly like “okay, lets get this over with”……plus I was starving.

The nice male nurse walked me back to my stuff and said that Sarah was exceptional because usually when kids get nervous and cry like that on their way to the room, they end up having a complete breakdown once they are in there and fight the mask and everything.  Nothing wrong with that of course…and I did see the look of panic that flickered in Exceptional Sarah’s eyes as she made the choice to breath and not fight.

They put our coats and Sarah’s bag in storage and I took my purse to the cafeteria and got a bowl of salad and a package of fig newtons.  I brought my food back to the waiting room and the quiet room section was free of people so I went right in there and set up my Kindle, put in ear buds, and watched two TV shows which I had downloaded at home that morning.  I ate my salad, drank some coffee, and texted with Mom and Dad, Rich, Colleen, and Hannah.  I updated FB and was cheered by all the instant encouragement there.

After a while, a hospital worker updated me that the Doctor was “removing stones”.  This information caused me distress as I imagined that her kidney had more stones in it then we had previously believed.  I braced myself for a long wait as Hannah encouraged me to replace every worry with a truth from God.  I had just opened a magazine when in walked the doctor telling me they were through and that Sarah was doing great!

I was so surprised and grateful.  I followed him to a small conference room and he went over all they had done.  He said it took longer then they originally thought–not because of stones–but because he had put dye in her system to see how her urology system flowed and he believes he may have found the area that could be a partial blockage.  She will need further tests but he had not not ever seen a child with as much stone burden as she had when he first saw her back in October so he tends to believe there must be some abnormality somewhere that CAN BE FIXED when and if we figure it out….there is even a chance she could outgrow the problem.  In the meantime, her right kidney (which is the one causing all these problems) is swollen which to me has been the freakiest bit of information so I asked him several times if that was okay and would she be okay.  To make a long story short, he said her kidney is like a stretched out balloon at this point and now that the stones are out it could and should heal.  He said she should have further testing to see if her stone making condition is metabolic but I said she already did that (with another doctor) and there was nothing abnormal except citrate levels so he said that was very good.  He said we should do another 24 hour urine collection test at some point.  He said we are just letting her heal and recover now but there are tests to be done in the future to check for a blockage or a reflux abnormality.  If they do find something she will need more surgery.

She goes back on Wednesday to get her stent pulled out, which is now attached to a long thread-like string taped to her leg.  This is a blessing because if he had put in the other kind of stent she would have had to go to the O.R. again.

He walked me to Sarah in recovery and she was sitting up with two nurses leaning close to her.   She was groggy, pale, shaking slightly, and crying.  She had red circles under her poor little eyes and as I got close I smelled that smell of the gas (or whatever it is) that they use to put her to sleep.  Ugh.  They were giving her Morphine which helped settle her down and she dozed as I talked with the nice nurse and called the pharmacy to make sure they had the prescriptions I needed to fill.

We left after an hour.  I went first to go get the car and they wheeled her out in a wheelchair.  Off we went through rush hour traffic (white knuckles? not too bad).  I finally made it to the entrance of the highway for the first time like ever, without making wrong turns and getting lost (even with the map on my phone, lol).  CVS was crazy busy, Sarah peed her pants in the car but thankfully I had extra clothes and helped her change as I was in the line to the drive through pharmacy window.  Sarah spent most of the trip home on my iPhone watching a movie.  They said it would take a half hour for the medicine to be ready so we went to Wendy’s drive through.  She wanted a chicken sandwich.  I did have to carry her inside to use the bathroom again but she was able to slowly walk back herself, holding my hand.

After we got the medicine (18 dollars for bladder spasm medicine, pain meds, and antibiotic) we headed home.  My head felt as if it was going to explode.  It was about 7 or so when we arrived and all the other kids were home.  Before I had even sat down, Rich pulled in the driveway.  I was utterly relieved, boy did that hug feel good and Rich confirmed what I had been thinking—that I had done a great job taking care of Srarh.

Sarah screamed and moaned the first few times she went potty at home.  Grace was upset and spent a bit of time with her and I gave her a good dose of the narcotic pain medicine they gave us which helped tremendously.  I thought Sarah was amazing.  While she was in the midst of pain she said, “I wish I was somebody else right now.”  To articulate this was smart and completely understandable, I thought. She got through the night just fine without me, which amazed us as well.  I saw her at 6 when she came in to ask if she could turn on a show.

She has a slight addiction to ginger ale at the moment.  🙂  She said it tastes just soooo good.

She’s cheerful today.  She happily did a little painting with Jacob which was precious to see.  She had the tape on her arm from the nurse bandaging her after pulling out the IV and she said it bothered her all night.  I promptly took it off which she didn’t appreciate but at least it was gone, leaving behind just a small bruise from the needle and red tape burns.  She still has the white circle chest stickers on and after what I did with the last bandage she won’t let me near them.  She managed to get one off herself after a bath.

She hasn’t needed any pain medicine today!

That’s about it for kidney stone news.  This has been quite an adventure.  🙂  But we aren’t complaining because we believe this is a childhood issue for her and won’t be something that will effect the quality of her entire life…so very thankful for that.  Time will tell.  We have today and it’s been a lovely one of relaxing and snuggles and also truffles with my girlie.  Right now she’s bored and can’t wait for the boys to get home (mean mommy said no more TV).  She loves her lamb from Dad, too.

Speaking of her Dad…Rich and I have got to get out tonight and get prepared for tomorrow, which is Ethan’s 18th birthday and he’s having a bunch of friends over.


at barnes and noble


play scape


in the bathroom…she was excited to see a picture of Snoopy!


playing the iPad provided by hospital







back home! Rich gave Sarah gifts–nail polish and a stuffed Lamb.
Sarah was busy eating Pringles.


we had a long day but we were glad to be home


painting with Jacob



she added a cardinal because we saw one out the window as she was painting


me and my little girl ❤

12 thoughts on “kidney stone adventures, con’t

  1. Prayers were said and I am so happy to hear that she made i through everything okay..what a brave little one :). Prayers for a speedy recover and hopes she outgrows the problem. Blessings to you all.

  2. Wow! What a day! You did it! Glad all is well with your girlie. Now for the birthday. YoucandoitPeterPan!!! 😎😄🎂🎉💫

  3. Glad to hear how all went. Sweet Sarah what a trooper and I am so proud of both of you!
    Much love to you all.

  4. Oh Shanda,what a day! I’m so glad that’s over,and yall are home. You’re such a good moma, and your husband is a great daddy to bring his little girl a get well gift! (That’s really sweet). You have really great friends and family. We’re you describing me in the beginning ? Lol;) I’m learning to be brave. Hugs, christina
    Ps. Praying for a speedy recovery for Sarah and a good weekend. Remember to breathe

  5. Sarah is so sweet. I was like you when I was young. I wouldn’t talk to anyone, or even look at them. My mom had coffee every day at a little restaurant near our house. I was usually with her. The 2 ladies that ran the place said “Hello Gracia” to me every day. I was 9 before I answered them. When I went to college I came out of my shell a little bit. After I was married and started having children I became much braver. We do what we have to for our children. God bless you.

  6. So glad to hear that Sarah is recovering – such a scary thing when our children need medical care. Don’t know if you would find it helpful but I recently have been researching kidney health because a family member has kidney issues, and I learned that avoiding soda pop and fried foods might improve kidney health. I hesitated to include this information since I didn’t want you to think I was criticizing, but thought you might like to have this information in case it might help Sarah. Meanwhile, I am sending happy thoughts in your direction.

    • Oh, thank you so much El, I don’t think you are criticizing at ALL. I don’t usually give the kids soda, I don’t buy it unless someone is sick in the house. She was allowed to have it the days after the surgery because the Doctor said it was so important for her to drink A LOT afterwards and she could have whatever she wanted. She’s back to water/milk/juice now. I know soda is terrible for our bodies for so many reasons! HUGS!!!! xo

  7. You two are both so strong and brave! I am praying for her, and praying for the Doctors to figure out an effective plan for her. Your sister gave you such wise encouragement. It is so important to remember how strong our God is when anxiety and fear creeps in. He is always with you.

  8. You both are beautiful and brave. Such a lot to go through. I am happy to hear that Sarah will likely grow out of this, and the doctors are so good at figuring it all out. Our Nick had horrible sinus infections when little. I used to always give the classrooms boxes of kleenex. Thankfully as he grew, his passages grew too, and that was all he needed!

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