I did a lot of thinking on whether I should write a blog post about this, but after the behest of several friends, I figured what the hey.
After the cryptic statements in my Twitter, Facebook and MSN, some people are slightly aware that I spent a week in hospital in December last year. It’s a pretty long story, so I haven’t really elaborated on it at all beyond those comments. But since quite a few people have sent me messages asking WTF happened, I’ve decided to come clean and write the whole shebang here.
Just for the record, if you’re squeamish about surgery and blood and graphic detail and all that, you may want to skip this one. I’m not holding anything back here, and some parts might be a bit icky.
Alrighty, so when I was born all those years ago, I entered this world with a congenital birth defect where the tube connecting my left kidney to my bladder (ureter) was so narrow that it would often get blocked. This meant my poor left kidney was constantly getting backed up, and getting damaged in the process.
When I was 5, my parents caught on that something was screwy after I apparently spent several days/nights crying and vomiting, at the same time exclaiming epic pain in my side. Several ultrasounds and xrays later, the doctors diagnosed me with a PUJ obstruction, the technical term for ‘blocked kidney’.
So at the ripe old age of 5, I had open surgery to remove the narrow sections of that tube. I can’t remember much of that time, only that lying in a bed in hospital feels like an eternity and that peeing through a tube feels weird as hell.
A week later, I went home and everything felt fine..
…until quite recently.
Back in 2007, I started to notice my left side making weird fluttering/pinching feelings. I didn’t really care about it much, and hadn’t connected it to my kidney at all. The shocker came while I was at the gym. While doing some sit-ups, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my left side that can only be described as feeling like someone just plunged a butcher’s knife into my side and started twisting it around. I pretty much realised at this point, my kidney must be borked again.
Sure enough, several xrays and medical scans later, the doc informed me that the scar tissue from the last surgery had actually re-created the same PUJ obstruction problem before by sealing up my kidney. While the kidney was still draining, it was suffering such an epic backlog that it was causing pain whenever I tensed a muscle near that area (situps, and even laughter and crying)
In 2008, I had keyhole surgery to try and burn away the scar tissue with a laser. Although everything felt great for a few months after that, it apparently hadn’t solved the problem and the obstruction was still there. Finally, in 2009, the doc said I had to bit the bullet, and have another open surgical procedure. If I didn’t, the pain would continue, and the kidney would (after several years) ultimately die, which then becomes another problem.
So, in December 2009, without really saying much at all online or to friends, I went into the hospital and underwent the surgery. I woke up with my torso wrapped in bandages, my left arm filled with tubes, and my right hand armed with a device to control pain medication administration. The were two giant tubes poking out of my side, which would constantly fill up with blood and watery plasma crap draining from the site of the surgery and needed to be replaced by nurses every couple of hours. For about 4 days, I was completely unable to move, and at the same time, so high on heavy panikillers that I didn’t really notice. Since I couldn’t move, I had to pee into a bag (which actually felt really good in a really lazy way haha XD) for that time and there were several times when the drainage bag seal burst, so my entire bed and back got drenched in warm plasma.
On one of of the days, the doc came in at one point and told me everything seemed to go well. Apparently there was a huge ‘knot’ of scar tissue behind my kidney, which he cut out, and then rebuilt using spare flaps of skin. He said even though he had to sever several arteries to do it, no parts of the kidney visibly died, so absolutely nothing critical got compromised.
After the 5th day, I was able to (VERY slowly) get out of my bed and make it to the toilet and back (having to carry all of my drainage bags with me ) and by the 7th day, albeit slowly, I was able to go home. I couldn’t move very much at all still though, so I just spent most of the time playing on my PC or playing Xbox. Thankfully, due to the timing of the surgery and the Christmas holidays, I was able to rest up without needing to take too much time off.
About a week after the surgery, I took a photo of the wound.
Don’t click this if you’re squeamish!!
(This is a picture of my left side from my back. The red dot is one of the drainage holes. Doc told me since he had to get around the back of the kidney, he had to cut a huge hole haha.)
So come 7 weeks later now, I met up with the doc again and he said that everything looks fine now. The wound has sealed completely, I’ve pretty much got all mobility back and I don’t have to worry about too much about the wound ripping open (I think he was joking XD). He also re-iterated that the surgery was a complete success. It only took half as much time as he thought he’d need and no parts of the kidney died in the process. If I was involved in an accident in the future that completely destroyed my other ‘good’ kidney, I could still function off this one without needing dialysis… which is totally awesome to hear.
And now I have a totally rocking battle scar which I love showing off at parties.
So yeah, that was my December folks. While it was an ‘interesting’ experience, it’s something I’d never wish any other human being to have to go through. Compared to some other people, I’d say this little experience was a walk in the park, but I’m sincerely hoping not many other people who are my age have to go through with this.
Thanks for reading. I’ll try not to post too many of these kinds of posts in future.
- Published February 6, 2010
- Categories Personal