Going, Going… Almost Gone?

“Hi. This is Jan Chait. I have an appointment with Dr. F. at 10:30 tomorrow morning. Would you please reserve the examining room closest to the accessible bathroom for me, please. Great! Thanks!”


That was my ophthalmologist’s office. At least he’s in town. Next was an appointment for my grandson in Indianapolis.

“Hello. This is Jan. I’m David’s grandmother. He has an appointment with Dr. L. at 11 o’clock. He doesn’t like to drive in the city; I’m having a kidney problem and just can’t make it to Indianapolis today. Can I reschedule, please? Oh, and do you have an accessible bathroom in your office suite I can use? The public bathroom isn’t accessible for me. Terrific! And Monday would be great! Thanks!”

Ever planned your day around bathroom availability? That’s what I’ve had to do lately. For Indianapolis, what I normally have been doing is to go right before I leave home and then at the Plainfield rest stop — right before the Indy exits and a little less than an hour from where I live. As I write this on Thursday, an hour isn’t working: I’m going about every 20 minutes or so today.

Sleep? What’s that? You don’t get a lot when you have to get up and go every hour. This is disgusting: On Memorial Day, and again last weekend, I put plastic on the recliner seat and lots of folded-up absorbent towels and such…and slept all day. In my urine. It’s the only way I could figure out to get some sleep.

Also, you know that I’m not a whiner, I’m not a wimp, and I’m not a crybaby. But I have been recently. After all the infections and surgeries I’ve been through over the past couple of years, a kidney stone has gotten to me. I mean, when I had my leg amputated, the hospital staff hung out in my room because I was so upbeat, making jokes about my leg (or lack of one) and so on. (“Yeah, you can tell I’m from West Virginia: One leg is longer than the other.”)

Pain. Burning. No quality sleep. A trip to ICU. An insanely long wait to see a surgeon to get the stone out… It’s the last straw. I give.

To give you an idea of what’s happening, make a fist. That’s about the size of one kidney. Now, imagine a 1-inch kidney stone wedged into the little funnel-shaped space where the ureter leaves the kidney on its way to the bladder. Nothing can get past the stone, so I have a stent in my kidney to drain it. The stent is the cause of the burning and frequent urination, but I need the stent. Pain pills are not helping.

On top of that, my glucose stopped its downward plunge and started soaring again. I’ve added back all of the basal insulin I dropped — and more. And my local urologist’s office was paying no attention to the fact that my glucose requirements are signaling that I may be getting into trouble again.

But (finally!) things are looking up.

I called the Indianapolis urologist’s office and put my (one remaining) foot down. I was rewarded with an appointment with the nurse practitioner (NP), which occurred yesterday (June 6).

Aside from the pain and the constant running to the bathroom, I told her, my blood glucose is whacking out, which is affecting my Type 2 diabetes. Also, I have osteoarthritis in my knees. It’s to the point of being bone-on-bone. “For example,” I said, “to go to the bathroom at night, I have to transfer from the bed to the scooter, from the scooter to the toilet, from the toilet to the scooter and from the scooter back to bed. Every time I transfer, I have to pivot on my leg. I’m tearing up my knee.”

I’m now scheduled to have surgery on June 27 to have the stone removed from my kidney. It will involve making an incision in my back, breaking up the stone and removing the pieces…and a short stay in the hospital.

Compare that to the original scenario, where I was to see the surgeon on July 5. At the time — in May — he was booking surgery into July.

When I finished my appointment with the NP, I was taken to the surgery scheduler’s office. She checked all of the surgeon’s schedules and the hospital schedules and got me in at the earliest date. Whew! I also got samples of a medicine that may stop me from having to “go” as often.

Maybe I could have had surgery earlier, had the local folks been listening to me, done some testing, and given me antibiotics. But they didn’t, and I can’t order labs myself.

But once I mentioned my skyrocketing glucose levels to the NP, she determined that I probably have an infection; my contribution is being cultured to see if I do and what bacteria is causing it. I’ll then be put on antibiotics for a couple of weeks to handle the infection before surgery occurs.

My poor endocrinologist. First he helped me with adjusting my insulin to take care of my hypoglycemia. That was almost immediately followed by helping me adjust my insulin to take care of my hyperglycemia. We just got that straightened out late last week.

Yesterday I e-mailed him to ask if he was ready to climb back on the glucose rollercoaster with me. “I’m probably at the top of the hill on the rollercoaster and about to head down again,” I wrote. “Do I know how to have fun, or what?!”

Maybe the hills on the rollercoaster won’t be so steep this time. I’ve learned from what he’s asked me to do to adjust my insulin over the last three weeks or so. (Sometimes I do listen to my doctor!) I found that I wasn’t being as aggressive in adjusting as I should have been.

The lesson? Don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands. If I had docilely gone with what my local urologist’s office had arranged, I’d still be sitting around crying “woe is me!” As it is, I’ve calmed down considerably — literally overnight.

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  • jim snell

    Whoa – hope you do better soon. What punishment.

    one item about soaring sugar:

    On my cgms; if intestine providing sugar I may see the arrow pointing up at angle rarely. If liver dump hits, then arrow definitely goes up to vertical and sometimes twice.

    Levoquin antibiotic will cause my liver to slam on the glucose release. It seems that every time you have antibiotics or at least suggested in your blog that you are on antibiotics when you mention soaring glucose. Levoquin and booze will override the metformin and the liver seems obliged to slam on glucose release.

    Hope you get this chinese water torture behind you quickly.

  • jim snell


    Hope you improve and get well soon. We need your well informed and detailed blogs for the rest of us slugs.

    Best wishes and good health soon.

    Jim Snell

  • Susan Shaw

    Hey Jan:

    Even in your darkest moment you remain an inspiration. Keep slamming that one foot down. And keep writing.

    Susan ūüôā

  • Linda M.

    Jan, what can I say? What a ride! I don’t like rollercoasters and sure don’t like the one you’ve been on lately. Hope the meds get you to where you can at least get a good nights sleep again. I know you usually don’t ever whine so you must be totally miserable. I would probably be at the ER screaming with what you’ve had. I know you don’t usually look forward to surgery but in this case you just might. Praying for you to have much, much better days ahead because you deserve a long rest.

  • Robert

    Jan, I do hope you are feeling better quickly with the sample allowing you to at least get some sleep prior to the surgury. May it go switftly, without comlications,and may the healing process be quick and painless.



  • Diane

    I hope you will be feeling much better soon. I always enjoy reading your blogs; you are an inspiration.
    Best wishes; take care!