Would you Want to Know?

Winston Salem, North Carolina
January 16, 2016 8:23am CST
At the tail end of last year a good friend of mind had an unanticipated bout with kidney stones. She was given painkillers to help her manage the pain and was scheduled for outpatient surgery to take care of the problem. The surgery went well and she was sent home to rest and recover. Unfortunately things quickly began to go down hill. She developed a fever, and when the fever continued to climb she returned to the hospital, was admitted and placed immediately in in the intensive care unit. Her fever continued to climb and her symptoms weren’t responding to treatment. It turns out that the kidney stones has been her bodies response to a bacterial infection. When the stones were pulverized by laser therapy the bacteria was re-released into her system causing septic shock. I had a chance to talk to her at length this past week. She hadn’t known how sick she really had been. It was only at a follow up doctors visit that she learned that her organs had started to shut down and the doctors had only give her a 50/50 chance of surviving. She and I are pretty close in age. Her kids are a little younger than mine but not by much. She was horrified to learn just bad the doctors’ prognosis had been, Even her husband hadn’t know just how bad things actually were. I wonder, though, if knowing how close things really were to ending badly wouldn’t have ended up making recovery that much harder. After all added stress very likely wouldn’t have helped her at all. Thankfully she is well again and as a result of her experience we’ve been reminded that there is no promise that we will have tomorrow. A good reminder to live everyday as if it could be our last, because in all honesty it very well might be.
18 people like this
19 responses
@owlwings (38291)
• Cambridge, England
16 Jan 16
That is very scary! I know that kidney stones are painful (even very small ones which can be passed through the ureter) but I didn't know that they could be dangerous if pulverised (which is now a very common treatment, of course). If ever I suffer from kidney stones, I shall make sure that the hospital is aware of this and gives me proper after-care.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
16 Jan 16
It took extensive blood tests for them to determine the source of the infection. Sepsis from surgery it seems, is not as uncommon as we would like to believe it is, plus this was bacteria was the initial cause of the kidney stones in the first place and the direct cause of the infection that followed. You'd think it would be something that the doctor's would be watching out for.
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38291)
• Cambridge, England
16 Jan 16
@Platespinner I know that sepsis from surgery is quite common and, indeed, usually anticipated. Of course, the treatment of kidney stones by ultrasound is "non-invasive" and so sepsis through the normal routes would not be expected.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
16 Jan 16
@owlwings Which I understand. My concern is the fact that the possibility that it was a bacteria that had caused the kidney stones in the first place that was then re-released into the body wasn't even considered a possibility until after the usual treatments for sepsis were unsuccessful and extensive blood tests over the course of several days finally isolated the cause. I understand that it's rare, but...
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (103829)
• Bunbury, Australia
16 Jan 16
You could well be right about the added stress of being so ill perhaps adding to the length of her recovery.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
Now if we could just convince her to take it a little easier while she's still recovering....
2 people like this
@JudyEv (103829)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Jan 16
@Platespinner This is the really hard part isn't it? People are so anxious to get up and going again after a major illness.
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• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
@JudyEv I'm betting the three words she's heard most often in the past three weeks or so has been "take it easy!"
2 people like this
@Morleyhunt (17439)
• Canada
17 Jan 16
That's what I try to impress on my siblings (not you :)) that if you want to spend time with your father, have your children and grandchildren spend time with him, don't wait until the time is right.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
I would have thought November of last year would have been a wake-up call for everyone.
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@Morleyhunt (17439)
• Canada
18 Jan 16
@Platespinner Naa, I think several have just hit snooze and gone back to sleep.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
1 person likes this
@lokisdad (4293)
• United States
18 Jan 16
This it's true you never know when you're going to go and there are many things i want tho do but sometimes it's as if time just eludes you
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
I think it's a question of living life to the fullest each and every day. Too many people waste too much time grumbling and complaining about what they don't have and wishing that next weekend, next vacation, next year would hurry up and get her.
1 person likes this
@lokisdad (4293)
• United States
19 Jan 16
@Platespinner Yes we want to skip the unpleasantness and get to the good parts and fast
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@LadyDuck (126691)
• Switzerland
16 Jan 16
I am glad that she recovered, it's scary to imagine that a simple kidney stone surgery can almost kill you. She probably had an infection before the doctor pulverised the stones and the bacteria have spread into her body.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
16 Jan 16
From what the doctors said the kidney stones were the body's response to that particular bacteria and pulverizing the stones re-released the infection into her body causing her immune system to go a bit crazy.
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@LadyDuck (126691)
• Switzerland
16 Jan 16
@Platespinner Well, it's a good thing she is here now to know what happened in her body.
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@UncleJoe (9077)
• Virginia Beach, Virginia
26 Jan 16
That's been my philosophy for a long time.
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• Winston Salem, North Carolina
26 Jan 16
And at your advanced age, that's saying something .
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@MALUSE (33761)
• Denmark
18 Jan 16
I think Iwould want to know. I've always heard that kidney stones produce the most horrible pain. Poor woman.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
I've heard the same. I know she is glad the whole episode is mostly behind her.
@Rollo1 (16711)
• Boston, Massachusetts
18 Jan 16
It would have done her no good to know how sick she was at the time she was trying to recover. All that added stress! But perhaps there are some doctors now who will be more cautious with the next patient and check for bacterial infections before they do something that spread them willy nilly through a patient's system.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
I suspect she would have focused entirely too much attention on how hard this would all be on her children had she known how bad it really was. I agree, I hope this was a wake up call for the doctors involved. Considering we live in what is referred to by the medical community as the Kidney Stone Captial (this is the happening place to be for Urologists) you'd think they'd be watching for that kind of problem.
@Susan2015 (19277)
• United States
17 Jan 16
That is scary. I've had more than a few kidney stones zapped out. They always give me an antibiotic after just in case.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
They gave her an antibiotic as well, unfortunately this was way beyond the scope of the antibiotic prescribed (it's been almost a month and she's still on antibiotics...)
@gr8nana6 (2250)
• United States
17 Jan 16
Wow that was close for her. I am glad she is doing better now. I agree with you to live each day as if it was your last.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
It is so easy to get bogged down in the details of everyday living that we forget to really live and spend too much time worrying about things that we won't even remember a year from now.
@just4him (96054)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
16 Jan 16
I'm very happy she's okay. I agree, we never know when we will take our last breath.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
Sometimes we need to be reminded of that--this was a major wakeup call.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jan 16
It's easy to forget how easily life can slip away but happy to hear that your friend is well and recovered from her almost fatal infection. I don't think knowing you're in such a precarious health crisis would help one recover but only add stress. Hope is the one thing I think that helps in recovery
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• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
I'm inclined to agree with you on the not knowing...
@DianneN (63014)
• United States
16 Jan 16
I would want to know, because I would fight to live with every last breath. I have too much for which to live. She sounds like a fighter, too. I am so relieved to learn that she recovered!!!
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
She was fighting with everything she had. Had she known how bad things were I suspect she would have spent entirely too much time worrying about what her kids would do if she were gone. She tends to be the kind of person who worries more about other people than she does herself.
1 person likes this
• Greece
16 Jan 16
I thought you were going to say that she had contracted that MRI virus but this was worse because the doctors had made an error and it nearly killed her. Unexpected stories such as this do serve as a reminder that we are very vulnerable and should not take tomorrow for granted.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Jan 16
I think you meant MRSA. Thankfully that wasn't what she was battling...though I learned when my mother was in hospital last November, that it's not uncommon to be a MRSA carrier without any symptoms at all. It's one of those bacterial infections that is very good at hiding and not causing problems for most people, but being deadly for others. My mother tested positive for MRSA was put in an isolation room as a result, but had absolutely no symptoms. The isolation was to protect others.
@marlina (64893)
• Canada
16 Jan 16
So happy that your friend has recovered successfully. NO, we never know if we will get another tomorrow, that's why I try to live my way every day.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
16 Jan 16
I am so glad to see her healthy again. Finding out just how bad things were has been a bit of a shock to her entire family.
• United States
26 Jan 16
This is a very good post because it clearly tells us to listen to the body, get familiar with how it sounds and feels when well so that if something becomes wrong, at least you have a clue before it is almost too late, thanks
@Tampa_girl7 (22225)
• United States
20 Jan 16
She is blessed to be alive.
@zebra2222 (4889)
• United States
19 Jan 16
Glad it turned alright in the end.
@AnneEJ (5102)
• Dollard-Des-Ormeaux, Quebec
18 Jan 16
So thankful she is well. Maybe it is just as well she didn't know how sick she was. I remember years ago, having emergency gall bladder surgery, and being in intensive care for a few days. I did not know until afterwards, that I had a severe case of Pancreatitis, and that could have been fatal. So thankful for the prayers of family and friends that helped me through that time.