Throwing it back to

1982? What the heck happened in 1982?

Well, I wasn’t even 2 years old, so I can’t tell you anything from my direct memory. But I can tell you from the stories I’ve heard, and am now, in a different season of life, am sort of re-living.

I was a sick child. I had been diagnosed with pneumonia 3-4 times before I was potty trained. It was only at that time that the doctors realized that it wasn’t actually pneumonia, it was kidney infections. Apparently the bladder valves that block your pee from going back up into your kidney didn’t form/function completely for me and the urine reflux was making me sick.

I’m sure it was an amazing relief for my parents to finally figure out what was going on with their baby daughter and learn that it was a fixable issue. What they’d later learn is that a lot of damage had been done and it wasn’t a simple surgery. Over the course of the next 12-18 months, we’d make several trips to Children’s Mercy in Boston for consultations and surgeries with special children’s urologist.

I don’t remember much from those days, but I do have a few core memories: constantly getting my blood drawn, placing pretend IVs in my Cabbage Patch doll, singing songs from Annie with my hospital roommate Julie and fighting over who got to sing, “We love you Miss Hannigan.”

I also remember exploring Boston with a pee bag strapped around my leg and being vaguely embarrassed by it. In hindsight, we may have only been walking in a different wing of the hospital – but I sort of remember seeing artwork…?

Anyway, that’s back. Minus the trips to Boston. And the kids hospital. Now it’s a regular hospital.

Recent History
About a year ago I got sick with a kidney infection that put me in the hospital. Little did I know that it was the first of many infections I’d have over the course of the year. If I wasn’t taking a pretty heavy-duty antibiotic, I was essentially guaranteed to have a kidney infection within two months time.

This latest infection has been a doozy. My body has been trying to fight it for more than a month. I’ve been on 4 antibiotics; nothing is working. On the bright side, because my body realizes the chronic pain and infection in my kidney, it no longer reacts like normal. No fever, just a lot of exhaustion and, at best, I’m always uncomfortable. At worst, I feel like I’ve taken a direct punch to the left kidney (also known as the bad one).

Yesterday I had a CT Scan to confirm that I did not have kidney stones. (If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked by a doc/nurse if I have a history of kidney stones, I’d be able to take an entire ball team out for dinner.) It did confirm that my left kidney still sucks. It’s small and sort of folds over on itself. And while it had been providing some ongoing functionality, it seems now like it’s mostly a harbor for infection and all that is bad.

Moving Forward
Tomorrow I go in for another test to see how well the good kidney functions. In the past I’ve been told that it’s functionality was impaired because of the damage done as a child. I’m honestly not sure when I last had this type of test done. I’m hoping for at least 80% or greater functionality so my chances of kidney failure/going on dialysis/needing a kidney transplant remain relatively low. Ole’ righty has been doing great work for a long time, I have faith that she’s not going to let me down now.

From there I have a couple of surgical paths ahead of me, depending on when I’m able to get on the doctor’s schedule. Nearly all directions lead towards some time with a pee bag again, so I’ll be looking for wearable options to hide a pee bag. But even if I don’t find something suitable, it will all be worth it when my bad kidney is out and I can finally get back to being healthy again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *