Medical Leave

Sorry for the light posting around here, but we’ve had more upheaval in the medical field.  My mother-in-law went into the hospital early last week with a veritable u-pick of symptoms and possible diagnoses that finally settled on kidney infection.  She started treatment but wasn’t getting better as quickly as expected, and then Thursday morning she had what the doctors in her small-town hospital thought was a heart attack.  Lacking the facilities to treat her there, they sent her off to Big City Tennessee Hospital, where she was promptly placed in — no, not ICU — a room in the outpatient surgery area, the only one available at the time.  Dear Husband, my SIL, and Oldest Daughter all scooted up to see her, only to find that it was almost impossible to shoehorn even one extra person into the room.  She’s in a regular one now.

The BCTH docs didn’t think she’d had a heart attack after all, but they ordered a bunch of tests, which turned out to be a very good thing.  After various scans and, I’d be willing to bet, enough blood draws to feed a vampire for months, it was determined that she has a stone blocking the exit to one of her kidneys, hence the infection and, possibly, the breathing problems and other symptoms that led to suspicion of a heart attack.

She also has cardiomyopathy.  This is not a happy diagnosis, but it beats the hell out of the undiagnosed variety.  She had a cardiac catheterization this morning, which showed no blockage, so my limited knowledge (and Google searches) lead me to think there will be lots of medication and monitoring in her future.  I haven’t heard the doc’s report yet.

The kidney infection is clearing up, but she will need a couple of procedures to break up the stone — including an exciting visit with a lithotripter.  Back in a previous life, I wrote several Certificate of Need applications for lithotripters, and the name still makes me laugh.  It sounds like a fake high-tech device on Star Trek.  Having seen someone suffer through passing a stone, however, I’ll take the funny-name machine any day.

So, now we know something, even if it isn’t the best news.

9 Responses to “Medical Leave”

  1. Katharine says:

    Knowledge gives you something to focus on and to help your mother-in-law fight for better health. My prayers are with her and your family.

  2. Songbird says:

    Mine, too, Kathy.

  3. Kathy says:

    Thanks to both of you!

  4. Kind of OT but still on the health topic: my daughter at UA/Tuscaloosa got the ‘flu, got treated at the student health center but didn’t get any better. My husband went and got her in the middle of the night and took her to American Family Care last Sunday, where they diagnosed a mycoplasma infection. This kind of infection is notoriously hard to diagnose, and it takes some heavy duty antibiotics to get rid of it. If she’d waited one more day, she would have developed pneumonia. So, just so anyone reading this will know, there IS ‘flu going around, and if you get it you might want to get tested for bacterial infection as well. Like Kathy’s mother-in-law. (Ta-da! Back on topic!)

    Oh, and just the co-pays on the medicine were $60, God knows what the clinic bill was. We have good insurance, but even a relatively small thing like this could be devastating to a lot of people. We need single-payer health care – Medicare for all!

  5. Kathy says:

    Lisa, I hope your daughter is okay. My MIL went into the hospital initially thinking she had flu that was turning into pneumonia. And you’re not kidding about the expense — I can’t imagine how big her bill will be when all this is done.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Ouch! I’ve never had stone, but I have it on good authority it is as painful as childbirth! But I guess it’s a blessing because without the stone, would they have diagnosed the heart problem? I’ll keep her in my prayers!!

  7. I am praying for your family Kathy, as well as for your mother in law.

  8. Don says:

    Count on my prayers, too, Kathy. The older I become the more people I seem to hear of that need prayers but there’s always room for one more.

  9. Kathy says:

    Thanks, everyone!

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