Pinpoint Gut Pain, It’s Not Always a Blockage

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By Heidi Skiba @OstomyOutdoors

A Stone is Cast!

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. with a strange pain. My husband Doug heard me stirring, but since the pain was pretty minor I told him to go back to sleep while I got up to make myself some tea and take a warm shower. Perhaps that would help it go away. After I got out of the shower, I sat down to go to the bathroom and suddenly felt an extremely sharp pain explode in my left side. I knew this would likely require a trip to the ER. I started to gather my insurance card, clothes, spare ostomy supply kit and other things I might need.

Curled up in the car seat, I tried to use the mindfulness meditation techniques I had learned after ostomy surgery. I attempted to focus on each breath instead of the waves of pain and nausea I was experiencing. Within minutes of entering the ER, I was lying in a bed hooked up to an IV with some much needed Dilaudid (pain reliever). The doctor decided to order a CT scan which revealed kidney stones – one in each kidney. I couldn’t be released from the hospital until the 4mm stones moved to a place that was a bit less painful.

When I got back to our house, Doug made me endless cups of herbal tea and I watched at least two tear-jerker dramas on Netflix which is one of my tried and true methods of feeling better. Finally, first thing the next morning, it popped out. I was so happy to see that little rock. It reminded me of a precious nugget in a gold pan! Once the stone passed, I had instant relief and was back to running and hiking within a couple of days.

The take-home message with all of this is that I need to drink a lot more water. I usually try to take in 3-4 liters in a normal day (more when I am doing something active). However, I also know that I have gotten a bit complacent with my hydration. Dehydration is one of the challenges of having an ileostomy and also something that can contribute to kidney stone formation. It is a lesson I won’t soon forget. In fact, I think it is time to go have a glass of water right now!

Connect with Heidi at Ostomy Outdoors