Today not only marks a year since I’ve posted on my blog, but much more significantly, today is the twenty-second anniversary of my accident. Happy another Bump Day!
Well, it’s been another rough year. Last Bump Day I revised my post from two years about my health condition as a result of my seating situation, but mere days following said revision, shit got even more real. Last August I unsuccessfully tried to pass a bunch of kidney stones, requiring a trip to the Emergency Room to resolve. I’ll keep all the gory details to myself, but by mid-September I had two more trips to the ER. The last one requiring an emergency surgery to remove stones from the end of the inside my penis – or urethra, if I must.
Further investigation revealed my kidney’s were full of stones (which explains a lot). I’d require a bunch of surgeries over what is soon to be a year to address the problem. Following one surgery in October, another one in November, and a big one in April of this year, with the last pieces of my recovery falling into place not forty-eight hours ago, if I may be so bold, I’m back!
I’m dealing with it
That’s right, it seems I have myself a neurogenic bladder as a result of my accident. I still have a lot to ask my urologist and understand about this diagnosis, but it’s not entirely all that surprising, especially considering I’ve been living with progressively worsening urinary symptoms for over twenty years. But things being what they are, and were over the last year especially, honestly, I’m not really any worse for wear. I’m dealing with it.
I’m that much more convinced my continued existence is a fucking testament to human adaptability, but again, there are limits. My stones painfully representing the latest instance of this point. No matter how in the nuts it feels this time, this is as close to my nuts as I care to get.
Monday, August 5th, 2019: Well, I got some news back this past June that calls into question whether my bladder is in fact neurogenic. It’s actually looking more like I had something I’d long suspected, a miserable, arrogant, ableist urologist. He saw me in my wheelchair, and, as far as I can tell, assumed based on that fact a neurogenic bladder was the reason stones were forming in my kidney’s. But not only did he not confirm his suspicions, he spectacularly failed to do his job in virtually every respect.
He failed to ask me nearly every relevant question — well, of the few questions he did ask me, one answer went entirely unrecognized. He failed to communicate things I needed to understand about his diagnosis. Failed to treat me with the respect I require as his patient — he said some completely unfounded and inappropriate things concerning my ability, health, and behaviour. And failed himself as a practicing medical professional.
But most importantly, I think, is he failed to do his job in at least one critical respect. He did not test my kidney stones. Or there was no mention a test had ever been conducted. That test would have shown my stones were calcium-oxalate in make-up. Meaning my diet is the likely reason for stones forming, plus my worsening urinary symptoms over time. It seems, in conjunction with my level of mobility (being limited from my quadriplegia), I was eating too much food that contains high levels of a certain naturally occurring chemicals, called oxalates, that can form stones over time if conditions are right.
Assumptions have consequences
Now, to be fair, conditions in my kidneys were right for a long time. And, like I said last year, my kidney’s were full of stones as a result. I can understand why he arrived at his conclusion, at least initially. But it’s his job to confirm assumptions, no matter how strong he feels any assumption is based in fact. Especially when he insists on removing a patients bladder sphincter in hopes of countering an effect of a neurogenic bladder that indications point to not being there.
I’m not arguing my surgeries weren’t warranted. They were. My left ureter was completely blocked by a stone. Surgery was definitely necessary. And I’m grateful for him having performed my second Ureteroscopy. However, the manner in which he delivered some services, yet seemingly failed to deliver others, and wanted to deliver more, ranged from a lot less than anyone deserves, up to the irresponsible.
No-one is perfect
I’m now taking the point that no-one is perfect. Me included. Most of this addendum is of information I’ve admittedly patched together from passing conversations with doctors and a few internet searches. There is always more than one side to any story. There’s a lot more to my side, but this is merely a side of this story. There is likely more to this that I’m not in a position to appreciate; there has to be. Incomplete assumptions, both fair and unfair, work both ways.
All I know for sure is that my stones were tested following my last surgery in April of 2018 with a different urologist — who I’ve been seeing since November 2017 — and that test, as I said, came back suggesting my diet was the likely reason for my stones. So, with some alterations in my diet, primarily eliminating spinach and nuts as staples, and the reversal of the interventions the first urologist ordered, I’ve managed to partially dissolve the stones I still have between October of last year and May of this year. Meaning it looks as though I’m doing what I need to do to resolve what’s left of my issues with kidney stones by myself.
Focus on what you can control
Evidence suggests my first urologist fucked up. Making mistakes is part of the human experience. It’s what one does with knowing you made a mistake that matters. Sadly, I filed a complaint against him that largely went as expected: my complaint was heard but it didn’t go much further than that. However, I refuse to dwell, or be angry over things I can’t control, and have already happened. It’s not worth it. Familiar territory for me, fortunately.
But what I can control is my reaction to how I feel about, and what I do as a result of these events. After all, one glaring fact remains. What I said last year in this post, “I’m not really any worse for wear,” still applies. Seems I can only hope that first urologist gets his miserable shit figured out and he starts to treat his future patients with a level of compassion that I’m choosing to give him now. That’s right, “future patients,” I’m not exactly the first patient he has treated inappropriately.