This morning was the day my father had been scheduled to go in for yet another procedure. Having only recently had a biopsy and been cleared of anything evil that might be occurring in his bladder, his left kidney had promptly made a bid for the limelight and decided to block up, causing a number of unpleasant symptoms.
He was booked in very quickly to get a stent put in. He already has one, following a heart attack nearly two decades ago, but this one was called a JJ stent and runs from the kidney to the bladder with a line between the two coils, allowing the kidney to do its job and drain freely.
His specialist was not sure what was causing the blockage, but hoped this wold relieve symptoms and provide some relief. I offered to take my dad in with my mother as I wanted to speak with the surgeon if possible. As well as transport, my other job in the family is comms, in that I would be relaying the information to my two brothers, both of whom live thousands of miles away.
I arrived mid morning from work to pick them up, running a little late but still in good time. As I got to the door of the flat, my mother was attempting to shout instructions at my father in helping her to get a clothes drying rack, laden wth linen, out of the door and into the sun to dry. Just to add a bit of extra challenge to the day, she had decided to strip the bed and wash all the bedclothes ahead of us taking him in. My bewildered father found himself wedged in the doorway wrestling a giant metal grid covered with sheets – and getting it wrong.
Having done that, we picked up his overnight bag, ready packed, and headed for the basement garage. Settling in to the car, I asked my dad if he was sure he had all his medications with him – he uses a variety of inhalers to control asthma. He claimed to know nothing about this. My mother accused him of having ignored her explicit instructions and we checked the overnight bag and discovered no inhalers packed. I suggested that my mum nip back up to get them while I drove the car around and I would meet her at the next level. It turned out to be just as well that I did. Her door keys were nowhere to be found. We emptied her bag and they were gone. She then got worried that she had left them hanging from the lock in the mailbox, which is on a public street. I lent her mine, sent her to get the inhalers and went to the mailbox while she did. Indeed, there they were: the key to the mailbox sitting snugly in its lock with the front door keys loosely dangling for any passing street urchin to help themselves to.
Finally we were on our way, and soon enough my dad was in his hospital gown with his surgeon going over the procedure for him once more. I asked if he would mind phoning me to let me know the outcome so I could let everyone know, which he happily agreed to. After making sure the nurse noted my dad’s short-term memory problems for his ward nurse to know, we left him in the bed waiting to be wheeled off to theatre.
The surgeon rang me as promised just over an hour later. It had gone well, and despite worrying that he may have better luck going in through the kidney, he had managed to get the stent in as planned and the kidney draining properly again. Good news, because even though his surgeon is very good, any operation is a risk – especially in older patients, and the idea of having a second run tomorrow through a different route was not the preferred outcome.
I only wish I had a stent sometimes when I am trying to get my parents out of the house. It sure would make transport duties run a lot smoother.