Thursday, October 23, 2008

Two weeks, and it is still unclear why I'm in pain...

Yesterday I was in a lot of pain. My gastroenterologist wasn’t in the office so he couldn’t prescribe any pain medicine. I ended up seeing my primary care doctor for over an hour last night for a thorough evaluation.

He thinks that the pain is in my kidneys and not due to diverticulitis. His advice was to keep my colonoscopy scheduled, but to also see a urologist in case it is a kidney stone. Apparently, my pain is pretty typically the pain that one would have with a kidney stone, though it didn’t show up on the CT scan or in other tests. This is confusing to say the least.

So, I’m at the urologist tomorrow at 11 in case it is kidney stones. And I am pretty well stocked on Tylenol #3 (with codeine), that do seem to mask the pain, though I do get tired.

Please pray for a quick and conclusive diagnosis.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Work and The Wall

Today's post is in two parts -- one for the update on my health, and the other is an update on our construction.


My last update was on Friday, which was a particularly good day for me. I managed to work the entire day, without taking a nap in the middle of the day. On Friday, I decided that Monday would be a great day to try to go back to work.

Not so much. There are orders of magnitude of difference between getting out of bed and working from a laptop at the kitchen table to getting downtown to the office to work. Here's what the commute was like yesterday: Susan drove me the three blocks to the train station, where I had to stand and wait about 10 minutes for the train (that was 8 minutes late). The train jiggled me around for about 45 minutes on the ride downtown. Then I walked outside to pay to much for a cab to take me the 0.9 miles to my office. The elevator took me from the first to the ninth floor -- that actually went pretty smoothly. Then I realized that the new glass door on our office was a lot heavier than it ever was before, and had to wait for a co-worker to open the door.

After that, it's no wonder that my side was hurting pretty bad. Our COO made several comments that he couldn't look at me because I was in so much pain. Between my pain and realizing that being at work in pain was distracting my coworkers from getting anything done either, I ended up catching a cab back to Union Station to be on the 12:35 train home. After a little nap, I dialed in for one more meeting in the afternoon, but was pretty spent.

So I worked from home today, and had an amazingly productive day. I felt like I started to catch up on some of what I got behind on last week. It was great! But after dinner the pains returned. It is on my left side, right below the rib cage. It hurts to be in bed, so I'm up late writing a blog post...

Tomorrow, I'll call again to see if the doctor will give me some pain medicine. If I don't get an answer, I'll make an appointment. I need to be able to sleep.

The Wall
I normally do all home improvements myself. While sometimes challenging, I enjoy tackling something I've never done before and figuring out how to solve construction issues. But, since buying this house, we've had too much work to do. So, when it came time to remodel the upstairs, we decided to make an exception to the rule and hire help for the insulation and drywall. We even hired the drywall guy to come in early to remove all the old paneling for the insulation contractor. This demolition was done a week before I went into the hospital.

Unfortunately, the paneling on the outside wall was just attached to furring strips that were attached to the brick, so there was no room to put insulation. The weekend I was in the hospital, I was planning on framing out a wall that could hold the insulation. Obviously that didn't happen.

But, it's getting kind of chilly in Chicago, and not having any paneling or insulation in that room upstairs is having an effect on the comfort level in the Jones household, so we had to figure something out. Last week, Susan asks me "how would you build the wall?" So I explained it to her, and she says "that doesn't sound hard, can I do it?" Remember, she is five months pregnant, and asking if she can build a wall!!!

She did it!

Her dad came over, and while I sat in a chair directing, the two of them got the wall up, and neither had ever built a wall before. There are a lot of things I admire about Susan. Her "Can Do" attitude is high on that list. I am very grateful that my children have such a strong woman for a mother!

She's building a wall

Friday, October 17, 2008


On Wednesday, my side was very tender, and hurt with almost every movement. But I slept good on Wednesday night and woke up Thursday in pretty good shape. As the day wore on, the pain came back. I also went to the gastroenterologist yesterday. He was recommended by a family friend, and seemed like a pretty nice person. Though doctor appointments are always stressful and quick, and I always forget to write down my list of important questions. Next time I will write the list down.

The only weird thing was the nurse's insistence that I provide my social security number in order to have any procedures done in the office. Social security numbers should only be used for tax purposes. Unfortunately, they are also necessary for credit reporting.

In this day and age of rampant identity theft, we have to guard our social security numbers well. I can think of no good reason for the doctor to need my social security number. They obviously need the insurance ID in order to be paid, and in the past, I've confirmed that our insurance company does not require the social security number for doctors to be paid. The doctor agreed, but when meeting with the nurse to schedule, she said "it's our policy that to have a procedure done in the office, you have to provide your social security number" and that's the best explanation she could give. If she had said that they needed to run a credit check, I would have been disturbed, but understood. But there's no good reason to have my SSN listed on the coversheet of my medical file, available for any worker in the office to see.

At any rate, I'm going in for a Colonoscopy and Upper Endoscopy on December 2nd.

And I hope to be going back to work on Monday!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My co-workers are trying to kill me

A good friend from work, Bill, came over to visit tonight.  He brought a card from all my coworkers at work.  It made me laugh so much it hurt.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Three days after three days at the hospital...

It is Tuesday now, and I was released on Saturday. My best day in the past week was the day I came home from the hospital. I wasn't in pain, rather I just had a little discomfort. Solid food also hadn't worked it's way entirely through my system either though...

Sunday, my belly was a bit more tender, but I was able to rest and make it through the day.

Monday, my goal was to take it easy working from home, preparing for a training that was today. But I had already missed two days of work, so I had plenty to catch up on. And in my new job, there are always URGENT SITUATIONS that need to be addressed right away. Yesterday was no exception, though I did break away a few times to lie down for a rest. Monday, my belly was tender most of the day, though there were a few times when I noticed it didn't hurt too much.

Today, a vendor we recently purchased a tool from came into the office to give our professional services team a bit of hands-on training. Since I'm now the director of professional services, and I led the effort to choose this tool, I felt a personal responsibility to be there. I woke up with some pain in my belly, so I decided to webex into the training. Then, there was a company meeting and a meeting with a big client that had already been rescheduled twice due to my illness. Needless to say, I didn't get the rest I needed today. And the pain was pretty constant most of the day.

Tomorrow, we will make an appointment with a gastroenterologist. I should be doing better than this, and I'm almost out of antibiotics. When I was admitted to the hospital, they assigned me a doctor who works there, but neither Susan or I were very impressed. He kept talking about the ultrasound I supposedly had done in the ER, when I had a CT Scan, and no ultrasound.

That's where it's at. Please keep me in your prayers.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Three days at the hospital!

From Blog Photos
It all started Thursday morning at 2:50 am when I awoke with the worst pain I have ever felt in my abdomen. I tried to sit on the toilet but that hurt too much and I ended up lying on the floor. Susan (and Karen) woke up about then. We talked about pulling the car around to the front and driving to the hospital. But I could not bend to sit in the car. Pretty quickly we decided to call 911, and within minutes, the Oak Lawn Fire Department was there to transport me to the hospital. Susan stayed behind to wait for her parents to arrive to watch Karen.

The initial thought given the type and location of the pain was a kidney stone. But initially I did not have back pain, which apparently is normal with a kidney stone. Still I drank the "contrast" solution and waited two hours for the CT scan. Blood, urine, and CT results were all normal except I still was in a lot of pain. The ER doc at 8am said that he did not know the problem since all the tests came back okay, but decided to keep me for a 23 hour watch to see how I handled the pain. Then I was moved into the hallway to wait for a room.

At about 4 I was taken to a room, and at about 7 I saw Dr. Poleszak. He said the only other cause he could think of was diverticulitis, and prescribed antibiotics and pain medicine. That evening and night I took lots of pain medicine which helped a lot.

I was not allowed to eat until Friday at lunch when they gave me a liquid lunch. I am not sure if grape juice and Italian ice counts as really eating anything, but it was better than the ice chips I had been limited to before!!!

Friday night I finally got to eat some solid food. That went well and when I woke on Saturday, I felt good and ready to go home. I miss Karen!

Now, it is 2pm, and my cantankerous old neighbor is snoring while the football game he was watching still plays on the tv. The nurse says my doctor said he would be here between 3-4. So I expect him here by 8pm to discharge me!

UPDATE: The doc was there at 3:10, and by 3:45, I was out the door!

Thank Yous
In times of crisis and unexpected pain, there is always room for much gratitude.
To Ron and Bettie -- Thank you for answering the call at 3am on Thursday and taking care of Karen while Susan took care of me. And thank you for visiting last night.
To Lori -- Thank you for watching Karen all day on Thursday and Friday so Susan could spend the days with me. And thanks for being there for Susan so she could be there for me. It really helped.
To Ken and Jenny (neighbors) -- Thanks so much for the blueberry and banana (nut-free) muffins that were baked fresh when you saw me arrive at home!
To everyone who prayed -- Thank you! I am grateful for your prayers!
To Susan -- Thank you for handling everything so well. I know I was the one in physical pain, but I know this took it's toll on you too. More than you know, I appreciate all the time you spent in the hospital with me.