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(34,147 posts)
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 10:14 AM Dec 2021

Well, yesterday was no fun - spent four hours in the ER

My husband has been having back pains for about ten days. Night before last he was having trouble getting up out of bed and had to pee about once an hour. So I called in and made an appointment with our doctor's office on Monday.

Usually on Thursday nights he plays games with his friends and he called to let them know he would not be coming in. One of them has had kidney stones more than one in the past and he convinced my husband that it could be that. His advice was to not wait but to call a urologist immediately.

So I called the urologist's office that took out my left kidney four years ago, waited on hold for a long time, explained everything to the scheduler who transferred us to their triage nurse. The nurse recommended that we go to the ER so into town to the ER we go.

They have a very efficient system - a small check in set up at the door and with basic stats taken, then you wait for a triage nurse - which was very fast. That nurse took more information and sent us back to an ER room - yes, they had actual rooms for patients. A PA came in to check over my husband and thought it was more likely a pulled back muscle since the pain radiated down his leg rather than around the abdomen, but they still took samples - urine, blood - and sent him for a CT Scan.

Then we got to wait, and while we were waiting, there were patients coming in on ambulance gurneys, at least two of whom were accompanied by police officers. After a while, a Code Yellow was called and things got a little strange. Other than nurses on obvious missions, nurses disappeared. and it got pretty quiet. Eventually a doctor came in and verified it was a back problem, prescribed over the counter Ibuprofen, and gave a referral to a back clinic.

When the nurse came with the paperwork and to take out the IV, we asked about the Code Yellow. It turns out one of the patients brought in had been a gun shot victim and their procedure is to do a lockdown so that if the shooter came to finish the victim off, they cannot get in. We were let out by a security guard and as we left I heard one incoming patient complain since they recommended that he sit outside - they have a long covered entrance with chairs outside, so it was not a hardship to sit there.

My husband feels better with the pain relief. He hates taking stuff so although he'd been hurting he had not taken any OTC medications. Monday he will keep his appointment at our doctor's office and follow up with an appointment with the back clinic in town.

I'm so relieved it is not kidney stones!

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(34,147 posts)
3. Yes, that's why his friend was like "Take care of this RIGHT NOW!"
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 10:43 AM
Dec 2021

I was very relieved it wasn't anything serious, though chronic back pain is a little debilitating, it is not life threatening (I had my back fused in 2019 and still have pain radiating down one leg as a result of long term nerve damage).

Plus, after nearly letting my husband die back in 2016, I wasn't taking any chances. The day before Thanksgiving he had a really bad stomach ache. T-day morning I asked if he wanted to go to the ER and he snarled at me to just leave him alone - so I did, for a week. When I finally got him to to doctor, it turned out his appendix had burst and he had peritonitis - seven pockets of infection that had to be drained. He survived and in March of the next year they finally removed his deflated appendix.

I suck as a nurse, but I can learn from experience.


(57,073 posts)
2. So glad he is ok & that you both are safe!
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 10:43 AM
Dec 2021

I'd never heard of a code yellow. Awful these types of situations exist, but I'm sure glad hospitals have protocols in place to control them.


(34,147 posts)
5. We hahdn't either, which is why we asked.
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 10:48 AM
Dec 2021

I learned the hard way what a Code Blue is. After my aortic valve replacement I had a vasovagal syncope and the heart monitor sent out a Code Blue. Within seconds there were at least fifteen people in my room, making sure I was OK. I was only unconscious a few seconds but it was scary.

When I went out, my husband was in the room. I came to and the room was packed with nurses, doctors, and other medical personnel. From what I learned, the code went out to the entire hospital. When it came time to check out, the transport lady was like - "OH, YOU were the Code Blue yesterday!"

I've had one other syncope since, nearly as dramatic. Tale for another day.


(16,987 posts)
4. here's hoping for......
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 10:46 AM
Dec 2021


I've had kidney stones - OUCH!!!! Knew a woman who had them and was the Mother of a lovely little girl. She (the Mother) said she'd rather give birth 20 times before having another kidney stone!


(34,147 posts)
6. I've heard that kidney stones are the worst pain you can have.
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 10:50 AM
Dec 2021

Here's hoping neither of us (my husband and I) never have them.

His friend was in absolutely agony with his - and he had them three separate times.


(55,085 posts)
7. "we" are dealing with kidney stones
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 10:55 AM
Dec 2021

Not fun, but pretty common in our dry climate and he actually passes them pretty well. I had one a long time ago, pretty painful - up there with birthing. Back pain sucks too, but stones are worse most of the time. Hope he recovers soon. And Happy New Year!


(34,147 posts)
10. Oh, I never thought about a dry climate affecting kidney stones!
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 11:05 AM
Dec 2021

I guess because it is hard to stay hydrated?

My husband said he felt better if he drank a lot of water which was one reason he was ready to believe he had them. But then, he thinks if his finger tips are wrinkled, he's dehydrated, so he's not the best medical expert there is.


(12,549 posts)
13. Instead of checking the finger tips, check the index finger
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 11:51 AM
Dec 2021

My simple hydration test: pinch the joint of the index finger closest to the knuckle. If it doesn't snap back immediately, you are dehydrated. Then pinch the knuckle. If it doesn't snap back, you are very dehydrated. Then do the same for the wrist. If it doesn't snap back, you are severely dehydrated. I don't recall where I learned this but I've found that when that joint pinch doesn't snap back, I can drink a lot of water and an hour later it snaps back quickly.


(34,147 posts)
14. Yeah, the doctor sort of rolled his eyes when my husband made the comment abouthis fingers
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 11:57 AM
Dec 2021

Back when I ran the farm we had several summers when the temps were over 100 F for a week or more at a time - not abnormal for your part of the world but here in Florida it was notable. Even with the humidity, I learned to carry water with me at all times. One day I didn't and nearly passed out from heat exhaustion. I could pinch the skin on my forearm and it would stand up.

Since then I can't take the heat and stay well hydrated even if it means I need to visit the bathroom regularly.


(12,609 posts)
18. I carry around my waterbottle too.
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 09:39 PM
Dec 2021

Sometimes I cant feel if I am dehydrated or not. So I drink some whether I am thirsty or not.

Same thing happens sometimes with me not feeling hunger so I eat snacks twice a day wether I want it or not.

I have passed out from dehydration more than once.

Last time it was when I was in the psych unit.

They got me into my room somehow and I woke up with an IV in my arm with 4 bags of saline water on it.

And there is water readily available,cold filtered water and ice.
I didnt realize I had to drink.


(49,401 posts)
9. Glad he's better. Sympathies on the hours at the ER. Because of my mom's health
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 11:02 AM
Dec 2021

problems years ago, I spent so many hours at the nearest ER that I used to joke I'd be able to find my way around the hospital blindfolded. And it can be shattering to listen to what's going on in other rooms. It was always the kids crying or screaming who got to me the most.


(34,147 posts)
11. Myn husband has spent many hours at the ER with friends of his
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 11:11 AM
Dec 2021

Mostly with a couple who have both passed. The husband had heart problems from when he was a child. Over the years we've known his, he had several bypasses and heart attacks. Finally his doctor told him that his congestive heart failure could no longer be treated. Two months later my husband found him dead.

The wife had a couple of strokes, then a heart attack when my husband picked up the couple to go to another friend's funeral. She did not survive.

So going to the ER at all is a little traumatic for my husband, brings back all those bad memories.

You're right about hearing kids crying. There was one, from the sound, an infant, that was just wailing. At one point we heard a nurse asking another nurse to help hold the child, I believe to take blood and other for labs. Later we overheard them talking about an antigen test results (whether or not it was back). From the sound of that child crying, if he/she has COVID, it had not yet affected the lungs since it had a good, loud wail! I felt so bad for that baby - but those ER rooms are pretty well insulated. Once they closed the door, we couldn't hear the child, only when the nurses were going in and out.


(13,785 posts)
12. Have had
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 11:27 AM
Dec 2021

kidney stones for years. My first experience in the seventies I was throwing up the pain was so bad. I still have them, but they are controlled by medication that keeps them small and have no problems with them now because of that medication.


(10,315 posts)
15. Hope it all works out.
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 12:15 PM
Dec 2021

I have had stones and shingles. Each has it's own pain set. Get the vax for shingles.
Excess calcium in drinking water can be at least a partial cause of stones. Water softener removes calcium.
Stay well all.


(34,147 posts)
16. Thanks but the conclusion was sciatica, not kidney stones
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 12:26 PM
Dec 2021

Which is a huge relief!

We have some calcium in our well water - since it comes out the aquifer below a limestone layer. But apparently not that much. WHen we've taken up pipes that were in the ground for over forty years, there was no appreciable build up.

Next time we go to the store, I'm buying cranberry juice for him, anyway. It's supposed to be good at reducing the chances of kidney stones from what I hear.


(687 posts)
17. Tart or black cherry juice are the best
Fri Dec 31, 2021, 12:38 PM
Dec 2021

My husband gets kidney stones quite frequently and when he feels them coming on a few days of cherry juice really helps.

And absolutely no beer. Something in beer really sets them off.

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