During a normal ultrasound when I was pregnant with my son, they found that he had dilated kidneys. My doctor assured me that it was common in boys and they usually correct themselves by the time they’re one. After I had him, we had to go every three months to a kidney specialist for an ultrasound. When he was 9 months old, the doctor notice what they called “debris” in his kidneys. He didn’t seem too alarmed and advised it could be a number of things. He said they would just keep an eye on it. During his last visit, we got great news and not so great news. The great news was Danny’s kidneys were almost back to normal and we now only needed to see the doctor every six months for an ultra sound. The bad news was, the doctor was pretty sure the “debris” was now a kidney stone. He wanted to send it off to another specialist at Lurie’s children’s hospital downtown. After a couple of days, they confirmed it was a kidney stone and asked that we schedule an appointment with another specialist at that hospital for further tests. We called to schedule an appointment immediately.
With 5 kids, I’ve learned to not freak out until I had something to freak out about. But I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t worried. A really nice lady called us from the hospital (I’m awful with names) for his appointment. She introduced herself, explained what she did and told us that her job right now was not to treat the kidney stone that Danny had but to find out why he has one. They wanted us to come downtown so they could put a catheter in Danny. My heart sank. They would collect his urine for 36 hours and run a bunch of test. Ultimately, they would find one of three things. They would find nothing and it was a total fluke that he has a kidney stone. They could find that Danny has a build up of calcium in his kidneys and his kidney’s can’t breakdown the calcium like most people or it could be systemic which is more serious but far more unlikely. We were able to get him in the following Monday which was great because it was before school started for the other kids.
We got to the hospital around noon that Monday. After check in, introductions and getting him into the system, they were ready to put the catheter in around 2:30. The part that I dreaded. My husband stood on his right side while I stood on the left. I tried just to keep my eyes locked on my son while holding his arm down. In those few minutes that this was happening, externally I was tough. But internally, I was a mess. I wanted to scream at the nurses to stop, I wanted to cry. I wanted to take away his pain. There were two nurses trying to get the catheter in but they were having trouble. Thankfully, a third nurse came in and was able to get it in. As soon as it was over, I picked him up and just held him while he cried. He calmed down quickly, thankfully. They also had to take blood but that was easy after what just happened. After that was over, it was just a matter of us keeping him busy in the small hospital room for the next 36 hours. That was a task in its self! We let him play in the room, we took trips down to the cafeteria and walked around the floor.
Something I learned while we were there. As I write the above how hard it was for us to go through what we just went through, we were there just for testing. My son got to come home after our tests were done. There were many kids on that floor that did not have that option and I can’t even imagine what that feels like. What we were going through seemed so little compared to what other kids and parents were going through. We met with the kidney specialist the next day. They gave us his blood results and were able to rule out any of the systemic issues which was a huge sigh of relief. My husband stayed that second night with my son while I went home to the other kids. They discharged my son the next morning and now we just needed to wait about a week to two weeks for the results.
They called us in less than a week with the results. Danny’s kidney’s can’t breakdown the calcium like most people. He will have to take a medication as of now for the rest of his life so he does not get constant kidney stones. We have to push more calcium rich foods in his diet (yes, it’s an oxymoron). When he gets older, we will have to monitor his salt intake too with the medication that he’s on. And of course, there’s the kidney stone he’s going to more than likely pass. Hopefully it’s when he gets a little bit older so he knows what’s going on. The doctor said it could be there for a while. But I will take all of the results that we got knowing that it could be much worse. And for that, I’m forever grateful.