Yesterday, after the result of the KUB, an x-ray to look for kidney stones, came back empty-handed, I regrouped and emailed both my internist and my urologist about the next steps. I heard back from both men and have plans to speak to them on Monday.
One of my questions was this: should I see a nephrologist rather than a urologist since whatever was causing me pain seemed to be kidney related? “No need to see a nephrologist,” my urologist wrote back. He went on, “KUB results are not a huge surprise – it could be uric acid stone or obscured by bowel gas or not a stone – my office has the CD for me to review on Monday. Based on the images, the next step might be a CT scan which will be more definitive – we can review tomorrow.”
There is the old saying that the “wheels of justice turn slowly,” but medicine seems to move exceedingly slow as well. When my internist first ordered an ultrasound rather than a CT, saying that the ultrasound was a screening test and that a CT may be required next, I wondered about the approach. Why not order a CT scan immediately and get to the root of the problem. It feels like I have lost a week of time in getting to a resolution of the flank pain that has continued for the past few months.
In 2016 and 2017 I watched with growing anger the slow methodical steps of my wife’s oncologists in determining the treatment for her aggressive cancer, while she lay on the couch day after day on numerous drugs to dull the constant pain. Ultimately, the cancer was faster than the doctors. The slow, laborious process, was, in part, what killed her. As the doctors took their cautious steps her cancerous tumor continued its rapid growth, ultimately leaking necrotic cancerous fluid into her abdomen, to be spread by her blood vessels to the rest of her body.
I do not feel whatever is going on with me is life-threatening but it still has me nervous. I have not felt myself for a while. I do not seem to have the same energy I had a few months ago. The constant dull pain in my right side that radiates up under my right shoulder blade is tiring. I have no patience for a slow methodical process. I want the doctors to move with all due haste as if my life depended upon it.