my eswl experience

“extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) uses shock waves to break a kidney stone into small pieces that can more easily travel through the urinary tract and pass from the body.”

a few weeks ago, after being diagnosed with kidney stones (see related post, stone former) and been prescribed with medications, i underwent a stonogram at another hospital in manila.  my urologist actually did not need me to get one but he suggested that if i wanted to make sure i can have a scan.  his suggestion just got me paranoid.  when i received the results it mentioned that i have nephrolithiasis and nephrocalcinosis on the right kidney.  that just shattered me for my k-u-b ultrasound result was left nephrolithiasis.  i remember ten years ago i was affected with bilateral nephrolithiasis that was treated with medication and unfortunately this time they were back.

i did not let the day pass without consulting with another urologist.  he checked the results of both the ultrasound and the ct scan and readily told me about undergoing the eswl procedure.  for a moment i was thinking that it will be less than a week that i was scheduled to go back in the middle east for work and i won’t have enough time to recuperate.  i told him about my worries and he replied that it will be an hour outpatient procedure and i can resume work after a few days.  he added that the left kidney will be the one treated as priority for it was the one that caused pain.

after a day i was scheduled for eswl.  my mother and my eldest brother accompanied me in the hospital.  before undergoing the procedure, i was advised to have nothing by mouth for 12 hours.  i had to wait for a few hours for we went too early, when it was time i went inside the stone unit, changed into a shirt and pajamas they provided and had to lie down on this bed with the lithotriptor attached to it.  the nurse adjusted the equipment that had a monitor which can show the image of the kidney stone. this is how they will ‘target’ the calculi with the sound waves.

they started an intravenous line on my right arm, the anesthesiologist then told me she’ll put something in to make me sleep – she even tried to distract me by telling me to look at the monitor for i was staring at the syringe as she was injecting the medication thru the line.  i positioned my head comfortably as the anesthesia took over.

i woke up in excruciating pain – i heard voices and i was aware that i was in the recovery area of the unit.  i tried to reach and tap the accordion wall to make a sound and attract attention but i was too weak.  maybe i did made a sound for the nurse did checked on me then she said, “are you in pain?”  i was moaning and cannot seem to put words in my mouth, the last thing i heard from her was ‘dynastat’ as i lost consciousness again.

when i woke up the second  time and after a few minutes, i was able to stand up assisted by the nurse as she guided me to the lockers to change my clothes.  she left a few seconds then went back to give me some crackers and warm water.  having not eaten for 18 hours, i ate all the four crackers she gave me and drank the water.  when i went out from the room, the first thing i asked my mother as i saw her was i needed coins – lmao.  i was so thirsty i went straight to the vending machine for a cold lemon drink.  my mother told me that i was unconscious for about four hours.

i went home the same day.

stone former

it started days ago as a sharp pain on my lower left abdomen, i tried to ignore the pain until one time it woke me up from sleep.  i had a medical consult last friday fom an internist from one of the local hospital near our place. she assessed my condition and took my medical history and i told her that i had kidney stones – she gave me anti-spasmodics to relieve the pain and requested blood work, urine and a k-u-b ultrasound. i have been on the same situation before years ago, so i already knew.  when my lab results were done i checked it myself, my creatinine was normal and my ultrasound read like this:


the right kidney measures 10.4 x 4.6 cm with cortical thickness of 1.0 cm with non-shadowing echogenic focus at the mid cortex.

the left kidney measures 10.6 x 5.7 cm with cortical thickness of 1.6 cm with shadowing echogenicity at the upper 3rd measuring 0.3 cm.

no hydronephrosis noted.

impression : nephrocalcinosis, right.  nephrolithiasis, left.

nephrocalcinosis is a disorder in which there is excess calcium deposited in the kidneys.  nephrolithiasis on the other hand is the condition of having kidney stones.

i then consulted with a urologist, he prescribed me a number of medicines to take saying we do first the “conservative approach”.  he also scheduled me for a ct scan (stonogram) just to make sure if more stones are present which were not visible in the ultrasound.

they say if you’re a stone former, it cannot be eradicated in your system.  obviously, the not-so-friendly stones are back again to haunt me.