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I Had a Nephrostomy Procedure and It Was Horrible

Note: Content may be intense. It is also a rant, therefore not as uplifting as most of my other content. Posted for others to gain awareness of how certain situations are affected by anxiety and disability.

Last Friday, I had a minor procedure done at the hospital, except that it wasn’t so minor for me.

Now, I’m not sure if it would’ve been as bad for someone else. But, I have generalized anxiety, and a phobia of hospitals and surgeries. I also can’t communicate because my speech isn’t 100% clear (or clear at all, because my voice is worse with anxiety) and I have hearing loss (also even more when I have anxiety). Because of all of that, it was bad for me. The fact that I can’t walk it off makes it harder for me to recover, too.

I was told that it would be a simple procedure that would take 5 to 10 minutes. I would go into a room, they would put a needle and tube in my kidney and back, and I would leave. I literally thought that they were just going to do it on a regular doctor’s table.

It was not like that at all. My parents were even surprised. My urologist had definitely downplayed the procedure.

First, I was sent to pre-op. Seeing the word “surgery” on the sign freaked me out, even though it wasn’t surgery.

They prepped me in pre-op, and the doctor explained the procedure. I already knew that this was going to be a bigger procedure than expected and I freaked out again. I wasn’t prepared for this. With my anxiety, I prepare for everything, days in advance if I can. They wheeled me to the door, then I was told that my dad couldn’t go in. What the fuck? My urologist said that I could have someone in the room while I have this simple procedure done, where one doctor puts a needle and tube in my back and kidney, and that’s how I had pictured it. That’s what I had agreed to. So, I freaked out again. I wanted to back out, but I couldn’t. Hell, I wanted to back out an hour prior.

I calmed down a tad and they wheeled me into the room. I saw like, 10 doctors/nurses/whoevers and a bunch of machinery/equipment. At this point, I couldn’t communicate, because I had no assistive devices or anyone that knew my voice. I started crying. I remember thinking, “I’m screwed and this is going to scar me for years, if not forever. This is just gonna make my phobias worse.”

They transferred me to the table, on my stomach, and strapped me down. I was crying and yelling “stop” and “no” the whole time, until they decided to sedate me. I calmed down externally and shut my eyes (but didn’t fall asleep), but internally, I was still freaking out and my inner voices were still yelling. Before I forget, they did freeze my skin, but it still hurt a lot. I don’t know how long it took, but it felt much longer than I was told that it would be.

It was traumatizing. It feels kind of silly to use that word, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I’m still upset by it. I tried writing this the day after and I couldn’t do it. I started crying. I’m always going to remember this experience. I’m never going to have a procedure/surgery again, unless it’s life or death – which I have said before, but this time, I mean it. It made me realize that it’s almost impossible for anyone to predict how it’ll go for a particular person. Maybe this procedure was easier for other patients than it was for me. I don’t know. I can only speak for myself when I say it was horrible and traumatic.

I had the tube in for four days to drain my kidney. I was told that it would hurt, but I wasn’t told that I was going to be in horrible pain for the whole four days – sometimes crying in pain – as well as in bed and out of commission the whole time, which in itself was horrible, because I like to be up and productive. I felt depressed for those four days, and that’s something that I haven’t felt in a long time.

I’m finally relieved from the stupid tube and back to normal. The doctor that took the tube out was super nice to me – which was a relief in itself – and prescribed me pain medication, in case I felt pain after, which I do feel a bit but it’s tolerable.

Jessica Victoria
<p>Jessica Victoria, 24, is a writer and advocate for mental health, disability and LGBTQ+. She uses her personal experiences and knowledge to help and educate others.</p>

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