Thursday, May 22, 2014

On & Off

About six weeks ago, overnight, I began suffering from body aches, nausea, dizziness, and even managed to puke a few times. Since I was under the care of the kind folks at Hospice, they felt a urine sample might shed some light on exactly what was going on.

Sure enough, lab results showed I had a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Standard antibiotics were administered, and relief from my symptoms arrived quickly.

Unfortunately, a few days after finishing my antibiotics, the same symptoms returned. A second, stronger, longer course of antibiotics was administered, and order was quickly restored.

Over last weekend, you guessed it, the symptoms returned.

All the medical folks quickly decided my UTI had gone from being problematic to abnormal. Another urine sample was taken to confirm what we already knew, and we made an appointment to see a Urologist on Wednesday. 

I didn't make to Wednesday. 

On Tuesday, the more common symptoms of a UTI simply began to annoy me more and more. I got fed up with having a constant urge to go, and not really producing anything. I was thoroughly tired of the aching pressure in my bladder. Anger and discomfort suddenly gave way to a sweeping feeling of dejection, I snapped at Amanda that I needed relief, and we called out our Hospice nurse, Sue.

A simple plan was devised: Sue would put a catheter in me, and I would go to the local hospital if that didn't work.

Sue's attempt wasn't successful. To speed up our plan, we decided to call for an ambulance - I'd get straight in for treatment in the Emergency Room, rather than sitting in the waiting room.

The staff at our local, small hospital were very pleasant, but their three attempts to insert a catheter were all unsuccessful. With no on-call Urologist, the staff quickly arranged to transfer me to a larger hospital and alerted the on-call Urologist there of my problems.

Two more attempts were made - including one final attempt by the Urologist - before the Urologist decided that I'd need to have a procedure under general anesthetic to discover what was going on.

This is the first time in the ordeal that ALS became an issue. Since ALS has reduced my lung capacity to below 50%, Anesthesiologists immediately get concerned about any procedure I'm involved you might imagine.

Thankfully, two things were in my favor; first, it was a relatively non-invasive procedure, and second, it wouldn't take long.

With the Anesthesiologist happy, I went into the OR at 12:20 on Wednesday morning. I was out in about 30 minutes. 

For anyone keeping count, that was the seventh attempt that successfully inserted a catheter, and it felt like it. The Urologist told us that there was a narrowing in my urethra that he had fixed, and that the narrowing would have made it very difficult for me to completely empty my bladder...which led to UTIs.

With such a late finish, I ended up staying overnight, and was brought home by medical transport at lunchtime on Wednesday.


  1. You were a trooper, as always. I'm so glad you're on the mend. Happy to be home too :)

  2. Coach Conway, I want you to know that your courage, attitude, and sense of humor throughout everything you have been through is more than admirable. There are few who would be able to handle things like you have. I look up to you and will always follow your example that no matter what life throws your way, to face it with courage, a positive attitude, and a sense of humor. I might take a trip to Lexington soon and will visit if I do.

  3. hi Tony,
    hope things are more comfortable for you ,the old U.T.I 's can drive you a bit nuts (sorry
    meant to say crazy).

  4. Tony, perhaps it may be quicker to call plumber next time? :-)
    I see Celtic have lost Lennon . I wonder if the team will go the same way as Man Utd next season?

  5. Tony,

    Sounds like an interesting turn of events.....I'm glad to hear you have persevered and managed to keep your sanity. The UTI's will certainly put you to the test. Sounds like you passed despite the battles. Your continued success over your daily battles continues to inspire me. You make me think of Joshua in the Bible. As you face uncertainties of the future as a leader of your family, so Joshua was as the new leader of the Israelites. The Lord was with him and spoke these words to him. Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you where you go." Awsome!! Tony, may the Lord's hand be with you as well. Find your strength in all that He does for you and thank Him daily even in the midst of trials. Jeff