Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Another entry in the Public Address Medical Journal

433 Responses

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  • Sacha,

    Sounds like a conversion. Full credit. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    as 4million+ citizens of ANZ - actually do trust

    Trust is a malleable quality just like morality such things are not set in stone. Just a reminder.
    As for those other stones, I somehow managed to drive myself to an ER while in an agony similar to RB's. Not recommended.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    For anyone reading who are thinking that perhaps where Russell with this all, so might you and wouldn't early non-invasive treatment be better:

    Kidney Health New Zealand
    PO BOX 139
    Christchurch

    E-mail: info@kidneys.co.nz
    Website: www.kidneys.co.nz

    Phone: (03) 353 1242
    Fax: (03) 374 2176
    Freephone: 0800 KIDNEY (0800 543 639)

    'DHB trials device for kidney stones' (The Northern Advocate) has Whangarei Hospital trialling a laser lithotripter (as well as having ultrasound and electro-kinetic units). Anyone know how that works? Do they project from different direction to intersect on the stone or something?

    And naturally, sick of reading it though you might be, I'm glad you've relief from the long and short-terms pain now Russell and all the best for your return to fighting fit.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • HenryB,

    Russell, my sympathies too. It is nearly 20 years since I experienced something similiar.

    It is interesting how the pain can make one both unreasonable and irrational. As I lay on the living room floor, curled up in the only position that would bring a slight relief to the pain, our GPs nurse turned up with a syringe full of an antispasmodic. I took one look at the needle and groaned "No, not that". My wife and she looked at me as if I had lost my senses - which I had, of course, except for the one in the back. The nurse then said: "Well, it's up to you. It is either this or I can just get you a bottle of beer and a skipping rope".
    Needles to say I took the syringe (ouch).

    All this talk of gall stones made me go and read the Wikipedia entry about them. The last sentence is intriguing:

    Much as in the manner of diamond mines, slaughterhouses [in China] carefully scrutinize offal department workers for gallstone theft.

    What happens to gall stones here?

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    No doubt partly down to those pollies investing hugely over the past decade in things that affect quality of the patient experience (and community-based primary services, promotion and prevention) - but which don't show up in the hospital throughput figures to which some weak thinkers reduce the whole health system.

    I think is is a hugely important point.

    Apart from patient satisfaction surveys (and I can't actually recall ever seeing one in the news), it's hard to neatly quantify those improvements. And yet the quality of the experience really helped me.

    You can't get that picture if all you ever report is misadventures (and I like how transparent our system has become about those) and elective surgery waiting lists.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I may be slightly skeptical when you tell me the pain is 10/10 and you are sitting there resting comfortably. However, you won't be able to see my skepticism,

    Firstly thank you Paul for choosing such a fine profession.I know how important your job is and if only on a subconscious level, you are not forgotten :)

    I might just give you 1mg of morphine instead of 3mg... if I was wrong, you get another 3mg in 5 minutes time anyway.

    heh at this point may I suggest that 3 is the magic number, but I will remember the 5 minute intervals, thank you again.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • John Quinn,

    Re the non-rolling stones, I've had them for over 20 years but the first instance is always the most memorable. It was in Sydney and the nearest clinic open on a Saturday morning was in King's Cross. I had staggered in white-faced, shuddering with pain and bent over 90deg.The methadone kids kindly moved over and let me through first.

    I think I was given a pethadine injection. I was legless after five minutes on my way to the pharmacy to get pain-killers and had to be assisted into a cab. The doctor apologised when I next saw her and said she had automatically given me the standard dosage for addicts who needed a bit extra to break through the pain barrier!

    Last year, looking for something to do, I offered up a kidney for transplant. I was OK to do it medically but finally rejected when they found one kidney was smaller than the other. Who got the runt was an impossible decision for them to make.

    But, and this is the important factor for this forum, all things being equal the recipient would have got the one kidney with it's residual stones the specialist said.

    Bugger! Almost got rid of them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • seedy ink snot,

    well. there it is, my new. erm, 'tribute-oriented' alias
    a dissolution of 'kidney stones'
    into the above rearrangement!

    Since Jun 2009 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    well. there it is, my new. erm, 'tribute-oriented' alias
    a dissolution of 'kidney stones'
    into the above rearrangement!

    You never cease to surprise, I'll say that much.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    At this point, I would just like to point out that my recent bout of infirmity has ruled out my attendance at tonight's Box/Celebre revival, which I've been looking forward to for ages.

    One of the Media7 Clubbing Team will be attending in my place, with the partner in crime of her choice.

    Simon Grigg sounded so excited on the radio this morning.

    PS: I'm calling a major Jacko moment in the course of the evening, and ageing hipsters going hog wild when it happens. Sob.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • seedy ink snot,

    Repeating Sighs, Reggae his Pints, and Age Penis Rights are but three of the thrilling excitations that may be derived from the selection 'Ageing Hipsters'; and one cannot even think of letting the Rearrangement Servant loose on the likes of 'bout of infirmity' ( oh, way too much tofu there..) - left to me then to assert most simply that, the more we attend to language, the more of it there is to attend to...


    and there is plenteous anthropology in that

    Since Jun 2009 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Last year, looking for something to do, I offered up a kidney for transplant.

    There are various hobbies that require slightly less commitment y'know.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Glad you're on the mend, Russell. And aren't our public hospitals just the best when you need them the most? I have the greatest admiration for nurses, in particular. When Ian was diagnosed with leukemia 13 years ago, it was a very scary time - we were told he wouldn't live past the next five years and we had to make an instant decision as to whether we wanted children or not - but it was all made immeasurably better by good information, great care, and lots of compassion. From the very first time we stepped into the old Haematology ward at Auckland, we knew he would be looked after. We spent a year in and out of that ward, in and out of the daystay, and getting to know, intimately, the language, and blood count numbers, that surrounds leukemia. We watched a lot of people die -some in front of us. And we lost the innocence that having good health brings. I won't say it's been a bowl of cherries since - nobody who's ever had vast amounts of chemicals and radiation poured consistently into their bodies for that period of time ever lives a truly healthful life ever again. But. They saved his life, and for that, I, for one, will always be truly grateful.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    And aren't our public hospitals just the best when you need them the most?

    Yes, the thing is when you need them the most ,the staff seem very good at putting you on the top of the list, which makes me wonder about those who complain about being on a waiting list, but that is not to invite debate., I just absolutely agree with you Jackie . :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    that's called "triage" - and yes we need our medical professionals able to decide "this person can't wait" - I think the big problem with waiting lists is that for some people it means an infinite wait (for some small value of infinity that's too long) - really we need someone managing the other end of the list too - maybe simply a web page where I can check to see where I'm on the list and how it's progressing forward would be a start

    Waiting lists are a good thing - if we didn't have waiting lists we'd have expensive people and machines sitting there available for us day and night - much more expensive - the lists allow us to smooth out the demand to keep the resources we have being used cost effectively - that works for lists just long enough to fill in the peeks and valleys of demand - anything else will just grow for ever ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Terence W,

    Thanks Russell - a very nice blog post.

    Agree with you completely on the splendour of health professionals.

    On questions about pain, it isn't so much the "how bad on a scale of 1 - 10" that baffles me but rather the "what type of pain are you feeling?" I don't know - the sore type?

    On Tramadol: very pleasant. I can remember, just after my arthritis relapsed in the wake of aortic valve replacement surgery, lying in a pool of sun at my parents' place, immobilised but with the pain melting away as the Tramadol kicked in, thinking to myself, 'maybe a broken down body isn't so bad after all if it gives me a reason to keep taking this.' Too pleasant.

    YesWeCanberra • Since Mar 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    "I dont know - the sore type?"

    Astute question Terence W - and one which should be given *much* more consideration.

    I also have arthritis - so, that's the kind of dull grating continuous ache. Except for the sudden vicious inflammatory flare up.

    Every so often (result of old accidents) my back goes out: arrrgfh! muscle spasms! That clenching totally rivet-you pain.

    Before I reached menopause, I was endometriotic: this meant, every month, various parts of your body you really wouldnt expect to 'play up' - like your bowel & anus - swelled and hurt a lot. I am *sooo* glad I am post menopausal.

    And then there's the good old side effects of having bad teeth & slightly wrongly developed jaw bones...that's just, meh? Backgound ache.

    Dont get me onto the whip-sharp dagger attack on having something between your eyeball & your contact lens.

    Humans? Love 'em! An infinite suite of pain!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    I'm with TroyHoward on this one Russell. For a free thinker like you I am rather surprised.

    What staggers me is how lightly your correspondents have tiptoed over the fact that you were seeing a quack. I think a good Doc would have found it before the quack realised his "treatment" wasn't working too well. Late summer seems a long time ago.

    I too have suffered kidney stones as yes, it was pukingly painful! It took 5 minutes at the GP and I was straight down to A&E.

    The pain akin I am assured, from someone who has experienced childbirth and a stone, as being pretty bloody equivalent. The morphine worked a treat.

    Geez, what did it cost you for all those "My osteopath, Roydon, told me he shouldn't be treating me so often" visits?

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Ross Mason- good osteopaths, like good muscular-skeletal manipulators- KNOW the workings of bodies: they literally handle manipulate & help bodies.
    They are worth their (very modest) fees.

    **Side rant: some people - masseurs(of the benign healing kind), and more -er- different (rongoa-oriented) produce healing results.

    I am totally irreligious:none of these comments supports any kind of religion.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Ross Mason - a quack is someone who takes your money and doesnt produce a benefit.
    Most osteopaths stay in business because they produce benefits.
    Your comments are really rather silly.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm with TroyHoward on this one Russell. For a free thinker like you I am rather surprised.

    What staggers me is how lightly your correspondents have tiptoed over the fact that you were seeing a quack

    Gee Ross, do you think I haven't done the thinking on that? I've even talked about it in a presentation to a Skeptics conference. I can't resolve it on a theoretical level, but on a practical level, it works for me.

    I've been getting my back treated on and off by osteopaths for about 20 years. The sort I go to generally do pretty practical stuff -- if a massuer or physio did the same things you probably wouldn't bat an eyelid. In general, it's helped me with the kind of strains and injuries people get when they work at computers (although I've suffered from back strains and injuries since high school). I did try physio, but it didn't help me. There really aren't all that many conventional options for resolving chronic back pain, so I'm grateful to have had some joy in doing so.

    I think a good Doc would have found it before the quack realised his "treatment" wasn't working too well.

    If anything, it was the reverse. The first person to suggest kidney stones was the osteo.

    Geez, what did it cost you for all those "My osteopath, Roydon, told me he shouldn't be treating me so often" visits?

    Less than it might have, given that ACC covers about a third of the cost if there's an accident involved. Private insurers cover it too.

    And if the osteo had been the new age shyster you asssume he is, wouldn't he have kept on treating me, rather than nagging me to go to the doctor because he realised it wasn't simply a recurrent back strain?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    No, Ross has convinced me. I'll urge my partner to stop using the exercises recommended by the quack who solved her OOS and go back to the physiotherapists and the doctors who took a lot of her money without improving anything. That's obviously the smart thing to do.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Actually OOS itself has been the cause of some controversy amongst the Skeptics.

    Because the underlying mechanism of the distressing symptoms isn't properly understood, some Skeptics decided that it was therefore an hysterical affliction or a silly name for "cramp".

    I had an email argument with Owen McShane, who was most insistent that my bout of it (which announced itself when my wrist suddenly went floppy while I was holding a cup of coffee over my keyboard) was indeed "cramp" (which does actually have a specific and quite different meaning in medicine).

    Wiser heads held that it wasn't wise to dismiss a well-described phenomenon because its cause wasn't well understood.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    O Giovanni, you disappoint me - despite all the opinion Ross has brought to the table, you're still going with - evidence??

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    O Giovanni, you disappoint me - despite all the opinion Ross has brought to the table, you're still going with - evidence??

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

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