STEPHEN HEMELT — Local medical professionals solve kidney stone concern

Published 12:09 am Saturday, January 25, 2020

In all, I visited 18 Port Arthur medical waiting rooms, staging rooms and surgery rooms between 6:30 p.m. Sunday and 1 p.m. Tuesday.

My wife accompanied me at nearly each stop as we made our way through an emergency odyssey that eventually concluded with an impromptu outpatient procedure.

My family joined me in moving to Southeast Texas last summer, and this episode was our first serious experience with the local medical scene. Thankfully, I can report great service and a prognosis for a full recovery.

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Although it feels wonderful to share the positive result and publicly thank the many men and women who helped me, it certainly didn’t seem like it would turn out so well when everything began last weekend.

Let’s get the worst detail out of the way first. My problem was kidney stone-related. In fact the stone was so large inside my bladder that it necessitated a laser to break-up.

Unfortunately, this is my second such procedure, and I’m worried that it could become an every-five-years kind of problem. I’m only 39 years old, so this is not a lifetime commitment I’m ready to make.

A follow up with my urologist is scheduled Monday afternoon. I’m hoping his guidance and advice can lead me to a path of preventative measures that drastically reduces the amount of times I’m forced to deal with this again.

Ok, this is the point in the column where I must share a lesson my professional mentor — the great and dearly departed Wiley Hilburn Jr. — taught me back in the journalism department at Louisiana Tech University. Be honest with readers and be willing to share what might embarrass you.

I am not embarrassed about what happened, but I want to be honest.

There are very few things that can make a man wince like the thought of an unruly kidney stone. Once it reaches that point, the options are all painful and extremely intrusive.

Such was my case Sunday morning when I felt that familiar pain and knew surgery would be in my near future. The only thing I was looking forward to was the sweet, temporary relief of anesthesia.

Yet, to cross that hurdle, I first had to submit a urine sample and the only way I could produce such was through a catheter. That was something I had never experienced before and could not get away with through the help of anesthesia.

This is where my heartfelt thanks goes out the emergency room staff at The Medical Center of Southeast Texas. I didn’t get there until Sunday after 6 p.m., and throughout my questions and initial objections, emergency room professionals guided me to the only sensible solution — the one that led to my recovery.

I am forever grateful for their understanding, patience and care.

A stop at the urologist Monday and a couple of x-rays eventually led me back to the Medical Center Tuesday morning for extraction.

I was guided each step along the way by a team of professionals who must run into countless people like me on an everyday basis. For any patient, the procedure or surgery is the mort important thing. For the medical professional, it’s just that day’s docket item for 10:30 a.m.

Yet, I was never treated that way. My gratitude goes out to everyone in my new hometown who did their jobs so that I could go back to my job. Thank you.

Stephen Hemelt is publisher of Port Arthur News. He can be reached at 409-721-2445 or