Kidney stone- no ins. - no doctors care in my town


Active Member
Wow, first of all it seems there are lots of posts about us being sick - which stinks! Hugs to all.

I am one of them, and kinda flipping out (a bit?).

First of all I have a condition called Medullary Sponge Kidney which means in a nutshell that my kidneys make more stones than other people. Last time I had an IVP, appx 3 years ago, there were more than a dozen just sitting there waiting to drop when the time is right.

Yesterday I went on a 20 mile off roading trip in my Jeep, which was beyond bumpy and rugged. I got home and I was peeing blood. First sign that the stone has moved, is blood. I tried to hope/pray it was just dislodged and that the stone would not try to pass.

I woke up today, even worse. So I called the only hospital here to ask if in an emergency they could do laproscopy surgery for kidney stones (which is where they blow up the stone with a laser). The hospital said, that they can do if it is not an emergency but they have to call in an urologist from a town 2 hours away to do the surgery. Ummmm. OK.
I asked, "Well what if it is an emergency?"
He said well then we careflight you to Flagstaff.
Yea. Great. Not????

I have had 1 stone that was an emergency where the stone blocked the ureter and the bile backed up into my body. I have 2 that were semi emergencies, where the stone would not pass by itself - which ultimately could turn into a real emergency. I had to have surgery on all 3. And I have had one where they did the Laproscopy surgery.

So, I am freaking out!

First of all I have no insurance as of 2 months ago when Cobra lost my check, cancelled my ins., and in order to get it back I have to file an appeal which they flat out told me would probably be denied. I have tried state ins and they have denied me twice, because on 800.00 of unemployment (the most anyone can make on unemployment in AZ) I "make too much" ---- don't start me on THAT tangent.

So these surgeries cost 50K and more!!! What do I do?

Second of all, I don't have really any friends here that could take me to Flagstaff to have the surgery. I cried half the day over missing my Dad (obviously this was the antagonist for dealing with my grief.) I mean, what am I going to do, drive to Flagstaff, in pain, have the surgery (which is day surgery) and then tell them I have no one to pick me up?
"Oh, sorry, I am catching a cab to a hotel after my surgery - thought it would be fun!" Not. (And Matt is here in my town, but does not drive.)

I am just desperately lonely and scared. I can't believe this is happening, and I don't even really know what to do. It doesn't help that this is piggybacked with my Dad's death - and that I feel horrible while trying to figure out what to do. I haven't told my Mom yet, because I don't want to upset her even more. I mean, how on earth do I even pay for this, let alone find the means to get to the right hospital and Dr to get this done?

I am so confused and overwhelmed - thanks for any insight and help you can give me.


File the appeal anyway? I don't know hon, does your state have sliding scale insurance available? I hope you find some way or it passes on its own with minimal pain and additional issues.
I've had kidney stones pass and it's certainly no fun. I could never have driven to the urgent care center myself and they did pass by the time I got there anyway. You may not actually need surgery, but certainly do need to see a doctor to be sure everything is OK, get antibiotics etc. Does your hospital have any kind of outreach program to help people in your situation? If you went to an urgent care center (or your hospital if that's it), perhaps they can advise you what to do next. I'll say an extra prayer for you. I hope that it either passes quickly on its own or "settles down" until your regular doctor can deal with it. Good luck.


Well-Known Member
I would go to the ER, get whatever emergency care I needed, and let the county eat the bill. Make payments whenever I could.

You have to take care of you, and with no insurance (been there) and a potentially life-threatening condition (been there, too), the money wouldn't even be on my top ten list of concerns.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
First of all hon................take some slow deep breaths. In through your nose and blow it out with your lips. Calm down.

been there done that. Only mine never pass. I make the lovely cockle-burr type that always get hung up in the ureter. While you don't want to just leave this as it is, there is no huge need for panic mode at this point. I know that seeing blood tends to make people panic......but unless that urine is pure blood, you've got some time to find help. What is your current pain level on a 1-10 scale? Any fever? Nausea? Headache?

I've had stones hung up blocking urine flow to the bladder for up to 3-4 months at a shot.......and no you really don't want to do that.......just letting you know it's been done before. By me? Multiple times. Once because I actually oddly enough had no pain with it until the kidney was 3-4 times it's normal size (then only annoying pain).........another time cuz doctor didn't want to do surgery until I had insurance. (lovely huh?)

County hospitals will treat low income patients for free, there are just forms you need to ask for. Most other hospitals will work with you, I've even known some to cut bills down to more manageable amts.

Can you go to the one nearby, make sure you've got no infection going on, have them check your creatine levels ect, check out that bleeding? If your blood levels are ok for the creatine ect and the bleeding isn't that bad you may be able to wait for the laproscopy laser treatment. If so you wouldn't have to travel to the other hospital and add on another expense.

Also since you do make a lot of stones.........if you've not done so, ask your urologist to do the test to find out what your stones are made of, then they can help your modify your diet to at least help reduce the number you make.

And as you know, chug water to help you hopefully pass the darn thing as quickly as possible with less chance of it getting hung up along the way.

I understand the panic. I really really do. But I've lived with this for so many years that now I don't bat an eye at it anymore. Go to local ER and get checked out to make sure it's not serious at this point. If it is serious enough you need to be admitted, then forget the bills and let them care for you. You can always give them 5.00 a month for the rest of your life if you have to.



Active Member
Well I have never passed a stone without surgery that I know about, so that being said I am going to wait it out. I went to the urgent care today and i had a fever, blood, and an infection. I got antibiotics, etc. And I will wait to see what happens.

The dilemma is that the er here cannot treat me, and I will have to drive go the closest city ~ 2 hours- to get an ivp/xray. If surgery is needed than I will have no one to pick me up, drive me
home, etc. If i wait too long and it becomes an emergency than they will have to care flight me.

So, if I don't have insurance any hospital has to treat me? Or no? That is what i am the most worried about.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
All hospitals have to treat you. Especially if they are the only one with the treatment you need. They can't deny you simply because you have no insurance.

As far as the surgery, I know they do it as an outpatient, but since there is no one to drive you home, they can admit you over night and you can drive yourself home the next day. It's not unheard of, especially in rural areas. We've had patients have to stay a day or two for the same reason, they had to be up to driving themselves home.

If you're already dealing with infection, don't put it off. Call who needs to be called to get the surgery arranged by no later than monday.

Marcie Mac

Just Plain Ole Tired
Hospitals cannot turn anyone away for lack of money. Danny went in to the ER for a kidney stone, and they treated him - they thought he had already passed it but still treated him (to the tune of 13,000 + and he didn't have insurance. SO went in I don't know how many times when he was ill, without insurance, and the social worker there managed to get him on Medi-caid

Go and get it taken care of then worry about paying



call 911
I'm sorry you are not feeling well -

But did it every occur to you that this may be the distraction that your Mom NEEDS right now? I think you possibly underestimate her strength and abilities to take care of her daughter/family. She may be more upset if you get critically ill and have NOT told her. Could be something that she could help you with all the way around. Maybe you both need each other right now.


Active Member
Yes, Star, I agree with you. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I would not have the surgery without her. It is so cold and scary waking up from anesthesia - I HATE it. (I would want my Mommy:))

So I thought a lot about it, and I am probably going to fly back to Dallas where my Mom is right now and where all my old doctors are, as long as the surgery is not pressing or imminent and can wait a week or 2. If not she said she would fly to Flagstaff with me. If it becomes a real emergency I am sure she will be there as soon as she can.

She and I have to stick together now - and just because it is hard doesn't mean I should shield her, because that only further separates us.

Today I feel much better, so although I know there are many stones, the best case scenario may have happened, and that is that the stone stopped trying to push its way out of the kidney. I am on antibiotics and Vicodin, and tomorrow I am going to plant myself at the local AZ govt health ins place, and have it out with them about why or how they could deny me when their dear state gives me below minimum wage to live on!!!! Incredulous :( The weirdest part is that they denied me by somehow accessing my checking account which I KNOW I did not give them the information for! In my checking account was some money from my Mom that she gave me to live on - because obviously one cannot live on 800.00 a month! Don't you find it creepy that they can so readily access a bank account??? Only the govt could do that - and it is unnerving. I think it is sad that bottom line what the state wants you to do is get your 800.00, then apply for food stamps, and then apply for emergency housing help - and then the money is going to exactly the places they want it to - and then they would approve the health ins. It is wacked that they would want to force me to apply for more money from them, to get money. OK - I will stop my rant.


Well-Known Member
Makes as much sense as the State of CA telling me, after I was laid off and had a small child to feed, that I was not eligible for anything because my Geo Metro, purchased used and fully paid for, was worth too much. If I wanted to refinance the car, however...

I'm sorry, Steely. Hope you feel better soon.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful

They expect you to liquify anything of real value before you use them. They also expect your bank acct to be empty when you apply. *hint* safety deposit boxes can be really nice things to have.

I sure wouldn't have any problem in that dept. And both our cars are over 10 yrs old. sigh

I'm glad you're feeling better. Also very glad you've decided to let your mom help you as I think that is a fabulous idea for you both.



call 911

I think that is wonderful! You sounds like (and I could be wrong) but it sounds like more and more everything YOU NEED is in Dallas. Why not consider a move there? I mean I know you and the Dingo like the dessert, but honestly? I think Tesla would adore the wide open spaces of a TX prarie, and you certainly could benefit from being closer to a larger city - better jobs, better access to health care, more friends, possibly better things for Matt to come see if he visits.....and you'd be near to your Mom at least 1/2 the year right? Just a thought. Of course - I know for a fact there are more publishers in Dallas - and you are writing so why not just cut out the middle man and go where you have scads more resources? Sounds like family needs family.


Active Member
Terry - OMG - ridiculous.

Thanks Hound - if I have to - I guess I will have to go to an independent health care system - or quickly find a job.

Star - I really, really wish my Mom and I could be closer. It is one thing that is kinda bumming me out as of late, because I want what family I have left to be close to me. However, she is selling the house in Dallas. That is why I was there 2 weeks to help her clean everything out so she could get the house ready to sell. She is taking permanent residence in Portland OR, where her condo is. I have thought a million and one times about moving there -and I still have not completely ruled it out - but the city makes me beyond depressed. All it does is rain, and it takes me appx one day to feel over the top depressed when I visit. I definitely have some sort of SAD depression - and even my Mom doesn't think it is a good idea for me to move there. I just wish there was another option.

We will see - I am sure it will all work out - somehow..


call 911
Oh lord NO - not Oregon. You are not a rain person. NO NO no no. You are a sun person. I'm a rain person. Well that's just too bad anyway. Too bad she wouldn't just give you that house in TX. (ah a daughter can dream huh?) lol. DF has SAD - it balances out - I am GLAD he has SAD. Glad trumps SAD - except for white Christmas lights. Can't seem to get him over that hump. (honestly don't blame him on that)

Well then - Arizona it is huh? Well you do have that sexy least you have awesome transportation. I think she'll come down for the surgery at least. And if the city makes you depressed - that's that. Don't blame you there either. I couldn't do another big city either. Heck where I am at now used to be out and now it's built up so much it's not out it's nearly in. Hate it. took 12 years for everyone ta find us and wreck it.

You'll figure it out - just for now - get something lined up with your doctor and get "shucked" lol.


Roll With It
If you go in with the emergency and it ends up with a big bill, often the hospital social worker will figure out a way to get you onto medicaid so that it is covered. You may only have the medicaid for the time period covering the procedure, but it can be done. If they give you a big bill you can get paperwork to fill out and it can take care of up to 95% of the bill. Almost all hospitals have this, and it isn't that hard. I was offered it when we were in for me twice last month and again for Jessie's visit friday.

If they bill you a huge amt, pay them $5 or so a month and they cannot legally come after you. they may ask for more, but if you pay even $5 a month they cannot make it hurt your credit or take you to court for the $$.

I hope you feel better very soon.


Active Member
Star - you are SO right I am NOT a rain person. It is actually an ongoing joke in my family - don't get Steely near the rain:) My Mom actually prays for it not to rain when I visit Portland, she is so funny. Plus both Heidi and my Dad died there - so the entire aura of the city, for me - is dark.

Today I woke up with the pain and blood back - so it will be a day of trying to figure out how to get an IVP to see what is going on. I don't know why I am so confused on where to go - I guess because that guy at the hospital said that they did not have urologists to view an IVP and they would have to call one in from Flagstaff. I guess I will just go there and talk to them and see if they can do one and send out the results to someone?? I can't wait too much longer or I will be in too much pain to get to Flagstaff if I need to. Good Grief! Just don't know why this needs to be so complicated - oh well.