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Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Utah-Jay, Jan 13, 2014.
In the past, I've had kidney stones.
How big of a problem is this in getting a medical?
Not an AME, but I might wind up having some skin in this particular game. As I understand it you'll have to convince the FAA that you have no stones that are in danger of passing, thus incapacitating you with unbearable pain in the middle of a flight. How you go about doing that is not entirely clear to me. A very good idea would be to E-mail Dr. Bruce Chien, easily one of the best AME's I know. His contact information can be found in this site, many many airmen have found his services to be quite valuable.
Kidney stones have been discussed many times here... Have you tried the search function of this site?
I searched and emailed Dr. Bruce
"How you do that" is having the results of an IVP handy.
IVP's are no fun!
I got sent to a urologist for an Xray and an ultrasound...
I will say, I can't imagine having a kidney stone in flight and having to concentrate to put the plane back on the ground...would I do it...I hope so...but the one I had was damned painful.
If you've had one due to kidney stones, a copy of the report is all I needed. I didn't have to go get another one.
Mine was pre-lithotripsy, it showed the location of the stone that was to be dealt with in 2005
No biggie. Get a letter from doc saying it passed and bring to flight physical. Mine was a non event.
So, if they find stones on an xray, are you done flying till they pass naturally? And could that mean if they never pass, this could ground you for life? Seems like a crappy way to be grounded for an indefinite length of time. Is there any way to force the stones out?
There's various ways they can get them out. Breaking them up with a laser I believe is the first thing to try. If you're passing a kidney stone, being grounded is the last thing on your mind.
I got deathly ill, projectile vomiting, extreme pain in my lower back, had one of my kidneys blocked off. Dr shot me full of some GOOD pain killers and they were about to do an appendectomy, mom chimed in that she'd seen the same with her father when he had stones…. passed it the next morning and that experience wasn't much fun either. Went back the next day, had an IVP done, no stones… about 7 years later, reported it on my first medical. Doc said show me the IVP paperwork. I did. it was a non event.
I lucked out. ****ed blood for a few days. Had some back pain. Doc saw it on CT. Popped some advil and drank some beer and tons of water and tried to stay active. Passed it while out to lunch downtown a week or so later. Next CT clear.
No thanks. I'll just have them remove the kidney
So it sounds like they really only find them once you start having symptoms.
The American Medical Association researched this back in 1986 and couldn't find any episode of kidney stones causing sudden incapacitation in flight resulting an in incident or accident. They searched records back to 1946. There was one accident where kidney stones may have contributed, but there was evidence the pilot was experiencing pain before the flight and shouldn't have departed based on this. I've searched the records and haven't found another accident since 1986. The AMA gave recommendations to the FAA (I had a link, but lost it). The FAA "sort of" follows these recommendations, but does it through the SI process rather than a much more efficient process where the AME could issue based on information from the urologist. Was a rumor this might change later this year, but I don't know if there will be follow-through on that.
Especially if you've had stones before, you know the symptoms and would self ground if you thought there could be a problem coming up. Thousands (probably tens of thousands) of pilots have experienced their first stone after already having had a medical certificate, and planes are not falling from the sky because of this. The odds of it coming on as suddenly incapacitating pain while you're in flight are about the same odds as winning the Powerball lottery.
Yet someone wins the powerball every month or so!
You know, you're right...thinking back, it came one over a few hours...
I guess there's a confirmation bias at work...you remember the most intense part of it very clearly and unless you really think about it, you don't remember the less-intense lead up.
The first time you really don't know what's happening.
True...but in those hours of discomfort before it became really painful, I am pretty sure I wouldn't have launched in a SEL by myself.
The first time, the FAA doesn't know it's going to happen either!
You're right, then the odds must be much less than winning the Powerball...
Funny, my urologist's nurse suggested I drink lots of beer, too.
I sure wouldn't have. No way.
I read somewhere that it helped somehow plus I like beer
I live in fear of kidney stones and have fashioned much of my lifestyle around their avoidance (vegetarian diet, lots of exercise, lots of liquids, stay trim etc…). Don't know that it'll help much. But their incidence has a genetic component and it runs strongly in my family, just like all that other bad ****. Why couldn't we get the Force or something?
I've done the same. I was running 4mi a day, 100 situps each night, pushups, etc. I eat a mostly vegetarian diet (only meats are fish), drink lots of water. Right in the middle of the weight actuary table for years......
And......I've found sometimes you can't outrun genetics and had a major kick in the ass recently. I'm working with Dr B to see if we can get my medical back.
What really REALLY sucks is to do nearly everything humanly possible to avoid disease and still get beaned anyway. Sucks. Bigtime.