06.01.2002 (Saturday), 12:06 AM

Tail of Stones


So...I suppose I should have written this a few days ago but things are just beginning to settle in. The past few days have not been extraordinarily bad considering how I felt on the morning of May 30th...

Flashback to May 30, 9:10 am:

I was standing in line to get a coffee when it hit. At first it felt like gas--you know, nothing out of the ordinary, just gas. I got back to the car and it was worse. WAY worse. OK, what do I do...I think I should probably drive home; I'm not so sure this one is going to go away. I made it home and all I could do was head for my bed, clutching and grabbing my left side. I had no idea what was going on with this now quite intense pain growing within me and told Janet that she should probably call 911.

About 10 minutes later, I've got five burly paramedics around me in the bedroom (flashback to some random fantasy which I'll get to at a later date...but I'm dying here!) asking me questions about where it hurts, what the pain is like, did I have diarrhea this morning and so on...just about all I can do between answering questions is moan loudly. They get me to the front door and load me onto an ambulance gurney. A minute later we're rolling.

An ambulance ride is very surreal. On one hand, you've got a guy hovering over you sticking an IV into the top of your hand and asking questions. The same questions. You've got the radio blare of other calls. The driver chitchatting with the guy in the back. There's medical supplies all around you. You get dizzy (or at least I do when I cannot see where we're driving), carsick-stylee. Weird.

Well, Mr. IV is now saying that it seems to him that a kidney stone might be the cause of all the internal body hubbub--all of the symptoms are correct. I come back with "oh shit, I feel like such an old man...a fucking kidney stone...". He tells me to relax and says that he knows how I feel as he had one when he was 23. OK, I feel better for about 3 seconds then the pain returns.

Once in the ER, I am set up with another IV (which has since left a gnarly purple and yellow bruise...I look like I just mainlined a barrel of smack...) and faced with another set of questions. Yes, the same questions. The pain is still very intense sometimes to the point of passing out and/or vomiting (both of which didn't happen through the whole ordeal, thankfully). The staff gets confirmation that I'm not having any sort of heart problem and then I get the nice syringe of some sort of pain killer. Almost immediately, I feel like someone has shoved me into a giant cotton ball. The pain doesn't get any worse but it doesn't get any better either. Now, I'm just trying to find a comfortable position.

About an hour later, I get X-rayed. Nothing. Then ultrasound. Neato. Kidneys check out. Ureters are clear. Bladder is...hey, wait a minute...there IS something there. Long story short...it's a kidney stone.

The deal with a kidney stone is that everything passes from the kidney to the bladder through the ureter which is long duct with a diameter of a smallish ball-point pen. We're talking small here. Foreign objects trying to make their way through cause the whole system to seize up in one grand and glorious muscle spasm. It's like of like a middle-of-the-night leg cramp only you can't rub it, can't stretch to make it go away, can't get up and walk it off and it hurts like a motherfucker. The good news is that as long as the stone passes to your bladder the pain will eventually go away. I could not imagine what the pain would be like if the stone was too big to move or got stuck half way down...yikes!

About 3 hours later, I get to go home. I have to pee into a strainer to catch the offending stone when it decides it wants to leave it's happy home. For the next six hours, I can only lie in one position as the residual muscle pain is still too intense. I'm on anti-nausea meds, anti-spasm meds, anti-pain meds (yay Vicodan!) and am sucking down liquids like a fiend. Not pretty. Eventually, the pain goes away and I can sleep soundly. I pass the stone in the morning.

Flash to today, 11:45 pm:

I feel like a used up rag. I guess my body is still recovering from the shock. Maybe it's mental, maybe it's not. I slept most of the evening with a tremendous headache probably caused by one of the meds which can make one sensitive to sunlight. Now I'm up and can't sleep but I'm still feeling like crap. It's time to document this portion of my life since I'm long past embarrassment about a malady which sounds like an old man's disease but really isn't. Time for some more water.

Posted by wjc