Sunday, January 10, 2010

Romancing the Stone

 Apparently I'm dedicated to enduring a life of pain. I have no idea what I did in my earlier life to earn such karma, but for dear-god-in-heaven's sake I say, "Uncle, uncle, already!"

This week kidney stones decided to pay a visit. Early one morning, after the pain woke me up and wouldn't go away, I found myself, in escalating worry. I told my dear daughter, who recently earned her driver's permit that she might need to take me to the emergency room. Eye's wide, head clad in a turban after her shower, she's all like, "Okay..." I hadn't even said "Good-morning-how's-it-going-get-dressed-you're-taking-me-to-the-hospital", I just sprung it on her, just like that.

To her credit, she not only got herself ready to go, she got her brother up and told him he needed to get himself to school today. And to his credit, he did.

I've had two kidney stone episodes in the past, the first one two days after giving birth, oddly enough, to my third child--this particular dear daughter. The other one four years later. Kidney stones are worse than childbirth because at least with labor pains you have a break in the contraction (unless of course you are foolish like me and opt to have your last child naturally, only you are induced, forgetting that induction means one long contraction with no relief. Well, no one explained it to me beforehand because if they had I would have sensibly asked for the epidural--which I'd had with varying degrees of success with the others and was tired of that nonsense, but I digress).

With the stones I tend to hyperventilate--to keep from screaming and freaking out the innocent around me, so my leg tends to seize up like an ironing board and now I can barely move. Plus if anyone touches the leg it's like a board made of iron. And that hurts after awhile, plus it makes sitting in a car very difficult. Not to mention walking, dragging it along uselessly like some sort of injured zombie.

Dear daughter follows directions well and gets us to the hospital, parks, and drags me into the emergency room which was pretty empty. This was in our favor, unlike a previous time where I had to sit in a crowd and provide information in between hyperventilating gasps and moans of pain before they were convinced that maybe someone ought to check me out.

Here they got me on a bed and started doing whatever it is they do. I'll spare you the embarassing details, but there were CATHETERS and cat scans involved, and (what's with all the cat references? My kitteh--were I to actually have one these days--would be insulted). and of course, inadequate dressing gowns that cover nothing and which in my distress I didn't bother to tie so it covered even less.

The most embarrassing part of all though...was the drugs. I don't do drugs well, according to the male nurse that was tending to my hyperventilating distress--which by the way, probably looked remarkably like Bella writhing on the floor after James bites her in the teen hit Twilight. In fact, the trio of doctor/male nurse/dear daughter could have easily been Carlisle/Edward/Alice discussing treatment, while Bella/I convulse and make scary sounds while silently screaming JUST !@%$#* DO SOMETHING ALREADY!!!

The ever helpful nurse mixed quite a painkiller cocktail, since much of it didn't work at first, and after awhile, he tells dear daughter, chuckling, "This is your mother, high". I'm hopeful that witnessing that may have seared the thought, "NEVER, EVER DO DRUGS" in sparkly neon across her brain and count myself lucky. If that doesn't turn her off forever to the joys of highs, I don't know what will.

The hospital/doctor/nurse/catheter person kept me there all day, but unlike previous kidney-related hospital visits where I had to beg to be released to wait out the stones, this insurance is a tad finickier so they were more than happy to release me. In fact, they insisted I leave (except for the male nurse, who was having too much fun keeping dear daughter entertained with my loopiness). And this time, single-momming it, I wasn't ready. I'm all, are you sure? In previous attacks they didn't dream of letting me go! I stopped short of PLEASE, PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME LEAVE YET, probably because I was still too high to make much of a fuss. But somewhere in there my reptilian brain was hissing and lashing its scaly tail, let me tell you.

So off we went, dear daughter following instructions to a local pharmacy to pick up my very own cache of drugs. They even threw in an antibiotic. After some fun times there, she got me home and up three flights of stairs, and finally, into my very own bed. And that was the kindest thing the hospital did do for me after all, banishing me from their cold, overly bright room to mine. Quiet, comfy, and welcoming dark.

And that's where I spent the next pain-ridden day or so, in between drug dosages. No food, lots of water (mainly during the drug ingestion, when I bothered to come around) and finally decided I couldn't endure the nauseating semi-hallucinogenic-making pills anymore. I stopped the pain killer and anti-nausea pills (how ironic, I know) and did some homeopathic thing which for your sake, I'll spare you. But it cleared my head and the pain is only a twinge as now I wait for the passing of the stone. Which I'm sure, close-up, is a pretty little thing, after all. Too bad I'm not fully in the mood to appreciate it's crystalline glory.

So for now, until I meet with a urologist for a follow-up and have another cat scan with contrast--whatever that means--because they found something on a kidney in the first scan which ought not be there, I will rest.

Wishing there was at least a real cat as consolation. But willing to settle for a moment or two of

Credit: Scanning Electron microscope photo of a kidney stone crystal found at


  1. I hope you feel better. I like the way that you are sharing here.... I stumbled here I am vegan and I experiment with raw food occasionally and then you mention health challenges right off. I do buy into "if it does not kill you it makes you stronger" and the one I really buy into is "sickness is just weakness leaving the body"

    I like your blog.

    Warmest regards,
    Tom Bailey

  2. My best friend just went through this recently and also said it was worse than childbirth. Hope this is the end of it for you!

  3. My daughter had her first kidney stone when she was about fifteen. I thought she had an ovarian cyst until I heard her screaming "MOMMY, MOMMY, MAKE IT STOP HURTING!", and I walked in her room to find her in a fetal position on the floor and throwing up! She had to be hospitalized. Then a few years later she was at college when I got a call that she was again in the hospital with a kidney stone, and they could not give her pain medication until I got there, which would be at least a two hour drive. This time she had to have surgery (go in with a little bucket and remove it). She's had several more over the years (she's now 35), but has enough of a history that she can get pain/nausea medication to see if it'll pass within a few days. She inherited it from her dad, who inherited it from his mother! So tell your kids to start now by taking care of themselves, drink lots of water, minimum if any colas, never ever let themselves get dehydrated especially in the summer, etc.

    Hope you pass this thing soon! Sorry for your pain!

  4. Oh Lorna, so much pain to start the New Year - kidney stones are like child birth with no sweet baby at the happy endings there except an end to the pain....My father in law, just went through this just before Christmas and eventually had to have his removed as it wouldn't pass. When I took him to his urologist, his advice was to drink tons of water everyday...and it would help prevent future stones. Hope this helps...wish I was closer to you, I would be there in a flash with chicken noodle shoup...

    I will be praying and sending good health vibes your way...I admire your strength to maintain your wonderful sense of humor even in the most horrible's truly a gift. xo Julie

  5. That's a heck of a way to start the new year. I'm so sorry for your pain, although the way you told it made me laugh out loud. Glad you're feeling better. Sending prayers that your kidney is okay and that there are no more stones in your future.

  6. Dear daughter was me, and you were my dad on an early sunday morning.. The drive to the hospital was... trying at best, with my dad curled in the backseat making odd grunting noises at regular intervals. I guess I'll never be able to appreciate the ordeal you two went through until I have my first kid.. which hopefully is faaarrr into the future. ;)
    All my love and well-wishing

  7. Geez. Sounds like you've been to hell. I've heard kidney stone trouble is more painful than childbirth. Can't imagine that.

    So hope you pass that sucker and are out of any pain soon.

  8. Oh Lorna what a hilarious account of your experience in pain at the EMERG> DEPT.I know what you went through not the same pain though but the whole unsavory experience in an emergency dept. when one is checking in with (((((pain!!!)))))I was in emerg last Sat. due to pain and temperature and after 5 hours of waiting in a bacteria germ infested emerg. dept. after being poked with needles to draw blood on veins that were collapsed due to chemo...I was so happy to get back home to the comforts of my warm quiet comfy bed surrounded by kitty
    I feel awful for you...hope you get this condition cleared up soon and drop
    ((the crystal!))
    Thank you for reading my tribute to my dear mother..she was one in a million!
    love and laughter aNNa xoxo
    sending a few kitty Purrr-Zzzzzz too. =^.^=

  9. Tom: I like your thinking. Thank you for visiting and here's to health!

    Kim: Thanks girlfriend; sending good love (a phrase I heard Sandra Bullock recently) to your friend for a speedy recovery.

    Linda: I couldn't stop thinking about your daughter experiencing this so young. Kudos to her for becoming strong as a result. You are spot on the dehydration factor -- I was weaning myself off a one coke or dr. pepper a day by drinking lots of perrier with lime and earl gray tea.....not smart, I know now.

    Julie: pain with no sweet babies at the end seems to be a recurring pattern for me, lol. Thank you for your kindness--I can smell your chicken noodle soup of love from here! Sending your father-in-law some good vibes as well for a stone free 2010!

    Deb: I know right? Hopefully I got the painful part of the year out of the way...well I can hope, right?

    Nessa: Thanks sweet girl! I feel for your dad (powerful imagery)...

    Julie: LOL, yeah I went to hell and back. It passed so normal feels like heaven again:)

  10. Anna: dear girl, I'm so sorry to hear about your own emergency room visit, after all you have been through! Glad I could make you laugh. Loved reading about your dear Mom; made me all sappy and happy even though I'd never met her (in person). Thanks for the kitty kudos; you have the best kitties! Love...

  11. Oh. My. God. You stopped me in my tracks with the word "catheter." Caths and I are not friends. I haven't had any kidney stones, but I have heard they can be unbearably painful. I'm glad you found a way to heal yourself when the pharmacy couldn't. Good luck with the uro, and I hope the stones pass without pain. And no more catheters, please. I beg you.

  12. Fragrant Liar: yeah, the last thing needed was something else painful to endure in those lower Will do my best to stay away from those caths!

  13. Hey Lorna, Just checking in to see how you are feeling...I have been sending healthy wishes your way....hope you are doing well my friend. xo Julie

  14. Oh mercy, Lorna. Bless your heart. That sounds just dreadful. Are you recovered now?

  15. Julie: Thank you dear heart!

    Debbie: Thank you too, and yes, thankfully :)