I submit to you that the world can be divided into two groups-those who have had kidney stones, and those who have not. All other divisions are trivial. A year or so ago I joined the first, far less fortunate group.
It was an ordinary Saturday. I worked for a while in the garage. Mid way through the morning I started to feel a bit, um, strange. Perhaps a bit of a lie-down would help. It didn't. What started as vague discomfort blossomed into pain. The feeling reminded me of an emergency appendectomy I had many years ago. Then, it got worse. The strange noises I was making and the flopping around around on the floor inspired my wife to suggest that perhaps I should consider a trip to the hospital.
The pain let up a bit before we could get to our small local hospital. I got into the emergency room under my own power, and managed to fill out the paperwork. It felt like the major attack was over.
Wrong. The attack resumed while I was sitting in the exam room waiting to be seen. If anything, it was worse. The only semi-comfortable position I could find was on my knees, curled up in a ball, with my forehead touching the ceramic tile floor. I must been making a fair bit of noise, because the nurse came running. She found me on the floor, giggling from the pain. She looked at my chart, looked back at me, and said "Ah, kidney stones!"
I'm not sure what all they pumped into me. There was a diuretic, maybe a muscle relaxant, but the only thing I cared about was whatever major league narcotic painkiller was in the mix. Stoned? Yes ma'am, I'll have some more! The rest of my stay involved IV hydration, trips to the bathroom, x-rays, and more of the same.
By the end of the day I was back home, feeling wrung out, but mostly recovered. A few months later, I experienced the first twinges of a relapse, and promptly drank most of a gallon of water in the hopes of flushing the little bastard as quickly as possible. It worked. Ever since, I've been an avid consumer of liquids of all kinds.
Dale Austin, October, 2007
All images and text Copyright Dale Austin, 1962-2008