The kidney stone lottery drew my numbers on the Monday morning before Thanksgiving.
That’s my stone sitting next to the point of a pencil just to give you some perspective about how small they are. To the uninitiated it is almost inconceivable that something so small can cause so much pain.
It’s the third or fourth time (one loses count) I’ve suffered a stone in my life. I seem to get one about every fifteen years or so. So the voice of experience told me exactly what was causing my sudden onset of excruciating pain that Monday morning.
“You about done with that cup of coffee?” I asked Jamie, ”because I need to go to the emergency room.”
The doctors tried to make the stone pass with a variety of treatments but without any success and without giving me any pain killers. I finally gasped, “Give me morphine,” a request with which they immediately complied. The first dose still didn’t dull the pain so they gave me a second one. (As a side note, I can completely understand how drug addicts become drug addicts. Stick that needle in your arm, push the syringe, and a warm glow suddenly replaces whatever pain you’re suffering.)
I was in ER for a couple hours. After they got the pain under control, they sent me home with an order to drink lots of water and to take an additional pain killer every four hours. Then they handed me a strainer. Considering that the headline on this story is a Biblical reference, I do not believe it would be appropriate to go into any detail as to how the strainer was to be used.
About twenty-four hours later I was the proud father of a bouncing baby kidney stone.
What is a kidney stone and what causes them? Here’s how the Mayo Clinic describes them:
Kidney stones (also called renal calculi, nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis) are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys. Diet, excess body weight, some medical conditions, and certain supplements and medications are among the many causes of kidney stones.
Kidney stones can affect any part of your urinary tract — from your kidneys to your bladder. Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.
Coincidentally, we just had plumber out to the house to unplug the drain in our shower. He pulled out several giant wads of unidentifiable gunk out of the drain, screwed the drain cover back on, and said, “It’s a mystery. You never know what will cause a drain to plug up.”
The was roughly the same diagnosis the urologist gave me in the emergency room.
And in yet another wild coincidence, the plumber’s bill was almost exactly the same as the doctor’s.