Kidney stones are not fun.
But especially not on holidays.
I had my first kidney stone probably about 10 years ago.
On Christmas Day.
I had my most recent one – my most recent to pass, anyway; there’s still one frolicking around inside me – on July 4.
While I was able to enjoy both holidays, the fun was intermittently interrupted by excruciating pain.
If you’ve never had a kidney stone, first, count yourself lucky. Secondly, know they’re fitful little buggers. In my case, anyway, the pain always ebbs and flows. At times I’m perfectly comfortable. Seconds later, I may be doubled up and screaming bloody murder.
I’m told that’s because the stones cause the most pain as they move throughout your system. So to get rid of them, you must put up with the pain.
I’ve become adept at knowing when I have a stone. I guess that comes with experience (If that’s the case, I’d rather be less adept). I’ve had stones that have hung around for a week or slightly more (as my current one seems to be want to do) and I’ve had those I’ve passed literally within minutes of realizing I had them.
Sometimes they race through you and others they stroll through you leisurely, checking out your intestinal scenery and prolonging the unpredictable intermittent periods of pain.
And if you’ve ever seen a kidney stone, you know why they hurt as they move through your body. They are collections of crystals with jagged edges. Some are larger than others, and I’ve had them at various sizes. My most painful experience was once when the stone blocked my kidney.
That, dear readers, was painful!
In that instance, I had to be sent to Birmingham for what’s called a lithotripsy. That’s where they give you an epidural, lower you into a tub of water and beat the heck out of your side. Because of the epidural, you don’t feel a thing, though you may emerge with bruises that appear as if you’ve been in the ring with Rocky Balboa.
Anyway, the lithotripsy crushes the stone and it’s easily – and painlessly – passed.
Why am I writing about kidney stones? Well, they’re something I know a lot about and it keeps my mind off the dull pain in my side (thankfully, the pain is dull right now, but that could change in an instant).
I don’t mean to be overly graphic, but kidney stones are a medical reality. They certainly have been for me.
They happen and they hurt. But the pain – though sometimes near unbearable – is relatively fleeting.
“Write about what you know,” someone once said, and I know kidney stones. I also know that everyone’s experience is not the same. Some get nauseas (never have) and others simply can’t tolerate the pain.
I guess that makes me a tough guy.
But I’d rather not prove it by enduring a BB with a jagged edge coursing through my body.
Believe me, when the pain is at its worst, I’m not sure a round or two with Rocky wouldn’t be the better option.