“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” said John Lennon (when he was still alive). Well, the best laid plans of mice and Dan have gone haywire the past couple of weeks, due to kidney stone henge. Yeah, I’m apparently going to be one of those Internet people who tells strangers all about their personal life in a blog. Really I’m just offering an explanation for my blog neglect, for anyone who might have noticed. If I had an actual job writing, my employer would have given me my walking papers by now. (Insert obligatory disabled person joke here.)
Don’t give up on me. I’ll eventually get back to abnormal and actually write on a consistent basis. (Knock on head.) Kidney stones are a lot like the Rolling Stones in that you think they’re gone because they haven’t made any noise in a while, but then… if you start ’em up, if you start ’em up they’ll never stop. And they do freaky little spastic Mick Jagger dances, too.
My initial visit to the ER happened a couple weeks ago. I was in agony, and Keith Richards wanted some drugs bad! I got there at around 11 PM and didn’t see a doctor until somewhere near 1:30 AM. I went by ambulance, and still all that waiting. Ambulance ambience doesn’t necessarily lead to hospital hospitality. Don’t get me wrong: the nurses were great, and you feel bad for them, because they keep having to tell everybody that they’re next in line, but I felt like telling them Keith Richards doesn’t do lines. Wait … well, you know what I mean.
After roughly a 3 1/2 hour wait, the doctor saw me when my kidneys were full-grown (groan) adultneys, kicking and bending it like Beckham. I strongly disliked this guy for several seconds — and then was suddenly overcome by an intense bonding session that occurred when he uttered the words, “OK, let’s give you something that will make you more comfortable.”
Then they have to find a vein in which to stick an IV line. It’s often a vain search. My veins are so Whitey Bulger-elusive, I have literally had nurses I’ve had to console as they walk away crying, because they were unsuccessful after several stabs at it. I’m used to it, but they keep apologizing. This time I said, “Look, my abdomen feels like somebody’s pushing a white-hot poker into it, turning me into human shish kebab; this tiny little needle is the least of my concerns.”
And, THANK GOD, they hit pay dirt and I was instantly pain-free. There’s no feeling quite like no feeling. It’s great.
They asked me to stay a couple of days, because my personality was so infectious that I had an infection. I shared a room with a 91-year-old man who had a broken hip and a broken hearing aid, so everybody had to yell to communicate with him. I felt bad for the guy, but felt worse for his sweet wife, who took a lot of verbal abuse from Old Yeller, who was quite proficient with profanity.
Needles to say, I got very little sleep during my stay, between the cursing codger and the apologetic nurses, waking me up every half-hour to take my temperature, my blood pressure, and my blood. They sent me home with an antibiotic, and life was good. I couldn’t feel any pain for several days. Then the antibiotic ran out. There was still no pain, but, what I described as discomfort. That and my urine looked like Heinz ketchup, which didn’t sit right with me. So, here we go, another trip in the ambulance.
In the back of the ambulance, the EMT that’s not driving is busy helping you write your biography. They ask you a bunch of questions that are going to be asked again several times by several different people once you get to the hospital. (Note to self: take a tape recorder with you next time and record the Q&A, so you can play it back for anyone interested in asking the same questions.)
Hey, I should mention that I brought my rosary beads with me this time, wrapped around my right hand. This is a big step for me; I’d never done anything like that before. The nurse found a vein with no problem and no pain in the very first stab of said right hand. Thanks, Mother Mary.
After being in the ER for a little while, they asked me for a urine sample. I gave ’em one, and, wouldn’t you know, it was as clear as it had ever been; no more Heinz ketchup. I have to admit, this was a little bit aggravating. We race to the ER because my pee looks like a horror movie and then get there and my stream doesn’t back my story. I look like a drama queen, the princess and the pee, if you will.
To make a long story less long: the Doc said everything came up roses this time. I’ve still got the stone, but it’s trying to make its way to the exit, so he gave me some painkillers, which is all Keith Richards really wanted in the first place. But if you don’t see me writing here, don’t give up on me, because I’m just catching up on some rest. Trying to give birth to a reluctant rock. Say a Hail Mary for me, would ya? Thanks.