Monday, April 7, 2008

This, too, shall pass...

Amelia tells me that I'm a lousy patient. I don't like to admit I'm sick and when I finally admit it, I don't like to take drugs because in my convoluted thinking, how will I know I feel better unless I know when the pain stops? Nevertheless, I had to revise my drug-taking philosophy this past week. Let me back up and tell you the whole story...

Wearing the little white gown that doesn't close in the back

Ok, so last Sunday, I was driving home from Galveston where I'd spent several days at a conference. I'd worked in three side trips to see friends along the way and I was pretty tired. Enterprise Rent-a-Car had set me up with a nice little Chevy Cobalt which I was enjoying, but toward the end of my trip I began to wonder if I wasn't getting a little saddle sore after racking up almost a thousand miles in the blue beast in three days. About an hour away from Abilene, I actually stopped and bought some Ibuprofin because my back was hurting so much. I arrived home and put a cold-pack on my back and it helped a bit. Monday arrived and I felt fine all day, but in the evening, my back was hurting me so much I laid on the ground and cried for a bit. It was at this point Amelia began prompting me to make an appointment to see a doctor. Loathe to spend money on a deductible just for a lil ole backache, I declined. Tuesday, apparently vindicated, I boasted to my beautiful bride that I felt fine. In the evening, we took a walk around ACU on the Lunsford Trail with all three kids in tow. Each of the kids had some vehicle they were riding and I bent, twisted, pulled and ran alongside them as they rode along. I was feeling fine. Amelia witnessed my limber form and told me that I wasn't allowed to complain of a backache any longer. Wednesday found me feeling great once again and I was glad that my nagging back pain was gone until..... church time that night. Once again, my lower left back began to ache deep inside and I couldn't make the pain abate. I tried putting pressure on it, I tried sitting differently, I tried breathing deeply. Finally, I got home as quickly after church as I was able and took some painkillers and hooked up a heating pad and whimpered as I tried to get comfortable. Thursday, a full four days after I first noticed my back pain, I had my first real spasm. It was at about 4:30 pm while I was working at the MFI clinic. I broke out in a sweat and got nauseous and couldn't sit comfortably. The pain in my back was sharp and acute and worse than anything I could remember. It lasted for about 10 minutes and then I went back to feeling pretty normal. I was scheduled to work at the hospital for my chaplaincy job that evening and hoped that I would be able to function until my shift ended at 11pm. So, I went to the hospital and as soon as I got a chance, I went down to the Trauma Center where I found the charge nurse, Judy. "Judy, " I began rather innocently, "If I were to tell you that I thought I had a kidney stone, what questions would you ask me to screen for that?" Judy raised her eyebrow at me. I described my symptoms and she told me, "Yeah, it sounds like a kidney stone. Do you want me to check you in?" I assured her that I felt fine and that I was hoping that it was not going to be a bother that night. She smiled and said, "Ok, but I predict you'll be back tonight. Let me get you some stuff." She walked off and a few minutes later was back with a handy dandy paper funnel/filter thingy and a sterile urine sample cup. "Strain all your urine and try to catch it, so you can let your doctor determine what kind of kidney stone it is." I accepted her gifts and went along, full of ominous foreboding. "Don't feel bad, chaplain! Bigger men than you have come in here crying for morphine. There's no shame. Don't try to tough it out!" She called to my retreating form. At about 10:20 that night (40 minutes before my shift ended), I'd been trying to walk it off and take it easy and hope that the pain subsided, but I couldn't take it any more. I had to get some relief. I called the backup chaplain... only to discover that earlier in the day, he'd had a steroid shot in his neck for a slipped disk and had taken some prescribed sleeping pills. So, I called his backup... only to be reminded that my backup's backup's wife had recently been discharged from the hospital... But I was told to go ahead and go to the Trauma Center and we'd all hope that none of us got paged. So it was, at 10:30 on Thursday, I was pacing in the waiting area to be called to triage.

They put in an IV so I could get some good drugs and then pumped me full of saline to try to help me flush my system faster. There was a drug aptly named, "Flomax" that was designed to help my urinary tract do it's thing better and more painkillers that you can only get from the hospital or through illegal means. They also had me fill out a form, where for the first time in my life, I admitted that I was experiencing pain that, on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is "I have no pain" and 10 is, "I'd sacrifice endangered Rhinos to the dark gods of the 18th dimension to make it stop", I came in at about 9.8.

Later, I looked it up on Agony [ag-uh-nee] noun :
1.extreme and generally prolonged pain; intense physical or mental suffering.
2.a display or outburst of intense mental or emotional excitement: an agony of joy.
3.the struggle preceding natural death: mortal agony.
4.a violent struggle.
5.(often initial capital letter) Theology. the sufferings of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane.

and the little known 6th entry: The process of passing a kidney stone.

So, as I've related my little tale to others, one common theme has emerged: many people liken the pain of passing kidney stones to that of giving birth. Some say it is as close as men will ever come to knowing the pain, while some females even admitted that having experienced both childbirth and kidney stones, they'd opt for childbirth. So, I've come to a decision... if it is a girl, I'm going to name her, "Lo-Ruhamah " and if it is a boy, "Ne'igalomeatiga".

Peace, love, and no kidney stones be unto you, good reader.



Laci said...

wow. that sounds so terrible. but because you're such a good writer, it was rather humorous. I hope you feel better soon.

David Emery said...


Your Pop here. Just read the details of your ordeal of getting stoned. I thought I taught you better than that! Anyhow, hope you're completely out of the stone age for good. You rock son. You had a kidney stone but just remember there's a Stone Mountain in Georgia. Thank God for "small" favors!
I love you son,
BTW, my website is finally up and running. You can view it at:

Pen Drive said...
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