Friday, April 17, 2015


I wasn't blogging back in 2005 when I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating agony. I had to use the bathroom WITH DESPERATION but nothing would happen. My back felt like someone was stabbing me with a knife and I was convinced that ALL THE DYING WAS HAPPENING. My husband put me in the car and drove 40 minutes to the hospital. I made him pull over so I could throw up on the side of the freeway. I threw up again in the Emergency Room. We were going through fertility treatment and I couldn't have a CT done to confirm the diagnosis of kidney stones.

"What else could it be?"

"It's kidney stones."


"Kidney stooones!" (Bonus points to the first person who correctly identifies what I'm quoting.)

A little over a year later, my son was born and while, sure, there was an epidural involved, I'd give birth gladly over kidney stones. I mean that with my whole heart. Labor & Delivery + epidural = better than having a kidney stone. I vowed never to have one again.

This morning I woke up at 5:28 and I had to USE THE BATHROOM SOMETHING FIERCE. I went without any problem and then wondered why my back was hurting. It was aching pretty high up and I thought maybe I'd slept funny or twisted it somehow. I climbed back into bed and tried to get comfortable. I wasn't in unbearable pain and I wondered if I should make an appointment to see my doctor once I dropped the boys off at school.

Over the next few minutes the pain worsened and I started to wonder what organs were up that high and what might be wrong. Additionally, I was now feeling pain in my lower right abdomen. I couldn't decide if the pain was radiating from my front to my back or my back to my front. I felt like I was running a fever. Appendicitis? I wondered.

A few moments later I realized that there was a sharp, stabbing pain in the lower part of my back that felt exactly like that blasted kidney stone from a decade ago. My phone rang at 5:53. It was an automated call from the district wanting to know if I could teach today. I hung up. It was not looking likely. Troy, awake now because of the phone, tossed onto his side.

"I might need you to take me the ER," I whispered.

I am unsure of whether I have a low pain tolerance or what because I have a friend who just walks around and goes to work with kidney stones. You guys, when I have a kidney stone, I cannot stand up straight. I vomit or dry heave every few minutes. I shake violently. I contemplate death. IT IS TERRIBLE.

We dropped the kids off at our friend's house and she got them off to school. I miserably endured the (blessed) 20 minute drive to the hospital (which was so much better than ten years ago). I made my husband pull over on the side of the road so I could heave into the rocks while cars flew past.

When we got to the hospital, it was all I could do to hold myself together and not howl in pain as I waited for them to pump my veins full of narcotics.

When the nurse asked me what my pain level was, I asked her to define a 10. "Passed out from pain," she said.

"Well then, not that," I replied, just barely holding on to my very last thread of sarcastic humor.

"A nine is crying out in pain," she explained.

"I'm an eight, then." I assumed eight to mean that I wanted to be crying out in pain but was somehow keeping the moans suppressed. The doctor came in and told me what they were going to give me for the pain. He could have told me that they were going to inject elephant feces directly into my bloodstream and then cover me with leeches while performing a jig on my bed and I would not have cared as long as it made my pain subside.

Both times I've had kidney stones, I have been incredibly sick to my stomach. Any motion at all makes it ten times worse. I can't walk more than a few steps and riding in the car is just terrible. This morning, I had a heck of a time getting in to the gown because it involved moving. I finally managed and within about fifteen minutes I had the narcotics in my system and my pain level had moved from an eight to about a four. You can fall asleep with a four. You can also fall asleep with a high percentage of drugs in your system. Turns out, in fact, that the latter makes it nearly impossible to stay awake.

Kind of. Every time I fell asleep my monitor beeped. It was set to alarm us all if my heart rate dropped below 45. It was holding steady around 46 but every time I fell asleep it dropped. The monitor beeped. I woke up.

Listen. I looked like total crap and I did not care AT ALL. I was retching in front of a nurse like it was no big thing. I didn't even close the door! I was a mess. But I managed to take pride in the fact that my resting heart rate was in the 40's and my blood pressure was within normal even though just moments before I'd felt like I was going to up and die and was practicing labor breathing JUST TO SURVIVE.

A CT scan (because I am definitely not pregnant) verified that I had a kidney stone which had already made its way down the tiny little walkway between my kidney and my bladder. It was sitting just at the entrance to my bladder. The doctor said it could be hours or it could be days. I also, apparently, had a fever, a high white blood cell count, and bacteria in my urine. They're culturing that to find out if something else is wrong or if my body went nuts because of all the pain and a tiny little intruder.

They sent me home with a prescription for DRUGS! and instructions to come back if it got worse. While the apparent wimp in me screams, "Don't worry!" the part of me that pays the bills yells, "It'll have to be over my dead body." Because I'm certain that what they did today was more than $1,000. Our insurance doesn't kick in until we hit our deductible so, that's not great.

Right now though, I don't hurt...much.

I haven't passed my little mortal enemy yet but I am currently hurting only a little. Praise God!!!

I have decided to drink nonstop for the rest of my life to avoid these things because, apparently, I am incapable of just waiting them out. I cannot go to work in the kind of pain I was in. I can barely speak. I alternate between wanting to writhe around in pain and wanting to throw up. I demand narcotics.

So my message to all of you is DRINK LIKE THE WATER IS GOING TO DRY UP AND BE GONE TOMORROW. Kidney stones are the worst.


  1. Totally the worst. I am sorry! I had them when I was 16 and then again at 32. It's not cool. I have the same dry heaving, throwing up, doubled over reaction. Last time I had them, I took an ambulance ride. Twice. My husband wasn't home and I thought I was dying. Unfortunately the last one required surgery for me and then they got in there was gone. I had passed it. And the surgery complications were not pretty. So drink up my friend <3 Olive oil, lemon juice and ACV. I promise.

  2. I was totally dying when I had mine. And I totally never want to have one again. I haven't given birth but the stone was definitely the worst pain of my life. And that's saying something as I walked in torn ligaments in my foot for close to six months before I knew that's what was going on.

  3. When I texted you/Troy earlier I so wanted to make a joke about "but what else could it be? Kidney stOnes!!!", but I thought it might have been too soon. Glad to see you haven't lost your sense of humor :) Hope you feel better soon!

  4. "Wait, it's almost time to try peeing."

    Where I live all the water really is drying up, so I hope I don't ever get a stone. I'll be in trouble.

  5. ruptured appendix isn't a lot of fun either. So sorry we are both going through all this! must be a message here some where!