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breaking in the new year: a story short and a story long

A Story Short

The Sunday before New Years’ was one of those dreary, everybody-in-the-house-all-day affairs. Lydia and I were watching a movie when I heard a clatter in the kitchen — my clumsy Sam fell again. But this time it was different, I could hear it in Steven’s voice and Sam’s wail.

Sam had faceplanted and landed on his front tooth, and that bad boy was not where it was supposed to be. It had shifted back and to the right, now touching the next tooth beside it. Despite all the dancing that tooth did, it was not loose. A few phone calls later and I was talking to Sam’s dentist, who was actually out of town and sounded a bit half-asleep (so sorry!).

The dentist ruled since the tooth was not loose, Sam would be fine with Tylenol until he could see him on Wednesday, the day after New Years’, and so he did. After some X-rays and examination of Sam’s tooth, the dentist says the best thing is to leave it alone and keep a watch on it. So the gap in Sam’s teeth is a bit wider than before.


A Story Long, or “This Too Shall Pass. . . With Assistance”

That was Wednesday. Steven took Sam to the dentist on Wednesday because I had a regularly scheduled appointment with my doctor, just a checkup, that same day. Clean bill of health. The next day was Thursday and I had the kids by myself all evening because Steven’s company is doing their yearly Kickoff. This is Steven’s eighth one now, so I go Wow, eight years? Good gracious! And we move on.

Steven got home around 9:00 that night, we talked about our days, we read a little bit (I finished reading The Great Gatsby), then to bed. I felt a little twinge on my right side that make me think hmmm, i might fart in a little bit. I am the epitome of sexiness.

I woke up not long after, somewhere in the 10:00 hour, and the pain on my right side was worse. It felt like gas, painful gas but gas nonetheless, and I tried to get rid of it as best I knew how. Despite my efforts, nothing was helping at all with the pain, which was getting excruciating. I was also incredibly tired due to the two Benadryl I had taken right before bed because my nose had gone all in a tither. So I was mostly asleep, in pain, and arguing with that goddamned Gatsby on how to rewrite the ending of his book. Shut up, Gatsby.

By midnight, Steven was up and lobbying to take me to the hospital. I was sure it was just gas and would work itself out eventually. I did not want to end up all the way at the hospital only for it to turn out like that other crazy time. As the pain continued to escalate and I found myself on all fours, I finally conceded defeat and Steven called my dad, then 911.

Quickly, suddenly, all those firemen from down the street are IN MY BEDROOM taking vitals and asking questions. Oh God, I hope there weren’t any bras anywhere visible. They snapped me up, put me on a gurney and flew up 280 to the hospital. Steven said they were going about 80 miles an hour but it felt like an eternity. A very uncomfortable eternity.

In the ER they finally gave me some blessed pain medication and I was able to lay down. Heaven! While I enjoyed my bliss, they took me in to get a CT scan to see if they can find out what’s going on. Uh oh, here’s where they tell me it’s just gas, I thought. The CT scan room was very cold, but the man there gave me this glorious blanket that had been heated. It was the most fabulous thing.

Some time in the early morning, the ER doctor came in to my room and announced, “Well, you have a kidney stone! A big one!” Well then. Since this was a first for me, he went over all you need to know about kidney stones, options, and all that. I was to be admitted and they would ring up a urologist for me. After he left, I looked over at Steven and said, “I’m glad it wasn’t gas.” I’ll be damned if I’m going to the ER for a fart.

The urologist the ER people got for me was a bit of a character. He looked liked Chris Cooper and has a fantastic name. It’s the same name of a famous navigator and explorer. There’s even a river named after him! Who else would you want navigating your urinary tract?

We meet Dr. Navigator early Friday morning and he lays the plan of attack out for us, then the show began. They wheeled me down to surgery that morning where they were going to attempt to snake through the ureter and grab the stone. Failing that, the stone would get knocked back into my kidney and they’d put a stent in to get me through the weekend. My stone was not cooperative so I woke up from surgery with a brand new ureteral stent and the odd sensation that I could feel the darn thing.

As soon as I was coherent enough and ate a cracker for the nurses, they sent me on my merry way back home to recooperate until the next procedure scheduled for the next Tuesday — a lithotripsy.

I was mainly in bed or on the couch that weekend, sleeping away the nightmare of that night and waiting for Blessed Tuesday when I could get the stent out. Despite the horror stories I had heard about the lithotripsy procedure, I wasn’t too worried — it couldn’t be worse than what I’d already endured.

So Tuesday arrived and to surgery again I went, same routine. It’s amazing how quick they can knock you plum out. As soon as I’m out, they wake me up, then crackers and back on my merry way back home again, plus pain meds. I was already feeling better since they took out that odd little stent.

Crisis seemingly over, I convalesced over the next day or so and even returned to work on that Thursday. Life slowly began to return to normal. I was looking forward to normal.

O! But then . . .

The next morning I had every intention of going to work, but I just didn’t quite get dressed that morning. I felt a bit more pained and ill-rested. Steven went on to work and took the kids to school, then I don’t really remember the rest of the day. Later that afternoon I finally got the bright idea to take my temperature and it was near 104F. Whoops. Steven got home soon after, the doctors called in some antibiodics, and thus began the Weekend from Hell, which I don’t remember too much of outside of the pain, hallucinations, and nausea. Oh God, the nausea.

On Sunday afternoon I was back at the ER and it was like deja vu — dilaudid, CT scans and all that jazz. Sure enough, a big chunk of my lithotripsied kidney stone was stuck in the ureter, gumming up the works, and my body didn’t like it one bit. Not sure what 104F was going to do to a rock, though.

After a horrible night in the hospital due in no small part to this . . . nurse . . . who quite rightly deserves her own post and will probably get one, I wake up to see Dr. Navigator, who’s mentally prepping me for yet another surgery.

So down I go again, this time with a high fever and a blazing headache. This time they finally plucked out that little boulder and fitted me with another beautiful stent. They also didn’t kick me out the door right away. I think my fever made everyone nervous.

It was another full day before I was finally released into the wild, though I was told to “chill” once I was home. And so I did. I had to, really, in order to work out the kinks from that hospital bed. I got the stent out last Friday — hooray! — and I’m supposed to be drinking a metric butt-ton of water. Life is ever so slowly returning to normal. I started back to work yesterday OH MY GOD WHAT HAPPENED TO JANUARY, and I’m taking the kids to and from daycare again.

When people hear what happened, they grimace, then remark, “Oh man, I hear it’s as bad as childbirth. Is it that bad?” But you know, I’m not really sure how to compare the two. For one, I had epidurals with both my kids, so I don’t think I really experienced the full whollop of bearing a child. Besides, at least with childbirth, at the end of it all you end up with this little fantastic thing that smiles and burps and poops. At the end of a kidney stone adventure, all you end up with is a little hot rock and a ban from coffee consumption.


  1. The last five words of this post are the most chilling and disturbing of all!

    Best wishes for a quick and full recovery.

  2. Sorry about the horror stories-I would’ve kept them to myself if I had known you’d be going through it too! Glad the rock is out and the situation is over and done with! I will keep every single finger crossed that it doesn’t happen to you again!

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