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Day 9 – Laughter makes the heart grow fonder (if you have a kidney stone)

Since one of the most important aspects of being in good mental health each day is laughter, I decided I would post a story that – once I got past the experience – made me laugh (and still does). If you have any fun stories to share, please do!

One day in the fall of 2007 I woke up and started to get ready for the day. I got in the shower and not too long in I realized my back seemed to really hurt. I waited a few seconds and the pain seemed to dull so I went on, and then suddenly there was an incredible, sharp pain that nearly brought me to my knees. No matter which way I moved, it hurt. I got a little concerned. I thought maybe I had somehow pulled a muscle while shampooing my hair. And knowing me I could have. The pain took longer to relinquish this time, so I crawled out of the shower. I figured I could just go back and lay in bed.

I was able to stand up and walk to my room, but once inside the door the pain was back. I tried to lay down, but nothing worked. I got dressed and the pain kept returning. I knew something was definitely wrong. I could barely walk anymore, so I called my friend. She didn’t answer. So I called our mutual friend to see if she was with him. She wasn’t, but he was in med school, as well, so I told him what was going on. He was too far away to come pick me up, but he called our other friend and told him I seemed to be paralyzed or something (not what I had said) and that he should come get me. So he did. Prior to his arrival, I felt it would be necessary to at least try to look presentable at the ER. Naturally I tried to put on make-up and dry my hair, eventually throwing the hair dryer out of anger, since I couldn’t use it without being in pain.  He nearly fell trying to get me down the stairs in the old house, so I walked my way down, and got into the car.

After a very bumpy ride to the hospital that was less than a mile or two from my home, we made it to the ER. We came in, and I was continually screaming in pain at this point, similar to when I was in labor (which hadn’t happened at that point in time). They took my vitals, and then annoyingly tried to get useless information from me like my name. Clearly they couldn’t see the pain I was in. Whenever they asked me a question I just got mad, because it hurt so much to think. She’d ask my name and I’d just scream. She asked for my phone number and I yelled “Ahhhhh! I don’t know! Oh my God!” So my friend was answering for me, and they planned to get the rest of my information later.

My friend I had originally called showed up and since I was feeling nauseous we went into the bathroom. I walked in, but while in there I ended up on the floor somehow. As we were trying to leave, I was still on the floor, and she said, “I’m not sure you want to be on the floor.” I remember thinking very loudly in my head, “If I had a choice I wouldn’t be down here!” but instead I just moaned. It hurt too much to talk. After 3 hours, I got called back, and since I was dry-heaving upon arrival they gave me some phenergen  and some morphine. I calmed down and stopped caring about the pain, and after an explanation that sounds exactly like I had a kidney stone, they decided to check to see if it was appendicitis.

So they brought in a gigantic thing of contrast for me to drink. I told her from the start I wouldn’t be able to drink it all, and towards the end when the nurse came back to check on me I said that I couldn’t drink anymore. She told me I had to, but I could feel it in my esophagus. No more was going to fit. I took one sip, and it all came right back up. And every time I threw up the lady in the cubicle next to me yelled, “Oh, Lord!” and “She needs a nurse!” The nurse came back, and the next time I only had to drink as much contrast as I could.

We did the CT, and I came back to my room. My parents called (or were called?) on the hospital phone, and I went to the nurses station area or somewhere to talk to them. They informed me that the nurse said she saw a black area in my x-ray similar to that of a tumor, and it looked like I had cancer in my stomach. (I’m pretty sure that was a HIPAA violation!) I was in a bit of shock. I hadn’t had any issues prior to that morning when I seemed to break my back in the shower shampooing my hair. Why was my pain in my back and not my stomach? This made no sense. It turned out that it made no sense, because the black spot in the scan was air. Not a tumor. I hadn’t eaten and had thrown up what contrast I had.

So, since it wasn’t appendicitis or a tumor, I was checked for cysts on my ovaries. Again, that natural next step…to diagnosing intense recurring pain in my back. Once this was proved false, they decided without doing an x-ray or anything like that that I did in fact have a kidney stone and had passed it while I was there. There was some necrosis of my right (or maybe left I don’t remember anymore) kidney most likely from where a stone had been lodged cutting off blood flow. They released me, and at 730 that night I went home and ate.

So what’s the moral of this story? There are tons of ways to have fun in the $40,000 price range, you just have to be creative about it. 🙂

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