And I thought the other kind of calculus was bad

Last Sunday, after a late but enjoyable Saturday evening with friends, Nellie and I were enjoying a nice lazy lie-in, like any other Sunday morning. We didn’t have anywhere to be, so after a few hours we’d probably get up, go find some breakfast, maybe watch a movie, just enjoy the day.

Our plans changed slightly when I was awoken by an excruciating pain in the right side of my back. I’d never felt anything like this…not pulled muscles, not torn ligaments, not a broken wrist. I fell out of the bed, writhing on the floor in pain and generally freaking out because it felt like someone was stabbing me from the inside. Standing up, walking around, sitting down, twisting my back…nothing helped. Nellie, now convinced I didn’t just have a leg cramp or some other silly thing that was unnecessarily interrupting her sleep, was up too, Googling symptoms on her iPhone while I sat, twitching and trying to catch my breath. Nellie guessed kidney stones, and based on the region of the pain I was inclined to agree. Actually, I was inclined to claw that part out of my body, but whatever. A quick call to TeleHealth led us to think we were right, and made it very clear that a hospital visit was required here. I’m not afraid of hospitals, but neither do I enjoy them, so I normally do everything I can to avoid them. However, this was not an avoid-the-hospital scenario. I couldn’t even function.

So, off we walked to the ER at St. Mike’s, which was sure to be a treat on a Sunday morning. Actually, it was quite calm, apart from the kid who’d cooked himself on ecstasy the night before and woulnd’t shut up, and the screaming cursing ranting crazy guy strapped to the bed in the isolation room (who we could still hear), and the wailing meth addict who was admitted right behind us. Just a regular morning at St. Mike’s, I’m guessing, but they treated me as well as they always do. I was quickly on a bed, getting blood drawn and donating some urine, being pumped full of morphine (which didn’t do shit) and Toradol (whoooo!!!!), getting an ultrasound (really never thought I’d have one of those) and finally a CT scan. The doctor’s first guess was confirmed by the tests: yup, kidney stone. Renal calculus. Three of them, to be exact. Small enough, it seemed, to pass without surgery (unlike the dude a couple of beds over, who had one the size of a golf ball!) so they sent us home with prescriptions and best wishes.

We picked up the Percocet and Naproxin along with piles of other stuff at the drug store (never shop whilst high on Toradol), then got McDonald’s for lunch (Toradol: also a bad influence on lunch decisions), then went home to wait the little fuckers out.

That evening, about twelve hours after the Toradol went it, it started to wear off. I took two Percocet without eating anything but half an apple, and promptly puked it all back out. Can’t remember the last time I puked, and certainly not the last time I puked like that. This affliction just kept getting better.

After that I basically settled into two days of pain, nausea and fuzziness. I thought I’d be able to work from home, but I could barely lift myself out of bed when I was drugged and writhed in pain three hours later when they wore off. Seriously, you’d think that two Percocet and a Naproxin every six hours would keep me good and numb, but…nyet. I had just enough energy to drink my own weight in water, emptying and refilling my various containers every half hour or so.

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, when I was on a ‘sleep for an hour, then pee’ cycle, I felt something…I don’t know, like a bump, in my groin. I looked down, saw a bunch of blood and what appeared to be wine sediment in the toilet, and figured the worst had passed. I did a little silent cheer, went back to the couch, and slept a few more hours. Telling Nellie the next morning felt like the times as a kid when I told my parents I won a tournament or an award at school. SO. PROUD. But mainly, I was just happy that my bladder-y region had stopped the constant spasming. That was weird. On Tuesday Michael (one of our cats) actually attacked my groin under a blanket because it wouldn’t stop twitching.

I spent the rest of Wednesday unfuzzing from the (no longer necessary) painkillers and by Thursday was back to work. Still with some fever and tenderness, but more or less back to normal. As I write this I nearly have my appetite back, I feel very little soreness and it actually seems like a vaguely fuzzy memory…like it happened years ago, or to someone else.

And that is why drugs freak me the hell out. That, and the wailing lady on the floor of the St. Michael’s emergency room.

3 responses to “And I thought the other kind of calculus was bad

  1. I agree with you on the scariness of pain meds. The second of three times I had them I was given demerol to take to numb the pain which it did. When I stopped taking them I went through withdrawal (sweats, shakes and nausea). That is why when I got them the third time I just drank five gallons of water in one evening to flush the sucker out. I was more scared of the drugs than the stone.

    Funny, when I took toradol last year for something else it did nothing for me. Na da.

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