Monday, March 30, 2015

What's the big fuss about passing a little stone?

Show and tell: Yep, that's the stone, up close and personal!
After a recent kidney stone attack, several folks asked me what it felt like to pass a stone. Not a big deal, right? After all, it's just a tiny bit of calcium, jarringly mixed with other stuff, often no larger then a few grains of sand. All true, except for one important fact: The tiny stone, on its voyage through the urinary tract, has to make its way through the ureter, an itsy-bitsy tunnel between the kidneys and bladder.

The passage is painful. Very painful! Here's a guide to just how painful it can be.

You know how when you were a kid and you lost your balance while riding your bike, skinning up your knees and elbows? Stung like a sum-bitch, remember? Kidney stones are worse.

You know when you were in college and you and your buddy got blitzed and you were walking back to the dorm and instead of walking around a nearby security fence you decided it would be a good idea to leap over it and you landed on your shoulder and the nurse in the infirmary told you it was dislocated and you had to walk around for a week with your arm in a sling? Bummer! Kidney stones are worse.

You know how you sometimes absentmindedly rip open an envelope and a tiny wedge of paper slits into your finger, drawing a tiny bead of blood? Ouch! Kidney Stones are worse.

You know how you pull yourself out of bed when nature calls in the middle of the night; you stumble off toward the bathroom and, oops, crack your shin against a nearby bureau? Jeez, that smarts! Kidney stones are worse.

You know how when you're pounding a nail into a board and it seems like one good whack and the job will be done; so you let loose with a final wallop and, unfortunately, misjudge the target and hit your thumb? Oh, Nellie! Kidney stones are worse.

You know how you're in the zone, weed-whacking away on a sunny day when the plastic line whips around your ankle for an instant, causing a nasty cut and a neat circle of blood to puddle at your feet? Now that's gotta hurt, right? Kidney stones are worse.

Recall that day when you were atop a 10-foot ladder and you needed to take just one more step to reach that little leaf atop the hedge you were cutting, and the ladder gave way, and you bounced onto a nearby juniper bush before your noggin bounced against the driveway, and you were rushed to the emergency room with scrapes, bruises and a concussion? Oy! Kidney stones are worse.

And if you're of the female persuasion, recall how when in the delivery room you're sweating and pushing away mightily, attempting to get seven pounds of pinkness and hair out of your womb and through the birth canal; and after one last heave and sense of relief -- and pressure -- you hear the bawling of your babe, then hear the doctor exclaim: Surprise, you're having twins!? Kidney stones are worse.

So, the next time you hear of a friend having an attack, you might toy with the idea of smashing your thumb with a hammer or simply banging your head against a nearby wall to share the experience. Who knows, after hearing of your show of solidarity, your friend might be willing to share their pain meds! Then again, probably not.

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