Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"This, too, shall pass..."

This phrase became all the more relevant last week, when I learned that I had a kidney stone.

What, you didn't know I was a 60-year-old man? Me either. I beat the odds-- kidney stones are most common in men over 40. But my kidneys are extra, extra special.

When I tell people about my kidney stone, they look horrified and ask about the pain. Men say it's akin to giving birth. Like they would know, but regardless, that's not what it was like for me. Maybe I have a high pain threshold, or maybe the aforementioned men are just sissies. Unclear.

The worst part of the experience for me was getting a CT scan. My doctor sent me to this fancy place on the Upper East Side that specializes in medical imaging technology
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(MRIs, ultrasounds, etc). The place was more air-conditioned than the 6 train and very posh -- leather sofas, Sinatra playing softly in the background, tasteful wall sconces. It was like a Swiss chateau; I was even given a complementary beverage. Sadly, it was not a Cosmo, but a liter of cranberry juice, mixed with iodine.

When it was time for the scan, my body failed me again-- it took the doctor 4 tries to find a suitable vein. It brought back the shame of my freshman year of college, when I nobly tried to give blood for the Red Cross. Tried being the operative word, since I was unable to fill the bag in a timely manner, due to my sludge-like blood.

That night, I got my diagnosis: a 4mm kidney stone that had already left my right kidney and was en route to my bladder. Hopped up on painkillers, I settled on a name for my stone: Frances. And then I wrote a song about her:

(to the tune of "Alone" by Heart)

I hear the ticking of the clock
I'm lying here, the room's pitch dark
I wonder where you are tonight
I pee, see nothing, and I moan
And the night goes by so very slow
Oh I hope that it will end soon though
My stone

Till now I always got by on my own
I never really knew pain until I met you
My bladder hurts me to the bone
How do I get out my stone?
How do I get out my stone?

As Lincoln predicted, my kidney stone, like our nation's unrest in 1859, did eventually pass. Frances left me on Thursday, June 5th, at approximately 10:00 pm EST. She is currently in a little baggie on my dresser, next to my hairbrush. I'm supposed to bring her in to a lab for analysis. She looks very small and harmless now, and not at all like this:

Those look like earrings I bought at Cooper-Hewitt recently. That's what came up when I typed in "kidney stones ugly" on Google images.

I seem to be back in good health, but if my sciatica starts acting up, I'll be sure to blog about it.

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