The first time I had one, I had no idea what was wrong. I just knew I was in pain, lots of pain. I was divorced at the time, and my 15 year old daughter was sleeping in my bed with me because she had seen a spider in hers–and we ALL know girls of any age won’t sleep where they have seen a spider. I got up in the night to go to the bathroom and was not able to walk back to the bed, a mere 10 steps or so. I crawled over to the bed and woke Becca up, and said “You are going to have to drive me to the hospital.”
Her eyes got as big as saucers. She was more afraid of driving me to the hospital in the dark than she was of seeing me there writhing in pain on the bedroom floor. She did the next best thing–she called my son, who no longer lived at home, and told him he had to come and take me to the hospital.
When I finally did get to the ER that night, they took me right in, before any of the other people who had probably been waiting all night. They took several X-rays (this was 20 years ago, okay? I also had health insurance back then). When they determined that it was a kidney stone, they hooked me up to an IV for saline solution and a morphine drip. Ahhhhhhhh, Morphine was my friend!!! They also kept me overnight for observation, then sent me home with a device to strain my urine. You know, so I could catch the sucker and examine it closely so I could get to know the enemy.
That first kidney stone was a big as one of those black watermelon seeds, similarly shaped, except it had jagged teeth along the edges–a real mean S.O.B. Now girls, I gave birth to my son in an Army hospital in Germany in 1971. Natural childbirth is what they believed in over there at the time. Seth weighed 10 lbs, 8.5 ounces. And that experience did not hurt as bad as passing that kidney stone. I am just saying, I would rather give birth with no drugs than have another kidney stone.
Yesterday started out just like any other day here at the North Rim. I got myself up and dressed, and drove the 12 miles out to the entrance station, arriving there at a very early hour (can’t say what time we open up). I felt fine, up until about 9 a.m., when I had that old familiar feeling. The one where I usually end up writhing in pain on the floor. I called my boss and asked him to get in touch with FabGrandpa, and have him bring me one of those Lortabs the musculo-skeletal doctor prescribed me back in July.
The boss called me back in a little bit and told me that he was sending out the medication with my co-worker, and for me to let him know if I needed to come home. So, about 10:30, the co-worker showed up. As soon as he walked in, I said “You have something for me and if you don’t give it to me RIGHT NOW, I am going to knock you down!” I took my pill, and then went out to walk the line because it was a really busy day here yesterday. The trees are turning and all the leaf peepers are coming out. I don’t blame them, it IS really beautiful here.
I stayed out there long enough for Richard to have his lunch, then called the boss and told him I was going home. Then I called FabGrandpa and told him to be ready to go to Kanab when I got there in about a half hour. That Lortab doesn’t touch a kidney stone pain, I have to tell ya. I got home before he did and changed my clothes. I put on my pajamas and laid down on the bed. When FabGrandpa came in, he said, “Why are you in your pajamas? I thought you were going to the ER.” So, I got up and changed my pants.
When we left, I was wearing my pajama shirt and jeans, and a zip front hoodie. I forgot to take my purse, my hairbrush, AND my TEETH. You know, my lower partial plate, the one that I need for chewing if I happen to eat anything. I just wasn’t thinking about anything but my pain, girls.
It is 85 miles from our home on the plateau to the ER in Kanab. About 15 miles out, I had to stop on the side of the road and throw up. I have had several kidney stones, but have never had to throw up when I had one before. That made me just worry that there was something else wrong. About 50 miles out, FabGrandpa got pulled over by an Arizona State Patrol for speeding. The officer walked up to the truck on my side. I put the window down and I am sure he could see my distress, as I was writhing in pain there in the seat of the truck.
He gave FabGrandpa a very stern lecture about how our truck was not an emergency vehicle, and how he could call for an ambulance if I was that sick, but that he was not allowed to speed under any circumstances. I told him that if I waited for an ambulance it would take more time to get to the ER, and FabGrandpa promised to slow down if he would just let us go. He did, and I am thankful for that. bastard.
We finally got to the ER. I walked in and said “I think I have a kidney stone. I have had them before, and you don’t forget what they feel like.” So, they took me right in, made me pee in a cup, took my blood pressure and temp, and hooked me up to an IV of saline solution, and gave me a shot of Tordol and another one of Zofran, just in case. They also gave me a barf bag. The RN told me “If you feel like you have to throw up again, PLEASE use this bag.” I understood her plea. I taught all my kids to throw up on the bed, not on the floor. It was easier for Queasy Momma to clean up the sheets.
It took a little longer for the Tordol to work than morphine would have taken, but it did work. It eased my pain completely, and I think I slept for a couple of hours while the IV dripped out. As soon as the IV was done, I was released and sent home with a prescription for Percocet and a strainer. Yay. I get to wait for the enemy again.
The three hour stay in the ER: $1009, after a 10% discount for paying in full. Dinner for two before heading home (with no teeth, see above): $26. Prescription for percocet: $18. Having a husband who loves me enough to drive 85 miles to the ER: Priceless!
Sunset in the desert on the drive home. Crescent moon on the left. Wow!