Living With Kidney Stones
Last Monday I wasn’t in the blogosphere since I was at the doctor’s office with hubby as he is going through a gauntlet with kidney stones. So it’s not me thankfully, but I wouldn’t want to wish this upon anyone.
While sitting in the doctor’s office, I was musing about how long I have lived with loved ones suffering from these things as I sat reading a fantasy to help pass the time.
Basically my whole life.
Growing up, my father had them a lot. We would make late night drives to the emergency room while my dad was sitting in the front seat moaning in pain and hugging a trashcan. That was after my mother was able to get him to the car after he was writhing in pain before the porcelain goddess.
It’s a weird thing seeing a grown man writhing in pain in the bathroom floor when you are just a little kid. First thing you think: Is my dad going to die?
Well no, but I’m sure it feels like it.
So what are these things? I’m pretty sure some folks are lucky enough to not know what they are and are thankfully in the dark. Basically they are stones that are formed in the kidney and are composed of crystals of a specific kind of salt within the kidneys–the most common type is calcium oxalate stones. Certain conditions in the kidneys allow them to grow larger. When the stones move into the tube from the kidney to the bladder (the ureter) this can cause excruciating pain and bloody urine. So in short your kidneys make rocks.
The stones aren’t smooth either. They have spikes and sharp edges. The ureters are very small tubes. My dad describes the situation as: It’s like trying to shove a pine cone through a water hose. What a lovely thought, eh?
Heredity and environment play a role. It is said if you get them once then you stand a good chance of getting them again. My dad’s family has them, so he inherited them. They are more common place in the Southeastern US due to our eating habits and environment. Lucky us. So basically we have a recipe for hell.
The same is true for my husband, but he is prone to getting the really large ones. Now it turns out he has one that is so large that he must have surgery to have it removed. But it’s not alone. It has seven more roommates and four next door neighbors in the other kidney.
This is even worse than anything we have gone through with my dad. Hubby’s first stone was the size of a nickel–many times larger than my father’s largest stone.
Have I had them?
I’ve had one :(. It was a long time ago and it was because I was sick for a solid month. I had a stomach virus and was broadsided with the flu so I was mildly dehydrated. So after all that is when it hit. That was the worst month and a half of my life! The one I had was so small I never saw it, but I swear to you it was the size of Olympus Mons while it was in there. I haven’t had one since, and I wouldn’t want another one. If the one I had was the size of a piece of silt and it hurt that bad I could just imagine how badly a huge one would hurt!
So what is it like when you have your first one? Well for one thing you think you are going to die or something. You don’t have the first clue what is wrong with you. You don’t have any warning. Bam! All you can think about is how bad it hurts and emergency room–anything to make it stop. It is the closest thing a man can feel to childbirth, and I have had some women say they would rather have a baby without an epidural than have a kidney stone. It’s that bad.
In addition to all the drama and pain, they are an expensive thing to deal with. Treatment is often drawn out and exhausting. Unless there are extreme circumstances such as a blockage or an incredibly huge stone, they don’t really do anything much. Medieval torture like catheters and stuff such as that awaits you. Sometimes all you get are pain meds and some x rays done. Even with insurance things can get expensive. Without? Oh boy. My parents when that route when I was little, but they were able to make it somehow.
At the time of this writing we are waiting patiently for the doctors to get their ducks in a row for surgery and learning about how to prevent the stones in my husband since his system is notorious for many and large ones. *GASP* we may have to change his diet and all the fun things that men hate!
For my dad’s prevention program he has been stone free as far as I know.
Have thoughts, questions, or stories? Please share!
About the Author
AK Taylor is an award winning YA author who has been writing novels since age 16. Beekeeper, outdoor sportsman, avid adventurer, and animal lover. Taylor lives in the backwoods of Middle GA where she continues to write stories.