Thursday, August 10, 2006

Kidney Stone

When you heard people say that passing a kidney stone is the most painful thing they experience in their life, or at the very least one of the most painful things, they aren't kidding. Apparently I've had warning sings in the form of soreness in my lower back in the area of my kidneys but I didn't know enough to think it was a kidney stone. I'm only 26. I wake up in the middle of the night with a really nasty pain in my lower left abdomen. Later I would learn that this was the pain from the stone passing from my kidney to my bladder via a very small tube called the ureter. Going to the bathroom didn't help, though for some reason I thought it would. I go back to bed still half awake hoping the pain would just subside, but instead it grows very quickly. Within minutes I'm very much awake with the conclusion that what I was feeling was far too painful to be something that didn't require medical attention. I can best describe the feeling as someone twisting a knife in my abdomen, or perhaps tiny mage lords having an epic battle right above my left hip.

actually I thought I was experiencing the pain of appendicitis, but I would also later learn that appendicitis is always on your right side.

I call 911, realize in my mind that I was able to drive (a stupid decision I later regretted for its sheer stupidity) and ended up just asking them where the nearest emergency room was. I get in my car and drive to Goleta Cottage Hospital, literally screaming the whole way from the pain. By the time I get there, I'm pale, sweating, shivering, and nauseous, and these are just symptoms of the pain. I fill out a form, they stick me in a bed in a gown, tap me with an IV, and give me some morphine. This was my first experience with morphine, and I'm not sure if it was the nature of the drug or the fact that it was given to me intravenously or perhaps both, but I experienced a strange sensation in my throat and then, as if someone had their hand on a large volume dial labeled "Chris's Pain," and steadily turned it down. Over about 3 hours I slept a bit, had an MRI to confirm a kidney stone, and had about 5 doses of morphine. The radiologist told me the stone was almost done passing and that once it entered my bladder, the 4 mm stone wouldn't cause me anymore serious discomfort.

I ended up calling my Aunt and Uncle for a ride and to drive my car back for me, since being under the influence of morphine I was a total wreck. In fact, that's what made the rest of the day so terrible, aside from the small remaining amount of stone-related pain, was the intense nauseousness brought on by the morphine. I vomited about 7 times over the day, the last 4 times nothing but water, which is really frustrating when you're supposed to be drinking lots of it. A couple days later I passed the stone, and finally got to see the tiny little thing that caused me so much grief.

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