Drink Lots Of Water

I had a rather interesting experience this week. Sunday night (Monday morning) as I was returning from Yankee Stadium (having had the dubious privilege of attending the only ALDS game we won), I stopped at a nameless diner at 2am to grab some grub. It was not one of the normal diners I eat at, and it was clearly a run-down place, but I was starving, and it was late, and my options were extremely limited.
When I woke up Monday morning, I felt like crap. After a couple hours of fighting my own body’s urges to do things it seemed incapable of doing, I recognized the tell-tale signs of food-poisoning. I’d gotten a really bad case of food poisoning a couple months ago (where I ended up in the ER… an IV drip of fluid, pain-killer, and antacid later, I was good as new). Seeing that the “pain level” on this was heading to exactly the same level as the last trip, I drove myself to the Emergency Room.
D was out of town. She was down in Pennsylvania enjoying a nice “girls’ weekend” with some of her sisters. I knew that a food-poisoning issue would be “done and over” before she even got half-way home, so there was no point in calling her and ruining her weekend.
As I was going through the motions with the ER doc, she’s doing the usual poking and prodding… “Does it hurt here?” “What if I do this?” etc. She asks when I ate last. I tell her the Diner story. She seems unconvinced.
“Your pain seems like it’s in the wrong spot, I’d like to order a CT to rule out appendicitis.”
… and then, like all docs in a busy ER, she just wanders away leaving me with lots of questions, not the least of which is, “Hey, what are the odds it’s an appendicitis?”
I consult with the ER Nurse, explaining the “D situation”, how she’s four hours away, and I don’t want to bug her for food-poisoning but if they’re gonna slice me open to fish out an organ that’s about to explode poison all over my abdomen, then maybe that might warrant an advance phone-call. The ER nurse convinces me to let D relax for a while, and wait for the CT and the results of it, before we do that. And then she hands me a Big-Gulp sized cup of some crazy semi-radioactive Gatorade they want me to finish before they can do the CT.
While sitting there sipping my Big-Nuke, I decide to call my parents. I figure if I’m in a hospital, freakin’ someone should know I’m there… they decide to come down to the hospital. While waiting for them, they take me away, and do my CT scan.
The CT technician was kind of amusing. Lots of good advice, “You’re going to feel like you’re urinating… you’re not… it’s just your body working overtime trying to sort out what is going on between the stuff we’ve put in you and the MRI itself… just relax”.
After my parents arrive, the doc comes back and says “You don’t have appendicitis. You’ve got… a kidney stone.”
Wait, what? A kidney stone, at my age? That’s gonna hurt like fuck, man…
“Can’t we make it an appendicitis?” I ask the doc, but she is unwilling or unable to magically make my ailment be something that I’ll be blissfully sedated for the resolution of.
“It’s very small,” she says in response, but aren’t they all, really? The issue is just that the hole they have to evacuate through is small as well.
I’m sent home with a referral to my primary doc and a urologist, as well as a 190µ mesh sieve that I’m supposed to strain my piss through, hoping to catch pieces of the stone as it passes, to bring to my urologist for “analysis”. I read the instructions which are basically “pee into a glass or jar, and then strain the results through that mesh”. Oh, and one other take-home that will be very useful, I begin to suspect: a prescription for Percocet.
Egads, this is gonna be a long week.
I call into work, and play the “I’m going to be working from home the next couple days….” and tell a couple people why. They’re very supportive. Nobody wants me to commute an hour each way where one of those ways might have to be doped up on Percocet. And I seriously doubt anyone wants me straining my piss on-campus. That’s just gross.
I make my follow-up appointments with the doctors. Tuesday with my PCP, and Thursday with my new urologist. My primary doc appointment, well, that was kind of a waste. “Oh, they sent you here? You’re feeling fine right now? Do you need more pain meds? OK, pay at the desk on your way out.”
Wednesday morning, I need to run over to the hospital to pick up a CD-ROM with all my MRI images on it for the urologist. While in the shower, the combination of running water and warmth take their toll (as they often do on members of the male species), and I find myself letting things flow and — hey, wait, what the heck is that thing that just shot across the shower!?!
I bend over and grab it before the flow of water takes it swirling down the drain.
Holy crap, I just passed the damned stone. Without even noticing it. If I hadn’t actively been watching things happen looking for this, and if I hadn’t been in pain the other day enough to go to the ER, this whole thing could have happened without me even being aware of it, that’s how crazily this thing went.
So I end up the next day, Thursday, at the urologist who declines to take the stone. “Oh, they told you to bring that to me? Nah, for your first stone, I don’t bother…. it’d be several hundred dollars of lab work to tell you the same basic things… drink lots of water, reduce your salt intake, avoid certain types of foods.”
And so now that’s it… this is me with my public service announcement message for the day: Drink lots of water. I’m not that old (although the definition of “old” is now certainly becoming very elusive for me as I start to approach ages I once would have attached “old” to)… if it can happen to me, it can happen to you. Drink lots of fluids. Keep your salt intake down.
And avoid having kidney stones like the damned plague…..

4 thoughts on “Drink Lots Of Water

  1. What they didn’t tell you is that once you’ve had one, you may get another. Some people seem to form them and others don’t. For example, mine seem to come at 5 year intervals.
    I’ve had three stones and each one required a visit to the hospital for a lithotripsy procedure. You were able to avoid this.
    After the last one I really ramped up my water intake. In 3 or 4 more years I may know if I am doing enough.

  2. I’ve had three kidney stones. All good times! Definitely recommended for times when you think you’ve got the whole ‘taking care of yourself’ thing under control.
    After a little research I found mention that a relatively common cause is the potassium in caramel-colored sodas such as Coke, Pepsi, Diet Coke, etc. So I cut them out to see what would happen and haven’t had a kidney stone in years.
    Though I should probably drink more water and eat less salt.

  3. Just was talking to my mother about this bud. Her friend’s doctors advised (and I’m not kidding about this) one beer a day followed with 32 oz of water.

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