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Birthing a Meteor by Gene Myers

Birthing a Meteor by
Article Posted: 08/26/2010
Article Views: 718
Articles Written: 209
Word Count: 1557
Article Votes: 11
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Birthing a Meteor

The day had been active as usual. I rallied tennis with Kay for 75 minutes, lifted weights, rode my bike 24 miles, and swam 1200 meters. I considered it to be a light day since I did not run and shortened my swim. See, I'm always training for the next triathlon whenever that will be. In the middle of the bike ride I stopped at Woody's to dine al fresco with two colleagues. Lunch consisted of an apricot chicken wrap and sauteed spinach. Oh, and two beers--part of my training table, you see.

After a quick afternoon snack of almond butter and carrots, I jumped into the shower for a song or two, and emerged squeaky clean and nice and fluffy. I felt good. After slipping into a tee and a pair of surfer-dude-type board shorts, I found Kay in the living room reading a novel so I joined her and picked up the daily news rag. When I turned to get a bit more comfortable, the left side of my lower back suddenly twinged with pain. Thinking I probably twisted awkwardly, and the pain would subside I cursed my aging body, rose, and sure enough, it lessened. Over the years I've become accustomed to such inconveniences, which can uusually be "walked off". So that's what I did. I walked upstairs. Not only did the pain return, it did so with fortisimo. Yeeouch! Okay, so I'll hit it with an electric massager. Big mistake! The pain increased by an order of magnitude and literally brought me to my knees. Next thing I'm hugging the porcelain throne barfing my guts out. This was a new (and unwelcome) experience. Unrelenting (and I mean unrelenting) pain intense enough to make me hurl? The first thought was cancer. Oh, no! Not only "oh no", but holy shit!!! The second thought was: kidney stone. This was "better news" if an invasive hunk of foreign matter that causes such grief can be considered in that light.

Wait a minute! My whole life has been devoted to fitness, health, and disease prevention. I've done all the right things. I gobble down mass quantities of fruits and vegetables, take supplements, exercise like a fiend, and drink enough liquids to fill Lake Michigan. I became a little angry and cast my gaze above.

"Why me, God?" I said with irritation.

Surprisingly, He answered. "Why not you?" He said with a smile in his voice and (I'm sure) a twinkle in his eye.

"C'mon, Big Guy, I don't deserve this!"

"Well, I have a sense of humor, you know?"

"Give me a break! This pain is worse than giving birth!"

"Now how would you know that?"

"I'm just sayin'..."

"Don't worry. It will go away soon enough."


"Hard to say. I just sort of let these things run their own course. I can't interfere in everything." There was a bit of irritation in His voice then it lightened again, "But I promise you it will pass."


"Well, you either get well or die. Either way the pain will go away."


"Oh, c'mon. Don't be such a wuss. It's no big deal. Everybody does it."

"Hey, that's not funny!"

"Depends on one's point of view..."

His voice faded, but I could hear chuckling, and the pain increased. Back to the porcelain god in the bathroom I staggered.

Hours later in the emergency room at St. Vincent's, attending physician Doug Smith shook my hand. "Well, it's about eight millimeters. Pretty hard to pass anything larger than five. It's in the ureter just outside the kidney. See, as long as the stone stays in the kidney they're no problem. Just when they start traveling. We got a cool picture from the CAT-scan though. It's a great shot! We'll give you a CD." he said cheerfully.

"Oh, goody. What now?"

"We'll give you some pain meds, something to expand the ureter, and an anti-nausea pill. You should be able to spend the night in relative (wink-wink) comfort; and as soon as you get up in the morning go immediately to urology and they'll take it from there. I'll give them a heads-up."

About twenty minutes after ingesting their "miracle" medication the pain hit full force plus a little extra. A wave a nausea swept over me. "Great meds they gave me," I told Kay. "The pain is more intense than ever and I'm going to puke."

"They probably haven't had enough time to take affect," she reasoned.

"Probably not." No matter. I barfed them up anyway and spent a miserable, sleepless night.

We arrived at the urology clinic about ten, and some dude who had to be too young to be a real physician looked into my pain-racked eyeballs with either amusement or annoyance. I couldn't tell which. Turned out he was simply one of those indifferent, detached guys.

"Well, we can just let it run its course; see if you can pass it, but (chuckle) there's no freaking way! I mean, it's a freaking boulder! Wooee! You wanna do that? Huh? Huh?"

"What, and live with this pain for...?"

"Could be weeks," he sniffed.

"No way!" This guy was really getting me steamed. He had the same cavalier attitude as God. Maybe God put him up to it; both of them having a little fun at my expense.

"Okay, okay," he put up his hand and kind of giggled, "maybe we can smash it into dust with ultrasound. Wanna do that? Huh? Huh?"

"Yeah! When?" I was hoping the next five minutes.

"We'll send you to admitting on 86th Street. I'll call and tell them you're coming."

That was more like it!

"Oh, oh..." he said looking at a clipboard. "Wait a good."

"What?" My heart sunk.

"You take baby aspirin."

"Yeah, so?"

"Blood will be too thin. Too dangerous. Could damage your kidneys. Have to get aspirin completely out of your system."

"How long will that take?"

"I dunno. Maybe ten days."

"Ten days! C"mon, doc, I can't live another ten hours,er, ten minutes like this...and...and...uh..I was lying about the aspirin. (Yeah, that's it.) I don't really take it. I said that by mistake." I sounded deranged.

Kay immediately ratted me out. "Yes, you do! Stop lying!"

So now Kay is in on this conspiracy with the doc and God! What am I, a modern day Job?

"Actually," mused the too young doctor, "there is something else we can do as a stop gap. We could shove the stone back into the kidney and install a stint, which would stop the pain except when urinating. Wanna do that? Huh? Huh?"

"That's it?"

"No, of course not. After that aspirin is out of your system we bring you back in, nuke the stone to powder, and remove the stint."

"Sold! I wanna do that!"

And so we did.

I admit I was mildly annoyed when the nurse woke me in recovery. My chemically induced slumber had been most restful and I was completely free of pain.

"Time to get up," she said with a lilt in her voice.

"No, I don't want to," I whined petulantly and closed my eyes. Leave me alone.

"Now, now, it's time to talk with the doctor," she smiled.

"Hey nurse, ever have one of these?" I said suddenly.

"Yes, and I also gave birth to twins. Kidney stones are worse."

"Aha! Hey, God, did you hear that?"

The doctor walked in looking a little startled at my outburst.

Oh yeah, I remember. John Ramsey. He's neighbors with Peter, a physician whose wife plays tennis with Kay. John's a tall, athletic-looking guy, and reputed to be the best at what he does.

"It went quite well, " said John, "we pushed the stone back into the kidney and put in a stint that will keep it there. The only discomfort you'll experience is during urination, and you'll have the desire more frequently than normal."

Thirty seconds of pain versus hours? I could handle that. "Will it be okay to take a business trip next week?"


I returned home feeling very good, but I couldn't wait to get that alien chunk of mineral out of my body. What if the asteroid goes renegade and gets loose? That thought careened around in my bean until I became aware I had to pee. Tentatively I prepared myself and took aim. Oh, my god!!! Oh, pain, oh, pain!!! Son of a ...!!! It was the same type of kidney pain I had experienced over the past twenty-four hours PLUS a good, old-fashioned gonorrhea penis burn. Frank Zappa's epic song, "How Come It Hurts When I Pee?" came to mind. The toilet bowl looked like it was full of cherry juice. At least the episode lasted only seconds, but I was already dreading the next time.

Copyright by Gene Myers 2010. Read more Gene Myers adventures in AFTER HOURS: ADVENTURES OF AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESSMAN, AEG Publishing, New York, NY (2009); and and and

NEW from Gene Myers!

SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE, PublishAmerica, Baltimore, MD (2010)

Related Articles - kidney stone, pain, fitness, urology, physician,

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