Ah yes. Spring comes and with it the endless piles of gravel along the sides of the road. It gets everywhere, it’s grotty, it’s ugly.
And for me, my own personal grit. A couple of weeks ago, an Xray showed that the charmingly HUGE kidney stone in my right kidney had decide to take a trip. It had moved about an inch down my ureter, enroute to my bladder and escape. Perhaps it wanted to join its fellows on the streets of Ottawa. Who knows. Anyway, my teenage urologist (a charming young man who, I’m sure, has graduated grade 12) drew me a diagram, pointed out the little rock, now comet shaped, in my inappropriate body part, told me I needed to have it smashed, post-haste.
I’m a nurse by trade. Consequently, I hate hospitals. I know what really goes on there. It’s like taking a chef to a restaurant – he or she will always be peering at the kitchen, looking for cleanliness, entrails, sloppy work. I KNOW most nurses and hospital staff work so hard it is unbelievable, but I also know that errors can occur. So I really really do not like darkening their doors any more than needed.
Alas, no alternative to smashing that sounded better, and the thought of jiggling the stone as I drove through those endless New Brunswick forests was enough to send me running in for lithotripsy, a jolly little word that basically means shooting intense shock waves through your body until the stone gives up and cries for mercy. It sounds like a skip through the forest. “Oh, Edna, DO let’s go lithotripsing today, shall we?” “Smashing, simply smashing! Let’s!”
Well, it all wasn’t so bad. The drugs are very very good. The doc who saw me, not my teenage guy, but another young sprout, had a cheerful mien and a sense of hipness that gave me confidence (why is it every urologist I meet is cheerful? They practically sing their way through work. Not common among specialties. The anesthesiologist, on the other hand, was glum and Eeyore-ish. One wonders.) The nurses were sweet and very informative.
The pounding was vaguely uncomfortable. But , as I said, the drugs were very, very, very good. I could have slept forever, drifting happily through a gentle pillowed land, filled with tiny blue birds and spring flowers and the occasional mosquito bite on my back. I was Xrayed far too much for my mental comfort, and immediately thought back to how my dad told my brother that if he sat too close to the TV he would start to glow in the dark from radiation. I resisted cupping my hand over my arm to see if I was glowing. I tried not to think of my family’s cancer history and the carcinogenic effects of xrays. I didn’t succeed.
Dr. Hipguy said my stone blew up quite satisfactorily. Must be a bit like a video game, I guess, zapping the alien until it vanishes. Maybe that’s why they are so happy. Playing games all day.
They slid me into my bed, sent me back to my cubicle, and in no time arrived with cheese and apple juice and told me to get dressed and outta there. My wonderfully supportive friend Tim came and drove me home, tucked me in, walked my dog. I slept on. And on. And drank water and water and water, and took Tylenol.
I felt awesomely strong and brave. Not only had I started to pass the stone quite a ways without a whimper, but I was doing so well post-op!
I am woman, I said to myself. I can handle anything. I rule. No stone’s gointa get the best of ME.
Hubris. I should have known. Whenever I used to go roller skating, I would just get to the point of saying to myself thoughts of grace and charm when I’d immediately slip and fall, usually sliding right into the legs of some gorgeous boy, who would be flung airwards and land, swearing at me and glaring every time he passed me on the rounds.
So last night, after bragging about my strength and waxing poetic about the benefits of having MS and thus numbness and thereby being able to handle pain easily, with nothing but an eye flicker, I was given a lesson.
A sharp, shardlike lesson.
So, back to the drinking gallons of fluid and chewing Tylenol and repositioning myself so that my side feels comfortable. Sigh. I shall never brag again. Never. Well, at least until this stone passes.