Friday, December 12, 2008


Does anybody change their wiper blades when the sun is shining?

Does anybody change the smoke alarm battery before it beeps?
Does anybody change their brake pads before that squeak starts?
Does anybody change their diets before the symptoms occur?
There is a famous scripture that goes something like " Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance!"
I have passed so many kidney stones that Dr. Friedman, my urologist, has labeled me the #1 producer in the United States. He said there was a chain smoking, coffee drinking, milk guzzler from Arkansas that was #1, but now it is me.
A brief history of my journey:
My first experience was in 1988, Tyler was a baby and he and I were living by ourselves. I was 25 years old and had heard of kidney stones, but thought only old people got them.
For those of you who have had them or are close to someone who has, you know it starts as a pain in the lower back. You are sure you have pulled a muscle somehow.
 That is how it started with me. 
As I lay in the hall that night in the fetal position with sweat running down my face, I knew I had not just pulled a muscle. Something else was amiss.
I made it through the night on Advil and prayers and hustled to the doctor that morning. After some testing, Dr Kilpatrick came in to tell me I had a kidney stone. I was so relieved, I thought I had something real bad. Little did I know, that I did. 
I said " Great Dr. Kilpatrick. What happens now?"
He said "Excuse me?"
I'm like " Make it go away!"
He smiles and says " You don't know what happens now, do you?"
I'll never forget the "Chart!"
He shows me the journey of that little stone.
"It starts here, in the kidney " he says, pointing to the chart.
That was your back pain. "The kidney has such a small opening as it leaves towards the bladder, that it goes into spasms as the stone tries to enter the ureter tube."
" The pain subsides after it passes into the bladder' he remarks
"I remember that!" I say "It quit hurting at about 4:00 am."
"Exactly" he says
He moves the pointer along the "Chart!"
"Now, the stone can't stay there it has to move along" he chimes
"The next sensation will be the pain moving around to the front." he notes
"Check!" I blurt "I'm hurting something fierce!"
It felt like someone had kicked me square in the crotch!
" The journey is almost over" he says "but it doesn't get any easier"
" You are going to get a burning sensation and it will feel like you have to pee so bad."
"Yea! Yea!" I yelp "I have that right now" " Can I go?"
"Sure" he says " I'll be right here"
Two minutes later I'm back with a pained, bewildered look on my face.
"Not much came out, did it?" he asks
I shake my sweat soaked head no.
"Burned like hot lava, didn't it?"
Up and down goes my head.
"Have to go again, don't you?"
"Yes" I moan
"What next Doc.?" I plead
"I'm dying here!"
He picks up the pointer and I will never ever forget the realization that came over me as he touched the "Chart!"
"Your bladder wants that stone out. Your bladder is filling up and the sensation to go to the bathroom is going to get very intense, but it will come out." he notes
He looks at me and says "You know how that's going to happen now, don't you?"
I look at the "Chart!" and whimper "Yes!"
He goes to a drawer and gets something out and turns to me and hands me a little cup with a strainer in the bottom.
"What's this for?" I ask
"When that time comes, and it's coming soon" "I want you to capture it so that we can see what's going on in your body."
I remember thinking this cup is not big enough, that thing has to be big as a baseball.
But I take my cup and head home to wait for my water to break.
After no less than 20 trips to the bathroom to drizzle hot coffee into the toilet bowl, the blessed moment finally arrives.
 The 21st trip was no different than the previous 20 until the blood came. You feel every millimeter of that last stretch of travel. I will leave it at that.
 In pained anticipation and as my knees buckled, I gave birth and I swear I heard Angels Sing!
The relief is instantaneous, I was truly in heaven. I forgot my mission though and hurriedly look in my cup. Nothing is there. Where did it go? I frantically look, in the bowl, on the floor, back in my cup. What is that? I notice some small grain of sand in the bottom of my cup." No way is that it", I lament.
I run it under water and stare at it some more. That can't be it, there has to be some mistake.
I call Dr. Kilpatrick. From the phone he says, "Yea, probably smaller than a grain of sand. The normal size is like 1-2 millimeters."
Wow, I was so disappointed. That much pain, that much effort. I felt like there should have been so much more. Something I could save, something I could show others, but a grain of sand. I turned and flushed it down the toilet.
That was then.........................
21 years later....................
I have become a professional kidney stone passer.
 A professional? You say?
How is that possible?
Well I graduated from a regular Doctor and I now see a renowned urologist. Dr. Friedman
I have passed over 20 kidney stones of varying sizes and shapes. 
A few years ago I was in the beginning stages of a "stone", but it would not move on it's way. I was in so much pain one night that I found myself in the back yard laying by the dog and speaking in tongues.
What was going on? I knew how to do this. Why was this different?
Well come to find out I had the mother of all stones. They scanned me that next day and determined that I had a 9 millimeter stone. That is the size of a child's school house marble.
Dr. Friedman then speaks the words that will make me a professional.
He says " You can't pass a stone larger than 2-3 millimeters because the opening into the ureter is not big enough to allow passage."
Oh silly man.
I take him for his word.
 They bust up the large stone by putting me out and blasting it with sound waves. That part was easy, but you still have to pass all the little ones, but they're small so it wasn't bad.
About 6 months ago I'm having the tell-tell signs of a stone and I have gotten so good at this stone-passing-thing that I can guess the size. This is a big one!
I make it through the journey and during it I can tell it's large. 
When the moment arrives and I give birth. I scream from one knee for Kelli "Come in here!" I yell.
I plunge my hand into the bloody water in the bowl, I don't care how gross that sounds because there before my eyes was the mother-of-all-stones. I hold it up for Kelli and she cannot believe it. I am so proud! Now we're talking! That's a stone!
It measured almost 4 millimeters.
I put it in a baggy and I call Dr, Friedman's office. I tell him of my delivery and he says "No way!" "That's impossible!"
I tell him I'm bringing it in.
He is truly amazed and says that is a record.
"There will never be one bigger" he jokes
I tell him I think I could do better and he tells me if I could make one bigger he would buy it.
Here comes the professional part
The night before last with all the planets in line. A full moon in the sky and trumpets blaring. I lay the egg-of-all-eggs
As you can see from the graphic below, that baby is over 6 millimeters. Bam!
I passed the small one on the left, but I think it was just a small moon orbiting the larger planet. The small one is the normal size of a passable kidney stone.
I lived through it and I have a Dr's appointment with Dr. Friedman on Tuesday. He swears I'm lying.
So back to the first part of my post. I have quit swearing off diet pepsi. I won't stay off it anyway. As soon as I start feeling better I'm right back on the sauce. 
Besides, I'm in training. I'm a professional kidney stone maker.
Waiting for some up and coming pepsi drinking wanna be to take my crown.
See ya, I have to go have a diet pepsi


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