Hindsight and Kidney Stones

This is a journal entry of a recent experience but there is a point and something to be learned at the end.

kidney stones

It was Sunday night and his pain started suddenly while driving home from an errand.  It ramped up quickly after he came in the house.  He was doubled over with severe groin pain, like he had been kicked.  (I didn’t do it 🙂   After some quick google-ing (is that a word)  it looked like we needed to go to the Doctor.

Most Doctors like to be home on Sunday nights so the options are a bit limited.  It was after 8pm so the ‘urgent care office’ was closed.  That left the ER.  I gathered a few things like my Emergency Hospital Bag and battened down the hatches and ran to the car to get moving.  It’s a 20 minute drive to the hospital that accepts our insurance so off we went.

During the ride, my patient/ passenger could hardly breathe the pain was so bad.  You know that pain chart at the Doctors office, the one with the smiley faces? This one… well he reported that he was at a 10.

pain scale


I drove like a bat out of… as quickly and safely as I could the 22 miles to the hospital.  I think it was about 15 minutes and I got no complaints whatsoever from my LEO over in the other seat .  He just wanted some relief and didn’t care at that point how he got it.  After arriving at the hospital, the pain lessened somewhat and he was able to walk in.  We went through the triage process and got into a room and all the initial stuff  and pain control and were ready to start the tests to see what was going on.

The first test was an ultrasound that ruled out our original thoughts of a twisting of the ahem, interior male nether regions.  That was good because that can require immediate surgery to restore blood flow.  Next it was off for a CT to see what else might be going on.  The Doctor came in to give us the results.  Turns out we he is the proud expectant daddy of a 4mm kidney stone.

Did you hold up your first finger and thumb with an approximate 4 mm space in between them?  You can get a ruler if you want.  This is no shiny silver bb, it’s more like a very sharp lava rock.  Superman’s Fortress of Solitude came to mind:

Kidney stones, what they feel like

This is what Kidney Stones feel like

That’s how the Doc described it and it’s making its way through a teeny tiny tube….hence the intense pain.

kidney stone

This is what they actually look like (some of them anyway)

He was given IV meds and was feeling pretty ok as time went on.  They explained that the kidney stone would pass and that they would send us home with some prescriptions to get filled to control pain and nausea until it did.  They sent us home at about 2 in the morning and at 9am when the pharmacy opened, I went to get the prescriptions filled.  When I got home, his pain had begun again, he took his pills and lay back down.  Nausea came and the pain stayed…and shop back up to a 10 very quickly.  WHY WEREN’T THOSE MEDS WORKING?  was the question of the day.

We trusted that these narcotics that he was given would do the job.  Not so!  They weren’t touching the pain that had come back with a vengeance.  If you look, you’ll see on the pain chart that it stops at a 10.  Well we are here to tell you that the chart needs to be amended to include some exquisitely painful numbers like 11. 12. and 13.

It was about that time that I called 911.  With the uncontrollable shaking and profuse sweating, I knew he was headed for trouble if we didn’t get this pain under control and I was not about to drive him and have something happen while I was driving.  After about 4 minutes they arrived  and started an IV immediately and got him on the gurney.  Pain medications were given via IV and that helped a little.  He had another dose on the way.  We had finally caught up.

Here is learning point #1:  DO NOT let the pain to get ahead of you.  The time between when we left the ER the night before and when we could get the Rx filled the next day was too long.  The original pain medications had a chance to wear off and then we couldn’t get back ahead of it until the double morphine dose through the IV on the second trip.  If this ever happens again, heaven forbid, we will fill the Rx at the hospital pharmacy and take it home with us so it’s ready to go.  The hospital pharmacy is a bit more expensive but so is another ER visit.

The second thing I learned, and this is hard to say, but I wasn’t ready.  Remember the hospital kit that I linked above. Here’s the post again in case you missed it.  I had mine safely tucked into my front closet ready for our next run to the hospital.  Only it wasn’t really ready.  I had the bag, but I had forgotten that the contents had gone in another bag to a friend whose 4-year-old son had been diagnosed with Leukemia.  I knew that she’d have many trips to the hospital ahead of her on his way to recovery and that she could use such a thing so I gave it to her.

I wasn’t ready, it’s as simple as that, I should have refilled that bag immediately.  But I didn’t.  Guess what is on my very short to-do list?  While I’m at it, I might as well make up a few extras in case any of you would like one too…Maybe I’ll open an Etsy store and offer them there.  Interested?

As we speak, that bad boy still hasn’t passed, and so we wait. I take comfort in the oft-repeated scriptural passage.  “And it came to pass…”  at least it didn’t come to stay.

For the conclusion to this saga click here: Kidney Stones- the rest of the story



  1. Ugh. So sorry this happened to you. I know that pain chart well. 🙁 I hope all is well now!

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