Monday, February 29, 2016

Out of class for another week

Well, wasn't that fun! It's not every day you have the opportunity to answer the question "What is the level of your pain on a scale of 1 to 10?" with TWELVE, damn it!

(Far too much TMI below. And bad Star Wars metaphors. You have been warned.)

Late last month, as I was shopping for the Big Snowstorm early one morning, I felt an odd pulling on the left side of my abdomen, almost as if I had a cramp in my psoas or abdominals. As I finished my shopping it got worse, and by the time I got home I recognized the symptoms of a kidney stone. These can be about as painful as you can get and remain conscious, and the latter may be a dubious achievement. I've heard tell that they can be worse than labor pains, and unlike labor you don't get a cuddly baby to hold after it's over. My girlfriend drove me to the local emergency department where a CT showed my pain was caused by a tiny TIE fighter. Only... what's that small moon over on the other side? That's no moon, it's a space station! It's too big to be a space station. I have a very bad feeling about this... It's the Death Star!

The little TIE fighter crashed and burned on its own a couple days later after a battle of only about 45 minutes punctuated mostly by cursing and whimpering. A preemptive attack on the Death Star was launched a couple of weeks ago but failed spectacularly. We'd just settled into a month-long waiting period before taking further aggressive action when the Death Star moved into attack position. Let's just note here that when you're really in pain, even fairly large doses of heavy IV painkillers aren't the least bit fun, though they may relieve the craving to find a spork with which to practice crude Seppuku. According to Dr. Google, the good stuff I got is generally administered as 4-10mg given slowly over a 4-5 minute period, and perhaps repeated after 4 hours. I got 8mg IV push as an initial dose, which after 20 minutes had only brought me down from 12 to about 8 or 9 on that 1-10 pain scale. Thus I got another 8mg IV push, which finally coaxed me off the ceiling and settled me out at about a 4-5. And let me tell you that even 4-5 is no picnic on my version of the pain scale. I do NOT want to do that again. EVER.

Faced with the possibility of this happening several more times before rallying the troups, and only a 50-60% chance of ever conquering this thing on my own, I got insistent. I have a pretty good record of getting what I want when I get insistent with doctors, and got the Jedi warrior put on the schedule for today. Only this Jedi warrior carried a holmium laser instead of a Light Saber. Much like in the movie, the Death Star has been vanquished; vaporized into tiny bits. All that remains is to tend the the battle-weary and allow time for recovery.

Thus I'm gonna be outta class for a week or so, recovering. Class will wait until either a week from Tuesday or the weekend following.

Still reading? Lose your appetite? I did warn you. For those who read to the end, there is one nice ballet bit to this story. We had tickets to last night's Washington Ballet production of Director's Cut. We really wanted to see it, but there was just no way. With a bit of help I was able to track down a classmate and arranged for her and her ballet-dancing son to attend in our place. I can hardly wait to hear all about it when I get back to class.


  1. Oh, that is awful! I am happy for you that you were able to get it taken care of, though. Horrible, horrible pain. Heal well, fully and unconditionally!

    1. That's the plan, Anonymous!

      What they don't tell you is that after laser-blasting the thing into tiny bits, the post-op stent traps lots of the bits in your kidney until it's removed. Apparently my face showed some alarm at this news, and my doc hastened to reassure me that the tiny bits would be so small I'd never feel them. He seems to have been right on that, though I caught some in the strainer the next morning so I can attest that they were there.


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