I was driving downtown on 290 yesterday morning in order to pick up a coworker for a meeting in Barrington when lo and behold the most excruciating and unforgettable pain came upon me. About 3 years ago I had a kidney stone, so I was pretty sure that I was having another one. Rather than driving to the meeting, I drove straight to Northwestern and checked into the emergency room.
Firstly, I must say that Northwestern has the most friendly and professional ER that i’ve ever experienced. They always take the time to explain what they’re doing and ask what a patient’s preferences are, even when they probably don’t have to. If you ever have a kidney stone go to Northwestern, because on top of everything else, they will give you Dilaudid, which is a wonderful terrible narcotic that will make you forget you are in excruciating pain and transport you directly to la-la land where you are sitting in a warm hot tub and relaxing with a glass of wine. To the left is a photograph of what I look like a short time after they put the D in my IV. Bliss.
They took blood and urine samples and sent me off for an abdominal CT, where I had difficulty removing my pants and following directions due to the narcotics. A short while later they came back and told me that I had a 5mm stone in my ureter, and it was headed toward my bladder. This is not good news, but at least they no longer thought I was in the ER just to get high on Dilaudid.
The crummy thing about a kidney stone is that there’s nothing much to do but wait it out. A stone this size (roughly the size of the raised part of a LEGO, only jagged and chrystalline) should probably pass on its own, and I hope it does because if it doesn’t I will end up with at least 2 minor surgeries and I don’t want that. Since I left the hospital the pain has been negligible, and this morning it’s hardly there at all.
That brings me to the terrible thing about kidney stones. The pain comes in waves, so you start thinking “Damn, I should go grocery shopping cause I don’t feel bad at all” then when you’re halfway through the produce section you’re buckled over about ready to pass out in pain.
My last stone was terrible, and it was only 2mm. So far, this one is just filling me with a sense of impending doom - because I KNOW what a terrible horrible thing is coming. There are two major bottlenecks for this stone. The first is the junction of the ureter and the bladder and the second is… is… well… you know!