Having kidney stones means you're in a club. I don't like being a part of it.
People in the kidney stone club are always sure their experience has been the worst. The very FIRST question I'm asked by fellow KSC members is: "How big is your stone?"
My grandpa is a particularly competitive member. I think it's worse because he's in his eighties, and can't remember that he just asked me thirty minutes ago how big my stone is, and I already told him. My mom and dad think I should say, "I hear they get smaller with age."
The next question asked is, "How many do you have?" followed by, "Which side?"
"How bad does it hurt?"
That's what the on-call nurse asked me last night when, after four weeks of suffering with a stent and being barely able to function, I called the emergency hotline. I am tired of these people changing the word "Pain" to "Discomfort." I am tired of them telling me, "It's pretty normal." I am tired of them saying, "Well, you're not alone. Lots of people deal with this."
So I said to the on-call nurse:
"Listen. I have had two children. I have had surgery several times, including lithotripsy. I have had severe migraine headaches all my life. I even passed a 9mm kidney stone while pregnant. And I am telling you that right now, I am in the WORST PAIN I HAVE EVER BEEN IN. Could you just note that in my file, please?"
Here's the thing. If you have kidney stones, and they are being a problem (because you can have them and not even know it if they're just hanging out in your kidneys), they hurt. I don't think it matters how big they are, if you've had them before, or how many there are. What matters is that it's really, really horrible, debilitating pain.
I am grateful that it's me who's in pain, and not my children. I am grateful that aside from all this, my life is close to perfect. I am grateful that my mother, father, and sister live across the street from me and are willing to help so much. I am grateful that last night, when I was sent to Immediate Care for treatment for the pain, my Dad sat next to me in the exam room and made me laugh over the Bob Newhart show we watched on the TV. I am grateful that while my husband is at work, he sends me texts that say, "I love you" instead of "How are you?" because he knows which one will make me feel better.
But for the record, I have more than five stones in both kidneys, and they range in size, all the way up to 9 mm. In my left side right now, a 4 mm stone is obstructing my kidney and I have had a stent in since September. I can barely walk from the pain, I have no appetite, and the nausea is overwhelming.
I think I win the club contest.