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[Originally posted Sept. 8, 2004]

This is my second episode… the first was about four years ago. Suffering the indignity of the strainer apparatus but I have only been able to capture mini flecks… nothing very substantial on either occasion. But still… not a good sign… it would seem that I now have a proclivity to produce these little monsters and can probably expect similar downtime in the future. It is hard to imagine how something so tiny passing through the system could produce such pain. I hear horror stories of people who have endured pebble size stones and shudder at the thought.

I wonder if the doctors really have this ailment figured out. Is it possible that kidney stones are contagious? Just a few days ago one of our managers at work was describing the ordeal of one of our salesmen; and a couple of other people in our small church have been struck down in similar fashion. Is this a case of matter over mind??

I’ve got the routine down pretty good. You wake up at some totally inconvenient hour (like 3 AM) with an intense band of pain emanating from your right lower back area (surprisingly close to your kidneys!). You quickly reject the less serious options of muscle pull or your wife kicked you in her dream and face up to the inevitable = a trip to the emergency room is essential to get the strongest drugs they will provide. (At least this time I reacted quickly enough to avoid the extreme nausea and vomiting on the front lawn while trying to crawl into the car.)

You register with the check-in nurse and provide your expert self-diagnosis… only to have to wait for them to check it out with a Cat scan. Finally you get hooked up to the drug of choice or whatever you can lobby for. (This time they tried something more exotic… but when my heart rate plummeted and I complained of feeling my breathing passageway restricted… they initiated a flurry of activity to stabilize me – not very comforting for my wife.)

Eventually they are able to send you home with the necessary prescription so that you can wait for things to move along. This time I thought I had recovered and even slipped in a day of work before landing back on the sofa to endure stage two.

Kidney stones are actually a fairly good life lesson of the types of trials that come our way in the Christian life. You can’t come up with a very good explanation of their origin (OK, I will drink more water… but how much more can I drink??). They are certainly fleeting and arrive with the assurance that “This too will pass.” I don’t know why anyone would want to conduct more research on this grim topic, but as always there are plenty of sites on the internet dedicated to such info.