The day started off nice enough.  We were out of milk and bread, so Milly and I walked to the store to pick those up.  We also got a doughnut to split.  She was very fun and engaging throughout the morning.

The touble started around 12:15 on Tuesday.  I felt like I had to use the bathroom, but that was unsuccessful.  I was feeling some discomfort under my right rib, so I tried to stretch it out some on the guest room bed.  That didn’t work.  It started getting worse, so as I tried using the bathroom again I looked up sources of abdominal pain.  I figured it was either appendicitis or a kidney stone.  It was the latter, though I didn’t get confirmation of that until a little while later.

I was pretty upset about it.  I know diet plays a role, but one of the things they say is not to drink things like soda and sweet tea.  I never drink sweet tea and I rarely drink sodas.  In fact, I tend to have a glass of water with me to sip on at just about all times, as I use it as a substitute for small snack cravings.  So I drink plenty of water.

At any rate, I started thinking it was serious, so I called Amanda and told her I was having abdominal pain.  She was about to leave work anyway, or already had I suppose.  I told Milly I was having some trouble and she was very sweet trying to help me out.

By the time Amanda got home, maybe 12:30 or so, the pain had subsided a good bit.  We had talked about going to either the Wilmington Health clinic in Porter’s Neck or the Urgent Care on Military Cutoff.  Wilmington Health was cheaper, so I was going to do that.  I told Amanda I was feeling better but wanted to get it checked out anyway, but that I was fine to drive myself.  I was very low on gas, so I went to the Kangaroo up the road, put $5 and some change in and before I got back in the car I told myself, “Yeah, this ain’t gonna work.”  I called Amanda on the way back and we all loaded up in the Jetta then headed for the Urgent Care.  I can’t remember if we did that because it was closer or because we thought it might be more helpful.

By the time we were off I was in some pretty severe pain.  Amanda tried to hold my hand or stroke my head a little here and there, but I didn’t want to be touched.  Milly tried to cheer me up and encourage me.  I think that might have been the first time I ever said “shit” in front of her, but I doubt she heard me- anything I said came out in a pained whisper.

Of course we hit just about every stoplight on the way there and had to sit through two cycles at Gordon and Market.  I think I was out of the car before Amanda had come to a complete stop.  I started filling out the paperwork and noticed that my handwriting was terrible.  I handed the paperwork over to Amanda as soon as she and Milly got to the waiting room and proceeded to pace, lean against chairs, sit on the floor and go to the bathroom.

I threw up twice in the bathroom, which was down a hall.  I don’t know why they didn’t just let me into the one on the other side of the door inside the clinic, as I was very obviously distressed and in pain.  Using the bathroom, though hardly anything was coming out, was the only small relief I had.

I was pretty certain what it was by then, having read that the pain I was having, throwing up, feeling feverish and having blood in my urine (it was very dark) were all symptoms of kidney stones.  Anna, who came to pick up Milly, said she knew as soon as she saw me that that’s what it was, because the way I was standing against the wall was the same as how Barry had done it when he had one a year or two ago.

I don’t know how long it took, but I was finally called to the back where my blood pressure and temperature were taken.  They asked for a urine sample and I was able to eke one out.  I’m surprised they had enough to do anything with.  It didn’t matter anyway.  The doctor pressed around my stomach and was surprised I was tender to the touch, but did confirm that it was kidney stones but said there was nothing they could do there and sent me to the ER.

Great.  More waiting.

So Amanda drove me to Cape Fear Hospital, as it was much closer than New Hanover County.  I couldn’t sit straight, so I haunched over in the back seat, unable to get into a truly comfortable position.  Nothing worked for long, but I was mostly on my knees and elbows.  Throughout the whole thing, that was the best position for me, sometimes standing with my knees bent and elbows on a chair, sometimes on a floor, sometimes against a wall.

Amanda passed the hospital at first- it does just kind of appear out of nowhere, and dropped me off at the front.  Urgent Care called ahead for me, for all the good it did.  I don’t have any realistic concept of time from all that, but I think I was in the waiting room for at least an hour.  It took them a while to first check me out, then they moved me to the top of the list, but then it took more than 15 minutes to get me into an actual room.  I know because I asked the nurse if she had any idea how long it would take after I got checked out and she said 15 minutes, and Amanda later remarked that it had been more than 15 minutes.

Most of that time was spent haunching over a chair and going to the bathroom to relieve at least a little pressure on my bladder.  The most comfortable I felt was sitting on a toilet trying to relax enough to get out what drips I could.  I did throw up in there one more time, and twice I went to the ladies’ room because I HAD to go and the men’s room was occupado.

I did finally get in an ER room.  I got my blood pressure and temperature taken again, had my junk examined and the doc told me that it did indeed sound like kidney stones, but I was going to get a CT scan to confirm it.  Twice someone came by to take me in for the scan, but the doctor said I’d get some drugs before that just to make things easier on me.

It took them a while to get me the drugs, which were something for nausea, morphine and something else.  That morphine worked fast, and man did that make things nicer.  I went from extreme pain and discomfort to feeling a slight pressure on my belly.  Keep in mind, I never did any drugs and I’ve never been to the hospital for anything concerning myself.  When they hooked me up, that was even my first IV.  (I have good veins for it at least.)

After I got doped up I got a scan, which wasn’t any big deal.  The doctor came back and told me that I had two stones.  The one on the move came from my right kidney and was two millimeters.  The other was was three millimeters and was still sitting in my left kidney.  The doctor said it might stay there forever or it could move tomorrow.

We hung out in the hospital for a while after that.  Amanda had been texting friends and family and I sent one out myself, as well as posting this picture to Instagram and Facebook.  I got a good bit of activity on that.  I drifted in and out of consciousness.

We were finally given a prescription for Percocet and discharged.  I was able to walk out just fine.  When we got home I sat in the guest bed and caught up on email and such while Amanda went to get my prescription (as well as a separate one for herself).  Anna brought Milly home a little after 8:00.

I focused on drinking lots of water, took my first ever Percocet at 9 and watched some TV with Amanda.  After she went to bed I watched Crossbones, a show with John Malkovich as an aged Blackbeard who faked his death.

I was a little nervous about the Percocet, firstly because I have never had anything like that and wasn’t sure what kind of effect it would have on me and secondly because I was afraid it wouldn’t do as good a job as the morphine at keeping me pain free.  It did just fine though.  I set myself an alarm for the middle of the night and took another one then.

Milly Doc McStuffins Candy StoneAs soon as she woke up the next morning, Milly dressed up in her Doc McStuffins outfit and took care of it, giving me several cups of water, checking my heart (complete with sound effects) and taking my blood pressure.  The first thing she said to me though was, “Now show me where your candy stone is.”

I was supposed to take another pill at 9:00, but the pain started getting bad around 8, so I ate some cereal and took one after that.  The doctor said I could take an ibuprofen with it too, and last night I had only taken one so I upped that to two.

I got pretty sleepy, so I did a little work and sat in the guest bed while Milly mostly tended to herself.  I felt pretty good by the time Amanda got home, so I took my drugs, some fluids, some Jell-O and some cheese and crackers to the office to get some work done.  I did land a nice job I’m excited about.  I also met the new office neighbors, who were moved some office furniture out of there and into my office.  Both offices are owned by the same guy and the stuff had just been stored there.  I’m going to keep some of it, but other pieces I’m not too keen on keeping.

I didn’t take another Percocet until midnight.  I didn’t feel any pain, so I figured I might as well not use it if I don’t need it.  I was only feeling a little achey then, but I took it in order to keep it in my system and to make sure I didn’t wake up in pain in the middle of the night.  I didn’t take another one until about noon when I dropped Milly off at Amanda’s work.  They were going to go Father’s Day shopping and get some things for Milly’s impending birthday party.  I headed off to the office where the Percocet kicked in a bit more strongly than it before for a little while.

Amanda told me that Milly wanted to go ahead and give me my present.  She kept asking when I was getting home because she was so excited about it.  It was a ukelele, which I thought was an incredibly thoughtful gift.  Kevin had been playing one at Maggie’s party the other day, and he taught himself by looking at online videos.  I’ve always wanted to learn to play something, so I thought it was a very nice gift.

Nick Meyer texted me about that time to see how I was feeling, so I told him I was doing well (basically not in any pain right now, waiting to pee the little bastard out), so I asked if he had any spare tuners so I could tune the ukelele.  He said he did and he’d give it to me and help me learn it, too.

We watched Oz the Great and Powerful tonight, which I enjoyed well enough.  Milly liked it, but there were a number of parts she covered her eyes at.  I guess she can watch older kid movies, but she’s not fully comfortable with them yet.  It was over well after her bedtime, but she wanted me to have a sleepover with her.  She had me take off my glasses and put on my pajama pants and lay down with her.  I stayed until she fell asleep.

So that brings us to now.  I’m peeing every few minutes, but that’s because I’m drinking a lot of water.  My appetite came back today, but I’m trying to watch what I eat.  I feel fine, just a little ache on my right side, almost like I’d done too much of an ab workout.  I haven’t decided whether I’m going to take some drugs just to make sure I make it through the night or if I’m just going to see how I do through the night.  I might err on the side of caution, plus it would help me sleep more anyway.

Tomorrow, as part of her birthday present, Amanda and I are taking Milly to get her ears pierced.  She picked her fifth birthday (which is actually Saturday, but we thought she’d like to show them off at her party that morning) as the time to get them pierced some time ago and she’s pretty excited about it.

Zach Dotsey