“most grown men will tell you there is no worse pain”, well I’m a Lady & I know birth but I take your point

A trip down memory lane as I find myself in the ER tonight for a kidney stone attack (two today, actually – yikes!). Is there any phraseology I can use to describe the episodes that will make them sound more badass and/or EXTREME!? Anyway, it sure felt like that.

I had kidney stones at the tender age of sixteen in a brief but incredibly unpleasant chapter of my life. The first bout was the most terrifying as the pain was so excrutiating and sudden and I didn’t know what was wrong. I was taking a morning shower to get ready for school and within a few short minutes had staggered out into a towel and began throwing up and shouting for my dad’s help (my mom was off on a work trip). To my total surprise when he saw how much pain I was in he got very upset and ran upstairs to another bathroom to vomit as well (true story, and my dad was stoic as Fuck, so, whatever). Anyway, we got done with our family barf-o-rama and hit the emergency room where the admitting desk lady acted totally put out by my writhing and retching and asked icily who my insurance carrier was (I didn’t know; my father had dropped me off hastily and parked the car).

During tonight’s visit the staff were a lot more compassionate and there were a lot more personnel involved; by the end I’d been talked to and prodded and stuck and vital-sign’d by about six or seven people. Phoenix came with me and was about the most tender and funny and compassionate and wise companion, ever. We heard the sound of a crying infant next door and she said, “It makes my heart happy to hear a baby.” Later, after an RN got my IV started then left Phoenix leaned in towards me and whispered evenly, “He was flirting with you!” (Later she told Ralph her suppositions; he wistfully asked, “Did Mama flirt back?” and Phoenix said No [true]).

But perhaps my favorite moment was when this same RN and a PA spied what she was doing in her sketchbook and stopped their actions to watch her draw. “Is she drawing that freehand?” the RN asked the PA disbelievingly. The two moved closer to my daughter, one of them absentmindedly wrapping up tubing, and flatly asked to see more of the pages she’d been working on (the Gila Monster Dragon and the Mutant Spider were my personal favorites). “I am just really impressed,” the PA said, more than once. It almost got awkward for me because praise makes me a bit uncomfortable. Fortunately, I remembered quickly that their praise had shit-all to do with me, and Phoenix took it with total aplomb (of course). She looked up with her level tiger-eyes and said, “Thank you,” and returned to her work.

During the course of almost three hours I received an IV (ouch!), tons of saline, an anti-inflammatory, Flomax, and (money-shot!) Percocet. It was the Percocet (or something like) I was after; I felt blatant terror at the thought of making it through the weekend on the however many thousands mg acetomenaphin I have at my disposal.

Hopefully with tons of fluids and a heatpad and painkillers for a few days as-needed and these episodes won’t repeat. The pain was horrible enough but the hours of incapacitation were a grim reminder of just how much we often take for granted.

Oh, and I got home and Nels and Ralph were very tender, and the cats didn’t seem to give a shit at all.

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