Kidney Stone II The Rest of the Story

        After I left the urologist, I have a vague recollection that my wife stopped by Reveco by the River to pick up a script for me.  After that my memory gets a bit muddy.

        I do recall she gave me the medicine and a big glass of water, and cooked up what we call a “comfort egg” – a poached egg wrapped with bacon and sprinkled with some kinda secret spice she uses.  The heck with cholesterol, I was all about comfort at the moment.  I’m telling ‘ya, women know how to make the worst situations more tolerable.

        My Marie was home from college at the time, and she knew something was amiss, ’cause she never saw me home in the middle of a week-day watching television.  She was quite amused to watch the old man toss popcorn and see if he could snare it mid-air while laughing at old Three Stooges re-runs.  I’m not much of a silly kind of guy, but on that day I found the show hilarious.

        “Dad, it’s not that funny,” Marie said.  It seemed to me she thought it was pretty funny, though.  I am hazy on the events, but I recall she was laughing too.

        I believe docs should not practice medicine while under the influence, and Doc Gosnell’s prescription pills confirmed my opinion, at least from what I can remember.          

        Later that afternoon I felt better, but Marie and Marfar vetoed a round of golf.  I went back to work the next day, but forgot and left the strainer at home.  When the  porcelain pinged, I found some gloves and  fished that fiendish rock out of the water.  It was tiny- I’ve always heard the smaller the stone, the worse the pain.  Now I was a believer. 

        I didn’t want to let it whup me, so I sent the little devil to the lab.  It turned out it was a garden variety calcium stone, so all I could do is drink more water, and I did so for about three months.   Since then I’ve reverted to my favorite Co-Colas, coffee and sweet tea.  (Noncompliance!  I hope my urologist doesn’t read this.)

        I remember a surgeon with sudden stone colic who had to cancel his day.  “I can’t believe this.  I’m a doctor, I’ve got stuff to do,”  he said.

        His nurse replied, “Well, Dr. Parker, you’re only human.”

        “Well, I wasn’t until today.”

        A stone will remind you of the fact you are human pretty quick.  After mine, I dialed up several of my kidney stone patients to apologize for my insufficient empathy when I treated them.  I cared, just not enough.  After my stone, I corrected that deficiency.

        So much for stones.  I don’t want to leave the topic of acute illness without discussing the variations of chest pain and all the nuances.  (That’s French there for all y’all who think I’m just a country doctor. You are right- I am.)  I’ll be back Saturday morning for that. 

        In the meantime, should you get acute chest pain, don’t wait on the post- go straight to the ER.  Not many other symptoms will get a doc’s attention more than chest discomfort, and I do not want anyone to wait around to see what I have to say.  (Remember the Groopman hypothesis.)  

-Dr. B

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6 Comments on “Kidney Stone II The Rest of the Story”

  1. pandemonic Says:

    Thanks for the head’s up. I’ll remember that if I ever get those symptoms.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Sure enough, and I hope you don’t run into one. Those old stones are a beast.
    Chest discomfort can be hard to figure, and in women, heart trouble does not always present classically. Wil get into that topic before this series is over. Dr. B

  3. mrschili Says:

    The fact that you called up your patients to apologize for what you saw as a lack of empathy on your part speaks VOLUMES to the kind of person you are. Would that all doctors (or teachers, or police officers, or ….) had that sense of compassion.

    I’ve been suffering for the last three or four days with debilitating back pain. Every couple of years, I do something stupid (sometimes, that stupid thing is, you know, making my bed. Or flipping a light switch…) and I’m completely useless for days. No position is comfortable, I can’t stand up straight, and FORGET about the stairs. I’m constantly frustrated by the fact that my health care professionals don’t seem to GET it. Or, if they do, they don’t care.

    Look, I’m a pretty self-sufficient woman. I do a lot over the course of my everyday life, and when I suddenly have to stop – EVERYTHING – it’s devastating. The frustration of not being able to get myself to a seated position, NEVER MIND not being able to fold that basket of laundry – is almost as bad as the actual pain. A pat on the shoulder and an “I know it’s hard, but you’ve gotta rest if you expect to heal” would be a welcomed thing.

    Luckily, I get that from my husband, but a little more compassion from my docs wouldn’t go amiss….

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Hey mrschili,

    I’m off today- was way too cold to play golf. Glad I was home- got some grammar tips off your site today.

    Back pain can be a beast. Assuming it is not surgical (they usually aren’t) if your doc can’t get you squared away, you might try one of these ortho guys who specializes in backs only. We have one in the first big town close to home. I send him cases I can’t get fixed up. He helped my mom, which got my attention and appreciation. My first choice of specialist is often to the docs who don’t even operate. (unless the patient has urgent warning signs like loss of bowel or bladder control or acute weakness.) They are often tuned in to the little nuances regular docs like me might let get by them if not careful.

    Also be sure you’ve had a good physical and it is nothing systemic. (ie something else wrong in the body that manifests itself as back pain- my guess is this is not the case, but no way to know for sure over the Net.)

    If you are like my wife you might do too much for too many too often, so do rest some. When my wife broke her foot I found out just exactly how much she was doing!

    Good luck. Back trouble is bad, but sometimes those kinds of docs I mentioned above have helped my folks.

    And keep on teaching with compassion. We all have something to learn including old docs who need grammar lessons.

    Dr. B

  5. Parson Bob Says:

    Like mrschili, what’s impressed me most about your kidney stone story is the empathy you had with your patients who had the same experience. Maybe this is one of the defining characteristics of a “country doc”, and I can only wish other docs, country or city, did the same.

    Strangely enough (or, perhaps, not so strange) is the general absence of such empathy among so many in my profession. They’re “working” at “jobs” on a 9-5 basis, and become so busy meeting other peoples’ expectations that the tail wags the dog.

    Hmmmm. I think I’m working up to this week’s blog! But I’ll never be confused with a “country parson”!

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Parson,
    Y’all are very kind. I am been lucky, and healthy, most of my life. I try to remember no matter how bad a day I’m having, I ain’t as bad off as the poor bloke who is sick.
    I reckon a man has to be sick every so often to appreciate being well, and to not forget what his people are going through.
    And, maybe you are a country Parson, or a city one, but you can pray for me any time, brother. I need all the help I can get in this old world.

    Dr. B


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