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Wednesday
Jan252012

Kidney Stones

Men are absolutely TERRIBLE patients. A minor male cold will put considerable strain on the most stable of marriages. So if you happen to be in close proximity to a man who actually has something seriously wrong with him you have my UTMOST sympathy. Last week my husband had kidney stones. Yes I know it is very very painful but before it was even diagnosed (and we thought it was a common-or-garden backache) I knew I was in for a rough ride. Nursing is not my bag as I really don't like anything that is too needy; even houseplants annoy me because I don't want to feel obligated to water them every day. So when faced with my husband in extreme agony and wanting me to administer to his aches and pains I was ready to head for the hills. 

After the most hideous night of running up and down stairs every fifteen minutes to microwave heat packs and literally getting two hours sleep I was only too happy to decamp to the ER and let the professionals deal with the situation. Little did I know that the fun was only just beginning. This is what I have learned:

1. Don't even consider going to the emergency room unless you dial 911. The huge fee you will pay for the ambulance is well worth it to avoid the FOUR PLUS hour wait you will otherwise incur.

2. When you are finally called into Triage and asked what your pain level is (on a scale of one to ten) the answer is TEN! (or eleven.) Of course only a MAN who has kept his wife awake ALL night because his pain level is OFF the richter scale would then put on a brave face and answer "FIVE" thereby demoting himself to a class of non-urgent cases and a further two hour wait.

3. Once your case has been allocated to the bottom of the pile severe worsening of your symptoms including vomiting with blood will NOT elicit any sympathy from the medical staff or get you in front of a doctor any quicker which is why the ER waiting room is full of people writhing in agony and shouting at anyone who will listen.

4. If you have no medical insurance and are only in the ER to avoid paying a dentist to deal with your toothache then obviously you do know the system inside out and correctly answered 'ten' at the triage stage in which case you will be seen ahead of that poor bastard with (clearly undiagnosed) acute appendicitis.

Fast forward five days and thanks to the help of some powerful narcotics (which no doubt are highly addictive BUT WHO THE HELL CARES?) My husband is now fully recovered and back at work. He arrived at the office yesterday all clean-shaven and smiles, happy to tell his war story to everyone and I heard him announce  "Oh yes it was ABSOLUTELY awful, Kidney stones are more painful than labor!" 

WHAT? IS HE CRAZY? MORE PAINFUL THAN LABOR? I DON'T THINK SO. Only a man who will NEVER have to push out something the size of a BOWLING BALL through a very small hole would tell a room full of women (who have already done that SEVERAL times) that the pain of excreting something the size of a grain of rice through a slightly smaller hole was MUCH WORSE. I'm surprised he wasn't lynched on the spot but I guess allowances were made for the effect that the powerful narcotics have had on his brain. In addition women are such GOOD patients and rarely complain when sick or in pain, they save their energy for nurturing their men.



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