Women with children, I feel your pain.
My labor pains began while I was taking a nap. What a cruel trick mother nature played, interrupting my slumber this way. My right side suddenly began to burn like a gasoline fire. Damn last night’s chili! was my first thought.
But it got worse. Worse than any of the napalm bombs I’ve ever spooned out of my wife’s cast-iron dutch oven. Within forty-five minutes my wife was rushing me to the Emergency Room.
By the time we got there I couldn’t walk. I was assisted into a wheelchair, then trundled directly to intake. The lady running the joint began the paperwork.
“What is your name?” she asked.
“OOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!” I replied.
“Sir, don’t yell at me!”
I heaved up my lunch into a blue plastic vomit bag an orderly gave me, and then tried to explain to her that I wasn’t yelling. This was how I normally talk when my guts are exploding. But all that came out was, “OOOOHHHHHHH! NOOOOOOOOOOOT YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLL! OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH!”
She became curt with me. “Sir, I have to know your name, and I don’t appreciate being yelled at!”
Thank goodness my wife was there. She interjected and provided all the necessary info. Otherwise I may never have gotten past this officious gatekeeper.
This little interaction left me worried that the fine folks at ER had no interest in my well-being, but instead were completely focused upon rules of etiquette and record-keeping. And that just made the pain all the more worse.
Finally this bureaucrat wheeled me into the area where all the patients were ensconced. Meanwhile, the fire inside my guts burned higher and higher, and my OOOOOHHHH’s changed to “OOOOOHHHHHHH SHIIIIIITTTTT! FUUUUUCKKKKKINNNG SHHHHIIIIIT! OOOHHHH GOOOOOODAAAAAMNIT!”
“Sir, stop swearing. There are children around here.” the lady instructed me.
“FUUUUCKKK!” I replied. “GOOOODAMMMMNN MUUTHHHERRRFUCCCCCKKKKER!”
Another office lady joined her. “Sir, if you don’t stop swearing, I’m going to have to call security,” she sternly warned me.
I wondered what the hell the security guard was going to do, toss me out of the hospital? Handcuff me?
“OOOOOHHHHHH FUUUUCKKKK, ARREST ME!” I yelled.
The niminy piminy ladies gave up and handed me over to the custody of a male nurse. In between my groans and whimpers I managed to ask if I had been brought to a church or a hospital.
He was very sympathetic and understanding. He carefully helped me into the bed, and gave me the reassurance that my health and well-being was truly a concern in this facility.
After this I was able to relax into a delirium of loud screaming, groaning, and an occasional curse word, fueled by the fiery pain in my side.
At this point, I thought that I either had a bowel obstruction or a ruptured appendix.
An IV was started, and after what seemed like 15 lifetimes, but was actually more like 15 minutes, pain medication began to take effect. My screams decreased slightly in volume. The analgesic really wasn’t that effective. But it did help a little.
Then the very nice, kind, compassionate male nurse, injected a much more powerful painkiller into the IV. It must have been a horse tranquilizer. Within minutes my screams softened, to a more intelligible huffing and puffing and light whimpering. And I was actually able to lie still. That’s when Scott came along.
Scott was another nice, kind, compassionate healthcare worker. He wheeled me into a dark room with a monstrous-sized machine and gently CT scanned my abdomen.
Within a few minutes after the CT scan, the breech baby in my belly must have turned. I suddenly felt a wave of relief, and within minutes the raging inferno inside subsided to low-glowing embers.
It was over. Thank God it was over.
I had to wait around a while for a diagnosis. My wife said she thought it was a kidney stone. I told her she was crazy. No, I advised her that this was a bowel obstruction. That’s exactly what it felt like. Like a bowel obstruction that suddenly came loose, allowing relief. But she stood her ground. And I stood my ground.
Then the doctor came by and told us it was a kidney stone. Well hell.
But at least that mutherfucker had passed. I was happy. Now I could go home, relax, and get some sleep. My pain was a fast-fading memory. A story to recount to bored house guests. An aberration. A small bump in my history of relative good health.
Until the next morning, when my baby from hell returned.
Another trip to the ER. More agony, wailing, and screaming. But at least this time we knew the cause of the pain. It was yet another kidney stone, for crying out loud. And maybe now that the cause was known, they could go inside there right away, with some sort of pickax, and mine the offending boulder out of my belly.
That’s when I received the sad news. The doctor told me it was NOT another kidney stone. She identified it as the same culprit from the previous night. She said that this rock was on a long journey that had only just begun. A journey that begins at the kidney, goes down a very long, narrow tube, and ends in the bladder. A journey of a thousand miles, that begins with the first scream. She calmly advised me that I could expect intermittent periods of agony and relief for many more hours or even days, while this peregrination was taking place, and that there was nothing she nor anyone else on the ER staff could do about it. Except prescribe pain killers.
I was discharged from the ER and left to fend for myself.
And that’s the terrible truth about kidney stones.
I’ve done some internet research and discovered a few more truths. I’ve read that the pain from passing one of these can be more intense than medical conditions such as childbirth, gunshot wounds, and heart attacks. And if a stone is greater than 5mm it can obstruct urine flow and destroy a kidney. But I say, with pain that intense, who the hell needs kidneys anyway? Let those bean-shaped organs die!
Mine was only 2mm. That’s the thickness of a nickel. A very small stone. I guess you can say I gave birth to a preemie.
So mothers, I feel your pain. I know what you’ve gone through. I’m a man whose given birth. And I hope I’ll never have to go through this experience again.
Now if there was just some way I could have my tubes tied.