I was thinking this morning of what’s going on in my life lately. The daughter has been sneaking food again. We are very close to trying some medication for her. I ran my car through a car wash, which didn’t even touch the accumulated pollen in the cracks and crevices. The wife’s cell phone is screwed up, such that she can hear callers dimly if at all. She has been in denial about this, convinced that we have all been mumbling, and just need to speak up a bit. This has resulted in (and I’m not making this up) my standing on streetcorners, in my office, and in grocery stores screaming into my cell phone “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW??”. And we don’t use Verizon.
But really nothing entertaining has been happening. Nothing I felt motivated to write about. Nothing dramatic. Nothing funny.
So then I made my big mistake. I thought to myself, “Gosh, I wish I had something to blog about.”
And the Universe grinned an evil grin.
And my phone rang. It was the wife, and she sounded funny. “I can’t stop retching.” she said. “It almost feels like something’s blocked in my intestines. I don’t have anything left to throw up, and I keep on heaving.” Well, says I, it sounds like you need to go to the emergency room, or at least urgent care. I will be home as soon as I can.
So, I shut down the computer that I had just booted up, ran to the garage I had just left, and climbed in the car I had just driven to work. My phone rang again. It was the wife, who had gotten a ride to the hospital, and was going to meet me at the emergency room.
I actually beat her there by about five minutes. As an aside, I should point out that here in the Portland area, we’ve had an outbreak of norovirus. It’s been rampaging through nursing homes. This is why, as soon as the hospital personnel heard that my wife had been vomiting, they told her to seal shut the bag she had been using, issued her a clean bag, and the evaluating nurse ducked and returned in a few minutes wearing a surgical mask and rubber gloves. “I’ve managed to avoid norovirus so far.” she said.
The only thing that could have been less reassuring was if she had returned with a self-contained air supply, or some kind of remote manipulator.
After an initial evaluation, the wife was wheeled into a room and laid out on a bed. A needle was stuck in her arm, and four or five vials of blood were taken. She was asked for a urine sample, which earned the questioner an incredulous look, but she gamely shuffled off to the restroom to fill a vial.
After she had returned, we were left alone for a while, and the color began to come back to her cheeks. She started talking more coherently. “Well, I’m feeling much better.” she said. This was the cue for the nurses to arrive with a liter of normal saline, a potent narcotic, and antinausea medication. They strongly urged her to let them give her the meds, so she did.
So much for coherent speech. The effect of the painkiller was very nearly immediate, and if you will forgive me for using a technical term, she became what doctors refer to as ‘loopy’. We were then left alone for several long stretches. I played “Animal Crossing” on my Nintendo DS. We both napped. An emergency room physician came in, asked some questions, and decided the symptoms were consistent with kidney stones. He wanted to do a CT scan to confirm the diagnosis.
Ah. Kidney stones. This was not my wife’s first brush with kidney stones. The last time this happened, we had been in a Costco in Eugene, with two very small children, when my wife suddenly grew so nauseated she couldn’t leave the ladies room. This was sounding very familiar.
Sure enough, it turns out she has several stones, including one apparently poised on the lip of the duct leading to the bladder, like a shy diver peering over the edge of the high platform. After a total of over four hours, I left the emergency room with two prescriptions, a fine sieve my wife should use to strain her urine, and a largely noncommunicative spouse.
I spent most of the rest of the day trying to get prescriptions filled and purchasing birthday presents for my son. Did I mention this was his seventh birthday? This was NOT how we imagined his birthday would be going.
I should point out that while a kidney stone would be inconvenient at any time, it is especially so right now. The wife was supposed to help take her troop of Girl Scouts on a camping trip this weekend. A camping trip that was the most primitive to date. Let’s just say that pit toilets will be playing a prominant role in the experience.
I suspect that if she has not passed her stone by Friday, she will not be heading out into the woods with her urine sieve, her painkillers, and her anti-nausea suppositories (don’t keep them in the fridge!) stuffed into her backpack. No, I daresay she will be waving goodbye to the troop, including our daughter, and staying right here where hygiene, convenience, and modern medicine are close to hand.
We are both trying not to think about the last time she went through this, which culminated with her undergoing surgery to remove the stone.
So, the next time you need some excitement in your life, just repeat these words: “Gosh, I wish I had something to blog about.”