I have recently had my eyes opened to an entirely new, and unpleasant, arena of life. It’s like I’ve been able to glimpse into another dimension, where the only occupant is pain. Pain like I didn’t know existed. Think I’m sounding dramatic? Ha, you have no idea! I’m sugar-coating this for you. I’ve just had my first experience with kidney stones.
Before we go any further with this subject though, I think we first need to just take a moment to briefly acknowledge that whatever medical professional coined the term “kidney stone” was an idiot. To say that I have been “passing a kidney stone” is like calling a volcanic eruption an incident of “hot ground,” or referring to a tornado as a “twirly breeze.” All I know is, whatever bozo named kidney stones never had them, otherwise, they would be called something more fitting like, “rocks of living death,” or “torture stones.”
For the sake those who aren’t familiar with the specific details of what a kidney stone actually is, I’ll quote from one of my medical handbooks to bring you up to speed: “Passing a kidney stone is pretty much the worst thing that can ever happen to anyone, ever. It is an experience generally likened to having a small, aggressive sea urchin forced through one’s urinary tract at a slow and horrendously painful rate. Keep in mind that the urinary tract is expressly equipped for transporting urine, not sea urchins.”
So there I was, minding my own business, in the middle of our swampy jungle, dozing off to sleep after a busy day of trying to learn the Iski language, when I suddenly became aware that something in my abdomen was starting to try to destroy everything else in my abdomen. It was the kind of pain that I would have expected to feel if a parasitic alien creature was about to come bursting through the outer wall of my belly. It was, and I am not exaggerating here, the most intense pain I have ever experienced in my entire life.
We telephoned our mission doctor to let him know that I was dying, and he was able to offer us a more accurate diagnosis of a kidney stone and comfort us with the comment, “Many women who have experienced both have said that kidney stones are actually more painful than childbirth.” Well, that was a happy thought. Instead of going to sleep, I was going to spend the night giving birth to a demon pebble. Of course, that was naïve of me to think. I’ve actually been spending the last WEEK trying to get this sadistic little mineral deposit out of my system.
Kidney stones are truly in a league of their own on the pain index. You know those pain charts that they sometimes have in hospital rooms to help people put a number to their pain level?
Well, none of the pain faces that I’ve seen do justice to what I’ve been feeling lately. Kidney stones should get their own special face poster. It should be red-faced, clenching its teeth, and crying. And instead of having a number, it should just say, “Aaaaagh!” in big, bold letters.
When the spasms start, it’s like I am on an elevator, rising up through the different levels of discomfort and pain. Surprisingly, “The Most Pain I Can Possibly Bear” level isn’t the top floor on this ride. It turns out that there are several bonus levels above that one titled “Vomit-Inducing Pain” and “Pain Beyond Compare.” That last one is a doozy. When I’m stuck there, it feels like someone has stabbed my kidney with a knife and is wiggling it constantly. Usually, my conscious abilities at this stage are limited to moaning variations of “Aah!” and “Ooh!” and sometimes whimpering pathetically. My current record on the “Pain Beyond Compare” level is 7 ½ hours. That was a seriously un-fun night.
Originally, I was hoping to be able to deal with this problem out in the bush, but it was turning more and more into a losing battle. It’s hard not to start getting a little twitchy when you are being randomly incapacitated by pain throughout the day and night. Finally, yesterday, we ended up flying out to our mission’s medical clinic to see if they could help me get it out. Of course, since arriving out here, the stone has been uncharacteristically quiet and shy, so we are still trying to figure out exactly how to deal with it.
It’s sounding like if I can’t get it flushed out here at the mission center in the next couple of days, I might end up needing to fly down to Australia to get it removed there (as there are no facilities here in PNG that can handle that type of procedure). Obviously, it would be a lot more convenient to avoid an international medical trip, so as the Lord lays it on your heart, would you mind saying a little prayer or two for our situation here? Thanks.