I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 171 - Kidney Stones

Daily Kup (of Water)
Isn't it a marketing coup that 'kidney' starts with a 'K'?

Yes, that was my third thought as the right side of my abdomen was skewered with a burning arrow yesterday morning. Looking around and seeing no crouching sniper responsible for the lateral jolt of cosmic awareness, I was confused and thought that perhaps everything would become clearer on my hands and knees in the upstairs hallway. Humm. No revelations. Perhaps rolling and clutching my side would be better. Nope. Two cats approach and sit a safe distance down the hallway. They look faintly annoyed, as though I'm infringing on their patent.

If you've never had a kidney stone, I'm sure it's easy to dismiss the wild claims that sufferers make of the level of pain as mere histrionics. If you think that way, I think you should get a kidney stone. In fact, I'd be glad to lend you mine. Keep it. I insist.

I woke up on Monday full of plans and ambition. That lasted until midmorning when I suddenly began to feel very odd. Within ten minutes, I was feeling distinctly uncomfortable with pain throughout my chest and abdomen. I remembered reading some article that said that all the public service announcements about heart attacks describe the symptoms that men have, not womens' symptoms. Like a true geek, I was on my way to my computer to query the symptoms of womens' heart attacks when the pain localized and the carpet became attractive.

In the midst of renal colic caused by having a rock stuck in a ureter to the same effect as having that fat kid stuck in the tube of molten chocolate in Willy Wonka, it was a relief to know that it wasn't a heart attack. The second thought had to do with being stuck all alone and not being able to drive myself to the hospital. The third thought was that K thing but that's not quite as vacuous as it sounds since there was a whole lot of muttered swearing between the second and third thoughts.

My other two kidney stones were on the left side and it's refreshing that calcium oxalate formations embrace both sides of the political spectrum.

Spoiler Alert: I live.

Where do kidney stones come from? The emotional answer: directly from hell. The medical answer is that lumps of mineral and acid salts sometimes form in the kidneys. There is a genetic predisposition for stone formation and once having a kidney stone increases your chances of having one again. The stones develop when the diet is too rich in some minerals or when not enough water is consumed or both.

There are no comfortable physical positions to resolve a kidney stone. In terms of the Great Lakes, the kidney stone starts out at the west end of Lake Superior. It really wants to get to the St. Lawrence River and be dumped into the Atlantic Ocean, but there are all those locks to negotiate. On the way to the sea, it wants to go completely out of its way to Chicago, then maybe to Detroit to hang out with friends, and then to Erie for a nightcap. Your job is to be the current so that it doesn't decide that Sault Ste Marie is lovely and why don't we just see if they have a room available for the weekend?

So, like the liquid chocolate building up behind the fat kid in the tube, there is a lot of pressure to dislodge the obstruction. If this is successful, the stone pretty much drops through and much of the problem is over. The acid environment of the bladder can eat away the rough edges so that the final set of locks, as it were, are not as painful.

While the body is trying to get the stone through a narrow tube, the muscles pulse as if they are rocking a car to get it loose from a snow drift. That's the part that really hurts and makes you take a close look at your carpeting. It can also cause sudden and energetic vomiting, so spending time on your non-porous flooring is recommended.

In dogs and cats, the same formations are called "bladder stones" -- I guess that's speciesism because we humans want our problems associated with a higher-level and more dignified sounding organ.

So what happened with my kidney stone? When you go to the hospital, they verify that there isn't so much blockage that they will have to operate, give you some strong drugs, hand you a plastic strainer to pee into when you get home and tell you how brave you are. It's not a sound investment for about $1000 in medical bills after insurance unless you really have an operable blockage. Which you will know because the pain doesn't stop after a few hours. They are long hours.

So I decided to skip the middleman. I called my husband and he told me how brave I was. Like almost everyone else in the world, I disobey strict doctor's orders and keep and repurpose medication so that was covered as well. (This blog does not officially condone this practice and would not recommend it for anyone. Bad, bad Khrome!) Finally, geology is not one of my hobbies so the strainer is of no interest. And after a few hours, there were no more ghastly pains.

I'm much better today despite the feeling that I'm a test tube and someone cleaned me with a bottle brush.

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