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Posted on Oct 18, 2011 in Dear Diary, Fail | 37 comments

Kidney vs. Stone: Round 2

Oh hey! Remember when this happened? Well, apparently life decided that one kidney stone epidemic in 11 months was simply not enough. Enter the excruciating pain that began Sunday on the drive back from the wedding and, despite all my best efforts, would not quit.

At first I thought the pain was simply due to gas (you’re welcome for that) but after waking up in the middle of the night desperately clutching my abdomen I figured something was slightly more amiss. Unlike last time, I didn’t go to the ER this time around. Therefore, I can’t be 100% certain that it’s a kidney stone (er, not that the hospital was actually able to make a timely diagnosis last time anyway. Awkward.) But what I do know is that it’s in the same spot and it’s the same kind of pain (though, blessedly, slightly less severe than last time) so I think I can pretty safely assume. Unfortunately, armed with the knowledge from my last unfortunate experience, I know that there’s really nothing to do but wait to pass it.

It’s hard to describe kidney stone pain. Its severity ebbs and flows, comes and goes in intensity. But at its worst, I would say it kind of feels like a small, serrated knife is slowly slicing through the walls of your gut. You’re extra welcome for that imagery. Having a kidney stone is often compared to childbirth (though I obviously wouldn’t know on a personal level) and is legitimately the most excruciating thing I have ever experienced. Needless to say, it’s a pain (har har… ow, laughing hurts.)

So yesterday I spent an awful lot of time laying prostrate on the bed, streaming episode after episode of The Vampire Diaries on Netflix:


While dressed in my super flattering PJs:

God, I’m cool.

Alternating between these two faces:


With these thoroughly unsympathetic mongrels by my side:


Harry even had the audacity to roll around in what I have to assume was poop while out in the backyard. Let me tell you: trying to wash a dog when you have kidney stones?

I feel conflicted, because as much as I was hoping the stone would have passed by now and I’d be off scott-free, I’m kind of relieved I haven’t yet. I know that sounds crazy, but you know the saying, “it gets worse before it gets better”? Or how about, “it is always darkest before the dawn”? Well, they especially apply to kidney stones. As bad as it hurts right now, I vividly remember the extraordinary pain that came right before passing the stone, and I am NOT anxious to relive it.

Pity me. Pity me good.

But either way, I know it’s inevitable. So until then… I’m trying to manage the pain as best I can with the over-the-counter drugs in my medicine cabinet, and taking in as much fluid as possible. I have a doctor’s appointment later this morning, and while I know there’s nothing that he can really DO, I’m hoping that he might have some insight as to WHY this is happening. Again. I mean, this is really putting a literal cramp in my race training as well as my PTO balance.

Ever had to deal with kid-nay stooooones of your own? If not, you are a lucky, lucky son of a gun. If so, pray tell. Misery loves company, after all.


  1. OUCH, I have not had a kidney stone..but my sister had one a couple of years ago – we honestly thought it was her appendix at first and went to two urgent care clinics…what kind of urgent care clinic is CLOSED on Saturday afternoon?!? I’ve never seen her in so much pain!

    take care!

  2. I’ve had kidney stones several times, and I couldn’t pass them… I had to have surgery. Twice. I feel your pain!! Good luck!

  3. I had an appendix stone a couple years ago. Yep, an appendix stone. The doctors at the ER had never heard of it. Only one nurse had heard of it, but had no experience treating. They just said let it pass and gave me a… morphene?… IV for an hour which brought the pain from a 12 down to a solid 10. Awful.

    Luckily I was already home so my mom could take me to the hospital: I was on a flight back from San Fran a few hours earlier. And luckily it doesn’t pass through your… ya know… but through your… intestines.

    They sent me away, still in excruciating pain, with a prescription for superstrong tylenol with codeine and cocaine (probably). After we picked up the prescription I popped one, laid down, and within an hour it was gone. Much better than the “up to 24 hours” they quoted me.

    Anyway, long story short, does anyone want a bottle minus one pill of tylenol? Hah.

    • I may be taking you up on that.

  4. I’m so sorry, that sounds awful. I hope you feel better soon!!

  5. I’ve had kidney stones before. The doctor discovered them by accident actually when I was having an ultrasound for other abdominal pains. “It shouldn’t be an issue unless it decides to move.” A week later…it decided to move. EXCRUCIATING. I had two episodes where it moved/tried to pass. It was just big enough to cause a lot of pain, but just small enough that I didn’t need to have surgery. I guess eventually it passed because I haven’t had any pains like it since.

    I live in the “Stone Belt,” because it’s so hot and humid in this area (North Carolina), and the doctor said I wasn’t drinking enough water. Anyway, oddly enough, the one thing that seemed to help me during the spells was…watching “Xena: Warrior Princess”! haha It always happened to be on when I’d be in bed, dying with kidney stones, and the pain would eventually ebb away as I watched. Xena’s pretty amazing.

    • Hahahaha, must be something about watching her go through so much badassery that made you want to man up! πŸ˜€

  6. Yikes, awful! I’ve never had one… but went through a brief period this spring where I *thought* I might have. Had a CT scan, and didn’t.

    Hope it gets better!! πŸ™‚


    • Ugh, don’t talk to me about CT scans. Last time, they thought I had an ovarian cyst that burst or something, so they had me take a CT scan with that DISGUSTING barium smoothie thing for “contrast.” Well, turns out for a kidney stone, they can’t see if it you drink that stuff, so not only did I have to get ANOTHER CT scan (y’know, ’cause I’m just made of money, haha), but I went through 24-hours of nonstop vomiting because of the barium drink. Ugh, seriously, just thinking about is making me want to hurl…

    • Supposedly the most common factor is not drinking enough water, but according to Wikipedia there can be other dietary factors too. Something I’ll definitely be asking my doctor at my appt coming up…

      • Do you take calcium supplements? I read somewhere that it can be a cause for kidney stones. It worried me severely since I take calcium supplements, but at the very firm recommendation of my doctor for something specific.

        Otherwise, I read that ingesting high amounts of calcium in your diet (the non supplement kind) can protect against developing kidney stones. It has something to do with calcium binding itself to something called oxalate (I had to look that up, I couldn’t remember). How oxalate works exactly, I don’t know. All I know is that it has something to do with urine.

        And this is why I am not a doctor!

  7. sorry ive never had one, but I hope it passes soon!

  8. I’ve thankfully never had one…. but one of my students had one last year and he was pretty miserable. It seems that drinking a lot of water was all he could do to expedite the process. Happy water drinking! Hope you feel better sooner, than later.

  9. hope u get well soon! sounds nasty!

  10. Running releases endorphins, the body’s natural heroin πŸ˜‰

    But seriously, drink a ton of water and pop Advil (or an other NSAID) like candy and also keep something in your stomach cuz NSAIDs in high doses can be harsh on your stomach.

  11. Oh no!! I’ve had kidney stones too- they are the worst! I also have never experienced pain like that before!! Here’s hoping you feel better soon!

  12. Gretch! Had no idea! Didn’t see you at work and thought you just enjoyed the wedding too much. Ouch, ouch, ouch!!!!!!!

  13. Oh, I can relate. I had recurring kidney stones (maybe five episodes?) throughout my late childhood and adolescence. The pain is awful and I think very comparable to childbirth (which actually wasn’t as bad since I had an epidural).

    Two things:
    1. It’s good that you are seeing a doctor, because as Krissta says they can get stuck and require surgery to remove (this happened to me too).
    2. I haven’t had a kidney stone since I was 19. There is no way to know why, but I think it might be related to diet. I was extremely picky until about that age, and my stones were calcium oxalate. When I was given a list of foods/beverages containing oxalate, basically my entire diet was on the list. Once I broadened my diet, I stopped having stones (I am now 32). Of course this is only anecdotal, but it might be worth it for you to examine what you eat and drink, and investigate any changes that might make a difference (especially if you keep getting them).

  14. SOOO sorry. I’ve had plenty of other kinds of pain — the kind that’s bad enough to make you pass out — so I can certainly relate. Take care of yourself!

  15. Oh, you poor thing! Additionallyβ€”I always ALWAYS think of that scene from friends whenever someone mentions kidney stones πŸ™‚

  16. I personally have never had one, but my best friend gets them. I am so sorry you are hurting! I hope you feel better soon.

  17. I hope you get to feeling better soon Gretchen. That really does sound awful. I’ll say a little prayer for ya!

  18. I’ve never had a kidney stone buy my cousin has chronic kidney stones. She doesn’t look comfortable when they crop up.

  19. bah humbug (getting into the holiday spirit early) feel better friend!

  20. Oof. I haven’t had kidney stones, but I feel you on the ridiculous pain with no apparent reason part, having experienced gallbladder… well, I guess I’ll use the doctor’s word: failure. Usually gallbladder attacks are fatty-meal induced, but mine followed no normal triggers, and I could just get hit with the pain out of nowhere (I was also the freak who had an attack AFTER MY GALLBLADDER WAS OUT because they forgot to take the stent they put in the duct out and my body decided to pass it. While I was driving to a job interview.).

    I’m sorry it hurts, and the mongrels are unsympathetic. My cats are unsympathetic, too. I’m sitting here with jelly legs of doom from walking around Epcot like 15 million times yesterday (Ok, like 3 times) and then doing my 30 minutes of running today, and they’re just looking at me like my pain is no big deal. Buttfaces.

    • Oh these stinkin’ animals. πŸ˜‰

  21. WHOA!! I just took my husband to the ER Friday night for a kidney stone!! Weird how you mentioned it happening to you on Sunday. That was his first experience with kidney stones. He felt a dull pain in the afternoon & thought it was just his back (he gets a lot of muscle aches, especially in his back). When I came home from Zumba, he was laying on the couch trying to stretch out. He just looked really uncomfortable & asked me to massage his back. I looked on my iTriage app for possibilities of the pain & came up with kidney stones. The spasms became SOOOOO great that I took him to the ER. He was put on two different kinds of pain meds, which took a seriously LONG time to work. They did a scan & found a 2mm stone. To date, he doesn’t think he’s passed it. He’s only seen a couple “crumbs” in the pee-pee screen. He said it’s the WORST pain he’s EVER had!!

    • Well let him know he isn’t alone!

  22. Blah, just blah. Now I am paranoid I am going to get one too πŸ™

    • Haha well luckily I don’t think they’re contagious πŸ˜‰

  23. Hope you’re feeling better! One of my girlfriends gets kidney stones frequently and says they are the most painful experience πŸ™

    I’ve been home [yesterday and today] with a virus and I’m getting restless sitting in front of the TV… Hoping for better weather today so I can at least go for a walk!

  24. I hope you’re feeling better now Gretchen. My heart went out to you when I first read this but even more so since last night I had my first experience with kidney stone pain. I have never felt anything so excrutiating. It’s almost indescribable! I really really hope it has passed for you and you are back to your usual self.

    • Oh no! I am SO sorry that you are having to deal with the same! I’m definitely back to 100% now, and I hope that yours passes quickly. πŸ™ Hang in there!!


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