Sunday, January 23, 2011

Strangest Night of My Life: Health Care, a Kidney Stone, and more!

As mentioned, I went ice skating last Sunday with the little people, followed by skiing the next day. Only, I didn't really ski because I spent my time passed out in the lodge in lots of pain. The pain came and went in waves, until finally, on Thursday, I called my primary care physician.

Only, even though I am part of the insured elite with one of those really great federal health insurance plans, I couldn't get in. Apparently - and I did not know this - if you don't see your primary care physician at least once every three years, they dump you. Because I go to my midwife for all my well-women care, and I am rarely sick enough to require a doctor in my zip code, I don't go to a primary care doc. Instead, I call my brother-in-law's excellent diagnostic phone service. And here, I should mention, if my brother-in-law regrets becoming a doctor, it is totally my fault because I am always calling him for free medical advice. If he's not immediately available, my sister tells me what to do because being married to a doctor is just about the same as being a doctor - or at least she thinks so.

Anyway, on the advice of my brother-in-law, I went to the ER. And actually, I went to the Urgent Care clinic first because I felt guilty about going to the ER, even though my brother-in-law told me that my problems needed to be attended to in the hospital, not a clinic. (Apparently I don't always take his advice.) The urgent care clinic sent me to the ER. See how smart my brother-in-law is?

After arriving at the ER with book in hand and a full bottle of water, I settled in to start reading. It was, unfortunately for me, a busy night. I finally got seen by a doctor and after I spent a few minutes apologizing for being in the ER and explaining how I didn't have a primary care doctor, blah, blah, blah, the doctor spent a few minutes apologizing for my wait. Of course, I was all - hey - I'm a mom of two. I haven't sat and read a book cover to cover in years. This was the most relaxing night of my life.

Well, at least after they loaded me up with pain meds it was relaxing. About this time, Ed called me to tell me a stabber was loose in our neighborhood, so he was locking the door and I should be careful when I came home. Yes, he was totally calm about this. I had visions of being stabbed in my driveway looking for my keys because my jerk husband decided to lock the door so he could go to bed while I sat in the ER.

One CT scan later and with three prescriptions and a referral to a urologist in hand, I was released from the ER with the knowledge that I had a 7mm kidney stone. For the record, most people complain about a little 2mm or 3mm stone. So, mine is like the mother of all stones. The ER doc couldn't believe I'd made it so long before coming in, until I informed him I gave birth at home and had a pretty decent pain threshold.

I went to the 24 hour pharmacy, and my night got even weirder. On my mind, of course, is the knowledge that there is a stabber loose in my neighborhood. I pulled up to a very empty area of the pharmacy parking lot that was well lit and glanced around to see if there were any people between my car and the front door.

All Clear.

So I got out of my car and immediately, a guy called out to me - and he was on the passenger side of my car and here is where I about lost it completely. Because, uh, stabber? Hello? He told me a long story about his dad and a heart attack and Raleigh and I have to admit, I wasn't thinking that clearly, so I asked him if he was trying to get directions to North Carolina because I really am not good at directions.

No, no directions needed. He needed gas money. At this point he was within a few steps of me and it was so strange, and nothing added up, so I reached in my wallet, gave him $20 and figured he would leave me alone and I would live to tell the story. (Which I have, obviously.) Only, he then asked me who else I knew in the neighborhood that he could get money from and I looked at him and said "It's midnight, dude. People are sleeping." And he explained to me that he needed a tank and a half of gas and I actually stood there for a minute trying to figure out how many miles away Raleigh, North Carolina was and tried to then convert my $20 into gallons of gas, and then convert that into miles he could drive, to see how close he'd get, only I have no idea how far away North Carolina is, nor do I know how much gas costs because Ed's job is to fill the gas tank, not mine!

Anyway, the strange parking lot guy kept asking me for advice, and I was busy performing math in my head and finally I sputtered out  - "Why don't you get in your car and start driving?" and I high tailed it into the pharmacy, after assuring him that I was not going to give him my name and address because he really did not need to pay me back and if he felt he must, he should just donate the money to a needy organization.

Once inside the pharmacy, I replayed the conversation a few times, and it kept making less and less sense until finally I decided that he would be standing outside the pharmacy, ready to murder me and take my prescription drugs and money. And now, rather than being a helfpul gas-money giver, I was actually an ENABLER of some bad drug habit, which made me feel really guilty. So I thought about calling Ed and waking him up to ask him to come escort me the 15 feet from the front of the pharmacy to my car, only then another customer was leaving and I just pretended like we were best friends and tailed it out with her, but not before putting all but $5 in my front pocket and tucking my drugs safely away because I somehow convinced myself that maybe I would just get mugged instead of murdered, and this way it wouldn't be so costly.

I got to my car, drove the few blocks home, and then once again sat in the car and looked around for the on-the-loose stabber and cursed Ed because he actually turned the lights in the driveway off before he went to bed. The man leaves lights on all day long when he is not even in the house, but manages to turn them off after alerting me to the fact that a stabber is on the loose in my neighborhood. Go figure.

Somehow, I evaded capture, and tried to relate this all to Ed when I got home about how lucky he was that I was still alive, and by the way, I'm having surgery in a few days for the mother of all kidney stones, and the next morning? He remembered nothing.

Tomorrow is the big day that that little stone will be lasered out. Ed will actually bring me home this time, so I don't have to worry about strange encounters in the pharmacy parking lot and stabbers on the lam in my neighborhood.

And that's why I didn't post anything for homemade Friday this week. It shall return next week - and it might just be a picture of my kidney stone!



  1. Man, oh man, am I ever glad that I decided to click over before heading upstairs. It's tough - very tough to pick out my favorite funny part, but I laughed out loud at this line: "I wasn't thinking that clearly, so I asked him if he was trying to get directions to North Carolina because I really am not good at directions." Ha - I just started laughing again.

    Hope things go well on Monday - I'll be thinking of you.

  2. Doc in this house says you shouldn't be driving under the influence. Doc's wife says $20 is a small price to pay to not get murdered in a parking lot.

  3. Wait a minute, what's up with the stabber in your safe VA neighborhood!?!

  4. The North Carolina dude has been around for a long time I think. I see posts about him on MONA from time to time. Sometimes he goes door to door. Creepy.

  5. oh my gosh, so creepy! Hope everything went well with the stone removal and you're recovering nicely.

  6. Stay safe and well on the inside AND the outside, as it were.