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At this point, we were only married about 6 months. So, when she said two simple words, "kidney stone", I chalked it up to her assuming the worst and over the next few hours, the pain subsided enough that I could go back to sleep. I couldn't help thinking that while I was sitting on the toilet, I never did shit and I would have remembered being kicked in the balls. When I woke up the next morning, I felt fine. So, being the typical male, I went on with my life. And life was great for the next five years.
Then, in 1997, this strange pain from my past came back. This time it was even more intense. It was in the same place... the lower left side. Again my wife said "kidney stone" without even looking up from her Anne Rice novel. Not that my wife is a cold person. Far from it. It takes a very caring person to do what she does day in and day out. She simply knows me. She knows that I will not see a doctor unless I am convinced that I will die otherwise. When I was a kid, I saw my dad who was hammering up some paneling, drive a nail through his hand. Instead of going to the doctor, he grabbed the nail in his teeth and pulled it out.
I also saw my brother, who once had a kidney stone hanging half in and half out of his penis for four days, remove it with a pair of needle nose pliers instead of going to the doctor. You see, the "stupid male gene" runs in my family. And I wasn't about to be the pussy that gave in so easily.
This time, however, the pain was not going away in a couple of hours like it did five years before. So, I marched into the living room and said, "I don't know, babe. Maybe I should see somebody." To which she replied, "No shit?" God, I love her. The next day, she came home from work with the phone number of a urologist. My wife said, "He is considered one of the best in the field. Other urologists, go to him when they have problems." I wasn't even convinced that I had a stone, but agreed to call for an appointment. I also called my brother. I described the pain and he said, "Dude, you're fucked. Let me tell mom". Mom is a nurse too. They both told me to let them know what the doctor said. My brother offered to let me borrow his needle nose pliers. Logic won and I decided to visit the urologist.
I arrived for my appointment complete with attitude. After signing in and waiting for about five minutes, my flight response kicked in. My wife said, "Now you know why I came with you. Sit the fuck down." They called me in and I gave a painful urine sample. Then the urologist came in. He was younger than I imagined... maybe early thirties and a very nice guy. He said, "Hi Sam. I understand you're having some pain. Amy (wife) told me a lot about you". I asked what the hell that was supposed to mean. (See? Attitude in tact.) Amy said that if I was willing to see a doctor, that the pain was much worse than I was letting on. I finally nodded and said it was killing me.
The doc said that he wanted a KUB and an IVP because he found traces of blood in my urine sample. Amy nodded and I asked, "What is a kay you bee and an eye vee pee?" He laughed and told me that a KUB is an x-ray of my kidneys and an IVP was basically the same thing with dye injected into me. I said that I was cool with that. Needles don't bother me. We scheduled the tests and the doc asked me if I had any questions. Mistake. I said, "Yeah. How did you look at a schlong and say 'That's what I want to do for a living?" Amy was mortified and embarrassed, but the doc just laughed and gave a great answer. He said, "Most of the other doctors I know are real tools. It takes a special kind of personality to do what I do." I was floored that he wasn't offended by what I said and I shook his hand and said, "We are going to get along great".
I had the KUB and the IVP, which were uneventful. Amy even let me go by myself. She told me to take a pair of sweat pants with me because she doubted the gown they were going to give me would fit. I am about 6 feet tall and weigh about 420 pounds. She was right. The radiologist said that the sweat pants were a great idea as long as there was no metal eyelet for the drawstrings. Cool. At least I didn't have to walk around with my ass hanging out. So any fat guys or gals reading this take note. The only discomfort I had was that the dye for the IVP burned a little going in. No big deal.
I had another appointment with the doc to go over the tests. But having a wife with connections is great. She was able to get the results before the doc. On the morning of the appointment I asked her what we were dealing with. She said that it looked like I had a stone in the ureter (tubing) between the left kidney and the bladder. I asked her if it was a big deal and she got kind of quiet. Hmmmmm. Then we went to see the doc.
When we went in, he had my pictures up on the wall. He pointed and said, "You have two stones sitting on top of each other in the left ureter. One is about 4 millimeters and the other is about 12 millimeters". I had a reasonable grasp of the metric system and I said, "That doesn't sound too bad". His reply was, "Yeah? Well think about where they are going to come out". Doc 1 Sam 0. I said, "OK. What do we do?" He said, "Well, You're not going to pass them". I looked at Amy, who was very interested in the floor tile pattern. I said, "OK. How long will I be off work and how big of a scar will I have?" He said that I would only be off work a couple of days and there will be no scar. "No scar? Then how in the world.... OH NO!! NO NO NO!" He said that it was no big deal and started to describe the apple picker device he was going to insert into my penis.
I wasn't even remotely interested. I said that there was no way and I mean NO WAY that this procedure was EVER going to take place. But the doc remained calm despite the fact that he had a 400+ lb man about to destroy his office. I was starting to hyperventilate just thinking about it. He just shook his head and said, "Well as I said, you're not going to pass them but for right now you are getting urine around them. If, however those stones decide to move side by side instead of one on top of the other, you will feel pain like Hell itself wouldn't have it. Also, the traces of blood in your urine are being caused by the stones cutting the ureter. If they go side by side that trace will turn into a gusher and you will be brought to me by ambulance instead of your wife." I wasn't hearing any of this. I had to get the hell out of there.
In the hallway, Amy was chatting with one of the other nurses. They both stopped and looked at me like I just fucked a nun or something. They both said in stereo, "What the hell happened to you?" I said, "I don't really know but I know I didn't like it". I was apparently covered in sweat. Amy said, "You passed something didn't you?" I told her what happened and she asked me if I saved what I passed. I said that I flushed it but I don't think I passed anything because there was no blood and besides, the doc said they were too big. She asked if I was ok to drive home. I said that I actually wasn't in any pain. I kissed her and said goodnight. The drive home was uneventful.
I called the doc the next day and told him what happened. He said he knew. Apparently he had a patient in the ER that night and Amy told him. He said he wanted to see me right away but to have some more pictures taken first. The next week I took the pictures in to see him. He put them up on his wall and said, "Son of a bitch! I can't believe it! They're gone! That must've hurt like hell!" Beaming with stupid male pride I said, "I told you I could pass them". He said that he wanted to TAKE A LOOK. In all the times I've seen him, I have never let him "take a look". We have always had consultative visits, never an exam. When I asked him why, he said that he wanted to be sure that they didn't tear something on the way out. That scared me a little bit and I lay down on the table and dropped trowel.
Now for any of you out there that are not fat, the penis on most fat guys retract. That means that you can't see it unless it is at attention or unless you reach down and grab it like you have to piss. Don't get me wrong. When I'm ready for action, it's not a bad piece of meat, about average length and above average width. I just don't like the idea of showing it off. Anyway, he put on a pair of gloves and grabbed me like it was Saturday night. "Nothing that won't heal", he said. I pulled up my pants and left foolishly thinking that was the end of it. Looking back, it was just a prelude of the events to follow.
Over the rest of 1997, I passed about 6 or 8 smaller stones. Not very painful. Just a little distressing seeing something solid fly out of my dick while I am trying to take a piss. But I noticed a new type of pain. I was discovering that every time I finished urinating, I felt a twinge of pain. I had no trouble or pain while I was urinating, just when I finished; I felt this deep down tug that was mildly painful. It was definitely different from the pain I now knew as "stone pain". But having learned nothing from the past I chose to ignore it. I found out very quickly that this pain would not be ignored. In just a couple of days, the pain reached staggering levels and a twist was added. I no longer had the ability to wait. I was proud of the fact that I could go for long periods of time without the need to piss.
I called the doc and he said, "You must have a real bitch of an infection, I'll give you another three-week supply". After the three weeks were up, the pain came back again. When I called the doc for more pills, he surprised me by saying, "No. You better come in. If five weeks of antibiotics couldn't kill this thing, I better take a closer look". I asked him what a closer look meant. He said a foreign word to me "cystoscopy". Against my better judgment, I asked him to elaborate. He told me that he would take a flexible scope with a camera on the end and insert it into my penis so he could see the prostate and bladder. I uncrossed my legs and said, "No thanks. More pills will be just fine". He told me that he was not going to give me any more pills because this could be more serious than a simple infection and asked when I could come in. I told him that I didn't think the pain could reach the level that would make me submit to such a procedure. He said, "We'll see".
I hung up the phone pretty pissed. After all I passed those stones without his help. Therefore I must know more than all his years in medical school taught him. Right. Going without any antibiotics for two weeks forced me to call him again. I begged him for more pills. He said, "Sam. You must be in unbearable pain. The fact that you're calling me again tells me that. If Amy brings you into the hospital, I will give you a morphine IV. Just come on in". I knew that was code for, "I want to stuff things in your penis and watch you wiggle". I told him no dice. He said he couldn't help me unless I came in. So that was it. I hung up the phone. The "stupid male gene" won again.
So for the next two years, that's right I said TWO YEARS, I dealt with the pain. Sometimes it wasn't so bad, and other times it was indescribable. Sex was virtually non-existent (having a 5'8" 160 lb beautiful brunette wife with a "D" cup, that was unbearable in and of itself). But just thinking about "the scope", I knew I would have to get a HELL of a lot worse before I would go back to the doc. Well, that's exactly what happened.
Y2K. Everyone talked about it throughout 1999. I didn't have a stockpile of toilet paper or anything like that. I knew that nothing would happen. I left the insurance business in 1998 to work for a large credit card company in Baltimore. I had off New Year's Eve with Amy and we spent it together at home. I was battling a case of the flu all that week. I very rarely get sick; maybe once or twice a year. The "piss pain" was HORRIBLE! The infection from the flu joined forces with the infection in my urinary tract and just like Hitler; I couldn't fight a two front war. The week after New Year's, the flu subsided, but the UTI, well; I just couldn't take it anymore. I called the doc and scheduled an appointment to see him.
I gave another urine sample, which resembled a cool foamy beer. The doc said, "It looks like you're infection is back". I said, "Back? It never left!" This time, the doc was speechless. He said, "I figured since you never called me back, the infection went away on its own. You mean to tell me you've had this for 2 years?" "Damn skippy", I said. He hit me with the clipboard he was carrying. He said, "That's it. Are you ready to listen to me now?" I put my head in my hands and admitted that I was. Now to the ladies reading this, I can't even imagine what it must be like for you every year. But I know the men reading this understand the fear and disgust that were going through my mind. The doc said, "Ok. Here's what we're gonna do. I'm ordering some more tests. I'm going to have you do another KUB, but also I want an ultrasound and a CAT scan of your kidney area. Also you WILL have a cystoscopy. I know it's gonna suck, but I promise it will only take about 5 minutes." I was visibly shaken.
He said, "I'm even going to do something extra for you. Since you're being such a baby about this, I'm going to give Amy two Ativan pills. It's an anti-anxiety drug. Take one when you leave your house in York, then take the other one when you reach my office here in Harrisburg. When I do the procedure, you won't really care what I do to you." That calmed me down.
The week before the scope, I had those other tests. The KUB was nothing. The ultrasound was easy. Someone spread goo on me and ran a computer mouse over me. The CAT scan was an adventure. The procedure itself was nothing, but the preparation was bad. The morning of the scan, I had to drink three bottles of chalk water called barium. I've tasted better cocktails, but no big deal. When I went in for the scan, I just had to lie down on a table while the machine did the rest. I was told to be as still as possible. No problem. About 10 minutes into the 20-minute procedure, the technician reminded me to be still. I told her that I was being still. The vibration she was getting was from my stomach.
I told her that I had to go doo dee very soon. She came out from behind her station and listened to my stomach. I couldn't help but laugh at the look on her face when she said, "Oh my. I'll try to hurry". My laughter was soon replaced with pain and I asked her if she happened to have a bucket or if perhaps I could borrow her purse. She told me that she was almost done and I tried to solve complex calculus problems in an effort to take my mind off the inevitable explosion. I heard her say that she was finished and I was up and out of that room in a flash. I didn't know a 400 lb man could move so fast. I didn't even put my shoes back on. Fuck it; I'll go back for them if I live. Thank God I was in my wife's hospital and I knew the layout because if I had to ask for directions, I would have shit myself for sure.
The bathroom I was racing to was small with only one stall and I thought to myself, "If there's someone already in there I'll either shit in the sink or grab him by the neck and throw him out". Thankfully there was no one in there. I sat down and fired away. As the water mixture splashed my ass cheeks and went out between my legs onto the floor, I made a mental note to stay away from the liquid practical joke called barium. As I left the bathroom and went back for my shoes, I stopped by the reception area and asked if they had any of that yellow police tape so I could mark off the bathroom. She gave me a confused look and I left.
It was the morning of "the scope". I knew that Amy had the two ativan pills, but I'm a very large man. I know that it takes more drugs to sedate me than the average puss. So I decided to wash down the first ativan with a Hard Jack Cider. Amy just shook her head. She didn't protest because she was just happy that I was going through with it. Either that, or she was still in shock from the CAT scan story I told her. On the drive to Harrisburg, I had another Cider. When we pulled into the doc's office, I had the other ativan and another Cider.
I went in and was brought straight to "the room". I was told to strip down and lay on the table. The doc came in and asked how I was doing. I told him that the ativan was a joke and even the alcohol I used to wash them down didn't help. He said that he was surprised I wasn't asleep. He said that then again I was so stressed that he was afraid it wouldn't matter. He got into position and asked if I was ready. I told him that other than the fact that my dick was shriveled up like a stack of dimes I was ok. I was breathing hard in anticipation and said, "Let's light this candle." There was an intense pain as the scope went in. I remember yelping like a shot dog. Amy was rubbing my forehead and the doc said I was doing fine. Then I was ok. For a minute. Then I felt very cold down there, and I informed the doc that I had to piss and I mean RIGHT NOW.
He told me that I only felt that because he was filling my bladder with water so he could get a better look around. At one point in the procedure, I remember Amy reminding me that humans need to breathe every so often. She was right I had forgotten to breathe for Christ's sake! The next thing I knew the doc said, "Ok, I'm pulling out". I never thought I would hear another man say that to me except in my nightmares about prison. When he pulled the scope out, I pissed all over the place. Ahhhh revenge is sweet. He took his gloves off and toweled himself off and told me that everything was pink and healthy. I said, "Great! Now what?" He told me to get dressed and come into his office.
When Amy and I went in, he had my test results from the previous week in his hand. He pointed to the CAT scan and said, "Take a look at this". I immediately saw the stones in my kidneys. I said, "Is that a blown up picture or is that life size?" He said that they were actual size. The stone in the right kidney was about the size of a quarter and the one in the left was between a quarter and a half dollar. He said that they were so large that they couldn't even get into the ureters. That's why I didn't feel them. They were also the source of my infection. When I took the antibiotics, the infection would hide in the core of the stones. Then when I ran out of pills, it would come back. Even I knew I couldn't pass these. I asked him what had to be done.
He said "percutaneous nephrolithotomy". Being in the credit card business, I had no idea what that meant. Basically he was going to drill into my back straight into the kidney and remove the stones directly. I was at least relieved that he wasn't planning another scope. He said that there was only one problem. Because of my size, he was afraid that his equipment wouldn't reach my kidneys. The largest person he had ever performed this surgery on was a 300-pound woman and he was just barely able to reach. I outweighed her by over 100 pounds. He said he was going to send me to Philadelphia to a surgeon at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital who had the equipment needed to complete the surgery. He said this guy actually wrote a textbook and teaches other urologists how to do it. Well, at least I'm in good hands.
Amy and I went to Philadelphia to meet the surgeon. He was a nice man, but he had other ideas about the surgery. I asked him if it was because I'm fat. You see, being fat, the medial profession assumes you are going to drop dead any minute and they usually refuse to do any surgery unless it's the butchery called gastric bypass (stomach stapling). He said, "No. Not at all. In fact I've done the procedure on people in excess of 700 pounds. You are a lightweight. I just think that we can do it uretoscopically." I knew what that meant. In the out door. I protested and said that my doc told me it had to be done through the back. He said, "That's because he doesn't have a scope that will reach all the way to the kidneys. The scope I have will reach no problem. It has a laser attached to it that will break up the pieces into smaller fragments". I was pissed and decided to push this guy's buttons.
I said, "In math class I was told the shortest distance between two points is a straight line". Without missing a beat he said, "Yes. But in shop class I was told not to make another hole if you already have one". Score another point for the doc. He said, "Besides, with the back surgery, the recovery period is 8 weeks and you would basically have to learn to walk again. This way you'll be out of work for about 4 days and will need no physical therapy. Also, you'll be asleep for the procedure". Logic won and I decided to do it his way. We scheduled the pre-op testing for the next week and the surgery for the week after that.
When I went for the pre-op testing, I met the anesthesiologist who was a true fat phobic son of a bitch. He said, "How long have you been overweight?" I said, "Over what weight?" He snorted and said, "Well, before I agree to put you under, I am going to need more tests so I know you won't die on me". What an asshole! Knowing I was in good health, I told him to bring it on. Blood pressure 140/80, cholesterol 188, I even had an EKG. After the EKG, the technician said in front of this stupid fuck, "I can't believe your heart's so healthy". I looked at the dip shit anesthesiologist and said, "Are we done now? Because I need a cigarette." The EKG tech said, "Wow your EKG doesn't show that you smoke". I loved her.
Finally, the day arrived for me to be rid of the boulders in my kidneys. I arrived and was told to strip and put a gown on. I had my sweat pants with me and the nurse said, "You can't use those. Our gowns will fit you. She was right. The thing hung off me like a dress. It would have covered a Volkswagen easily. I no sooner changed than the nurse said, "They're ready for you." I kissed Amy and they wheeled me to another room. A guy came in and said that he was going to start an IV in me. I asked who he was and he told me he was the anesthesiologist. It was a different guy than numb nuts the week before. That made me feel better. He started the IV and I was wheeled into the operating room. I was surprised to see the room packed and I mean PACKED with people. There must have been 20 people in the small room.
I asked what was going on and the doc took off his mask and said that this was a teaching hospital and that most of these people were students. He said he doesn't do this procedure on patients my size very often and he doesn't recall doing it to retrieve stones this size. I shrugged it off. I was getting used to having the world see my package. They wheeled me next to the operating table and four men were about to move me to the table. I stopped them and said, "You guys are going to move me when this is over, right?" They nodded. "Ok by then I'll be dead weight. Why don't you let me slide over now while I'm still awake and that will cut your workout in half". One of them said, "Damn. Thanks man". I slid onto the table and my gown was removed.
The doc gave me a briefing. "Pretty soon, the guy at your right shoulder is going to put something in your IV that will make you go to sleep fast. After you're asleep, you will be put on a ventilator that is going to breath for you. Then I'm going to run the laser up the left side into the kidney and break up the larger stone. There's a slight chance that after that I will do the right side, but probably not. We'll schedule the right side later if that's the case. Then the tubes will be removed and you will start to breathe on your own. When you wake up, you will have a sore throat and you will have some pain down below but the stone will be all busted up. Do you have any questions?" I told him that I didn't and he said, "Have a nice nap". That's the last thing I remember.
The next thing I know, there is a guy standing over me saying, "Whazzuuuppp!!" Like on the commercial. I said "Whazzuuuppp!!" back to him and he laughed. He then said, "Ok, you woke up pretty fast. It's 6:30PM". It was 2:30PM when I went into the operating room. "I'm going to take your catheter out. I need to deflate the balloon and it will slide right out". I nodded because my throat was sore from my Budweiser imitation. Then BANG!!! I went from groggy to WIDE-awake. Very sharp pain in the penis. The Budweiser guy said, "Damn sorry about that, I thought I let all the air out". I freaked. I said, "I want my wife, my glasses and my wedding ring, right fucking now!" Then things got foggy again.
I opened my eyes to see my wife. Man that was great. I realized I was no longer lying down. I was sitting in some kind of easy chair. Then I was greeted by a nurse. Petit, nice ass, nice perky tits, an all around beautiful little thing. She handed me a cup of juice. I sipped at the juice and realized my throat was sore but nothing serious. I asked her when I could leave. She told me that I had to pee for her first. I said I had to go right now. She said that I felt that way only because I had a catheter in earlier. She left and said she would be back in a few minutes. I was telling Amy about meeting one of the Budweiser guys and all of a sudden I started to shake all over.
I yelled, "What the fuck!" The nurse came back and both her and Amy told me that it was the anesthesia wearing off. These whole body spasms came and went for the next several minutes and then started to wear off. Scary shit I must confess. The nurse asked me if I felt like trying to pee. I said, "Sure I feel reasonably ok". Amy was on one side of me and the nurse was on the other as I stood up. The nurse asked me if I was lightheaded and I told her a little but nothing major. Then I started to walk. I started to list like the Titanic and the nurse and Amy steadied me by my armpits. I looked at them and estimated their combined weight at 275 pounds. I said, "Listen. If I start to go, just run in opposite directions and come back after the dust clears". The nurse asked Amy if the drugs were talking or if I was always this funny. Amy shook her head and said I was always this way. They managed to help me to the bathroom.
To this day, I still don't know how they did it. God bless nurses. Amy grabbed a plastic urinal and the nurse held me steady. Because of my belly, I wasn't sure if I was aiming at the urinal or not. Amy said, "Let 'er rip". I couldn't feel if I did or not and I asked if I did. The nurse looked at the urinal, which had nothing in it except some blood and said, "Not good enough". So back to the chair we went. The nurse said, "This'll do it and opened up my saline IV full blast. Within a few minutes, we tried again. I was much better under my own power this time. I filled the urinal about a quarter of the way. It was all blood as far as I could tell. But it was enough to get me out of there.
The real pain didn't hit until the next day. The bottle of Oxycontin said to take 1 or 2 pills every 12 hours. So I took two, knowing how big I am. After a while the pain was still intense so I took another 2 pills. What's the harm? I'm over 400 pounds and I do that all the time with Tylenol or aspirin. My wife said she found me in the bathroom crying with blood all over the floor. She said the conversation went something like this:
"Why are you crying?"
"I don't know!" (sob)
"Are you in pain?"
"Not really." (sniff) (sob) (tears)
Then it dawned on her. "How many did you take?"
"Four." (boo hoo)
"Jesus Christ, Sam. Do you want me to call off work?"
"No. (sniff) I'm already such a burden."
"Oh for Christ's Sake"
She didn't call off work. I went into the living room and consoled myself with the cats. At some point I fell asleep (passed out?). I woke up to the sound of the telephone. Amy was asking if I came down. I told her I was feeling better and that I'd see her when she got home.
Over the weekend, my bladder was giving me more piss and less blood each time I went to the bathroom. The pain was manageable without the narcotic episodes so I stayed away from them. Then on Monday, I went in to my regular urologist to have the stents removed. He told me to strip down and lie back. While I was getting undressed, he told me that they did both kidneys at the same time so I wouldn't have to go back. That was good because I was seriously considering death over another operation like that. I got on the table and he told me to take a deep breath. I tried to ask him why but it was too late. He grabbed the strings and pulled the two feet of plastic out of my dick really fast like removing a band-aid. I yelped and it was over, just that fast.
I wiped the sweat off my forehead and left. Over the next 4 days or so I started passing monster stones. I was pissed. I called the doc and asked him what the fuck was going on. He told me that the laser breaks up the stone but I would pass the fragments. Oh Joy!! This went on for several days and after a week I decided to try exploring my sexuality again. Everything was fine. The erection showed up on time and everything. However completion of the act of love was extremely painful. Guys, imagine yourselves at the point of orgasm.... Wonderful yes? Then BANG!! Someone inserts a knitting needle into the head of your dick. I decided to wait another couple of weeks. All total I missed 5 days of work and am now pain free for the first time in a LONG time.
Thank you for reading about my kidney stone saga.