Friday, 20 April 2007

The birthright of the kidney stone

My first kidney stone, at the tender age of 35, at midday on Wednesday, April 18, delivered me two things in aplenty: Pain - a whole lot of it - and contemplation, after the fact.

The pain part is pretty obvious. The stone decided to make its presence known when I was about 5 minutes away from my bus stop just off Main and Southeast Marine Drive, and I felt a nice little tinge of pain in my left side, just above the hip. Thought it was just a cramp, and walking it off would do some good.

But no. It kicked in a bit more, and peaked in a big way as soon as I arrived at work. There I was in my full glory, on my knees, hunched over the toilet, biting my knuckles to somehow ease the pain, sweating buckets and wanting to vomit, unsuccessfully. There I was for about 20 minutes until I got a ride to ER from my good co-worker.
There, it was better. But it took about four hours of blood and pee tests for the doctor to finally tap his clipboard with his well-chewed pencil and say to me: "It's a kidney stone. You're a healthy young man, so it should pass soon enough if it hasn't already. Go home, relax, drink fluids. You'll be just fine."

Lovely words, those.

And the second part that kicked in? My thought process, as always. Men will never experience the pains of childbirth, but it's a common adage that a kidney stone is the closest they'll come to experiencing such pain.

But the difference? For women, in childbirth, it's a great fusion of the most joyful, exhilarating moment of their lives combined with the most painful, knuckle-whitening terror of pain they've ever experienced.

And for men? We get to experience that same joy as fathers, but we get to do it without the pain.

And so, kidney stones, according to my muddled mind anyway, are a way for men to experience the pain... but without the joy. And somehow, makes us even with the women.

A very faulty argument to be sure, because women have kidney stones too. But that's a door opening into the volcanic visions of my brain. Enjoy.