12 September, 2010


Just when I decide to lighten my depressing load here, what do I get? Kidney Stones!! YUK! Yesterday, I had a little pain like a cramp and I didn’t think anything of it, but last night I realized it wasn’t going away. I laid in bed timing the sharp bursts of pain like I was in labor. A dull ache and then a shot of pain in my lower gut. I thought it might be a bladder infection as I had the sensation that I needed to pee. Then I envisioned my appendix bursting and wondering what the chances are of getting through that kind of surgery here in Cambodia...

The next morning I asked Carolyn, who’s a nurse, about it. She shot down the bladder infection since I was indeed peeing when I had the feeling I and also the actual peeing process wasn’t a burning pain. A few hours later the pain was getting a little worse and I had the sensation that I have felt that kind of pain before and then it hit me – KIDNEY STONES. It makes sense as I am more susceptible to them, genetically I guess, since I do not eat any of the foods associated with it and some of my family members get them as well. It is super hot here and although I drink tons of water, I guess it just hasn’t been enough. That’s the key with me and the stones; not enough water and they appear like magic. – Isn’t the body an amazing thing!

With me, though, it’s not a lower back pain at all, the stones seem to pass out of my kidneys undetected; travel through my tubes pain free as well. It’s when they get to my urethra (which Carolyn informed me what was happening in my case) they rear their ugly head. When I was young, I used to eat sunflower seeds. I wouldn’t always crack the shell and eat the seed inside, no, I would get lazy and just chew it up all at once and swallow the seed along with the 1/2 chewed up shell. On occasion the shell piece would get stuck in my throat and it would hurt like hell going down…I also remember one time that a shell piece stayed intact until it properly came out another hole in my body, which hurt like hell also. That’s what thought came to mind when I woke up in the middle of last night in pain; that there was a sunflower seed shell lodged in my pee tube (which, thanks to Carolyn, I now know its proper name).

This is the closest I will get to having labor pains; evenly timed bursts of pain which in the end will expel something that I really want to be out of my body. Gazing with such happiness at a tiny ragged stone that my body produced, harbored and then released into the toilet can’t be compared to gazing at a newborn but as they say here all the time – “same, same, but different.”

I have drunk about a gallon of water so far today and my special little stone is not budging and the pain is getting worse. I would love to spend the afternoon on a nice toilet in a comfy bathroom with a stack of magazines or a favorite book and just wait it out, but that’s just not an option here…with 6 other female volunteers at the moment sharing the same room. Carolyn thankfully looked up anything to relieve my pain and then went to the market coming back with lemons, coconut (for their water) and some pain medicine. I’m not one to take medicine for pain, but since I am not in the comfort of the other Carolyn (my Mom!) in my life’s care and comfy home, they may start to look really tempting as the day goes on.

Hopefully by the time this post is read the stone will be a not-so-fond memory to me, a little pothole on the road of life as I continue to keep driving.

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