Pain, Pain, More Pain, and Some Gardening Too: ODO 229
It’s been a while so this one is EXTRA LONG! I recently got my spring garden planted. This is my most intentional and, from an output perspective, ambitious planting yet. I got sidelined hard by a couple of kidney stones. And last but definitely not least, I address the two major family losses that have kept me away and the toll it’s taken.
Diving Into Spring Gardening
So, we’ve been doing the backyard gardening thing for a couple years now. And being in Arizona, we have the luxury of growing some kind of vegetables, pretty much, year-round. But up till now every season has just been one sort of experiment after another. I mean, there are things that we’ve managed to grow repeatedly and have made a pretty regular part of the garden, namely cucumbers and corn. But we never really plant anything with what you could call “intent.” It’s just been a lot of, “let’s try this cuz it would be cool to grow.” Or, “I’m gonna plant these extra potatoes and see if we get anything.”
Well, this season I decided to take our past experiments and plant a spring garden that is both things that we know we’ll eat, and things that we’ve had decent success with growing. Along with the usual batch of cucumbers and sweet corn, I’ve also planted a healthy sized patch of green beans, one of carrots (which usually only fail from getting trampled or eaten by dogs,) and 2 whole sections of Yukon Gold potatoes.
All in all we have 5 green bean plots, 4 cucumbers, a literal handful of carrots loosely dispersed, 15 rainbow sweet corn, and 17 potatoes. Plus, we have dill scattered throughout all of the beds. If even half of what I planted actually produces anything we stand to have a massive amount of food by the summer. The corn could result in anywhere from 10-40 ears, and the 1 1/2lbs of planted potatoes could result in anywhere from 15-30 lbs if I let them grow to full size. Add to that the constant flow of cucumbers and green beans that will be produced throughout the season and we could be nearly overrun with vegetables. That is, if anything actually sprouts…
Pain! Lots of Pain!
I am, at the time of this writing, on the tail end of my recovery from having kidney stone surgery. Not necessarily the kind of surgery where they slice you open, but microsurgery. Where they shove a camera and tools up your yoohoo to fix the problem.
They say that the pain that men feel while passing a kidney stone is the closest thing to the level of pain of childbirth. My wife had 4 c-sections and was thoroughly medicated through all of them so I’m not 100% sure on that particular comparison. What I do know is that the pain I experienced that night was the single most excruciating thing I’ve ever felt, and I have an abnormally high threshold for pain.
I was actually in the middle of my drive to work when I felt an intense and growing stabbing feeling in my left kidney area. (I should also note here that I was born with only the one kidney.) It quickly went from uncomfortable to rendering me breathless in the span of one traffic light cycle and it was still gaining intensity. I suddenly found myself in a cold sweat and becoming dizzy. On top of that, the pain was spreading from my back kidney region forward across my stomach and down into my groin area.
Naturally, I started making my way back towards home, after calling my boss to let him know what was going on. Unfortunately, from where I was, my path home was much less direct than the way I had been coming. But, I didn’t have the patience to turn around, I just had to turn at the next traffic light and navigate my way back through the pain. It took me nearly 20 minutes or agony to get myself back home. I spent the entire time on speakerphone with my wife, her trying to calm me down and keep me breathing through the pain. I was dizzy, nauseous, sweating profusely, and crying as she talked me home. When I pulled in to the driveway, she met me with my walking stick and practically carried me to bed as the pain finally started to subside.
We knew from the symptoms that it had to be a kidney stone. But from looking into it, it seemed that the only thing that the doctors could really do is to provide pain relief and wait for it to pass on it’s own. So I took some Aleve and laid down in bed. And then suddenly I got an all too familiar feeling in my back and it started all over again. This time the pain and dizziness hit so hard and so fast that I couldn’t help but throw up. At least this time I was able to get to my bathroom before it got to that point. On the road I just had to fight through it until it stopped.
At this point I decided that I couldn’t wait any longer and we had to get to the emergency room. So, as soon as my pain had subsided enough for me to walk to the car, we made our way to the ER, water bottle in hand. There we stayed, clear through until morning. Occasionally I would try to use the bathroom, to limited success. And every few hours they would call me back to draw blood or get a CT scan done. But every single time I would get out of my seat to go somewhere, my pain would flare up again. And it was at least 5 hours before I ever got any kind of pain relief. And let me just say, that with my system, one measly shot of morphine does not do much besides take the most intense edge off my pain.
Somewhere in the vicinity of 2am we were finally taken back to a curtain in the ER with the promise of an eventual room. The doctors had already confirmed that it was, in fact, a kidney stone, and that, due to my only having one kidney, they were going to admit me to the hospital. But they have to have an empty room to put me in before that can happen. My wife stayed with me all night and through until 6 am. She finally went home to get some sleep and check on the boys, who had been picked up by my sister the night before.
I spent the rest of the day getting shuffled from one room to another. And with every move came another pain spike and another delay in getting my pain medication as they got me settled into the new location. I had been told shortly after my wife went home that I would be having surgery to remove the stones later that day, but I was never given any time. It wasn’t until my last move that I learned that my surgery was scheduled for 3pm.
They took me down to pre-op around 1:30 to get all of the preparations done. I talked to the urologist and the rest of the team. They got my wife’s phone number so they could call her as soon as the procedure was done, and off we went. I got wheeled into the operating room, I scootched over on to the operating table and the last thing I remember was them putting warming blankets under me and an oxygen mask on my face. Next thing I know, I’m getting woken up by a nurse in post-op, and the pain is all gone.
After getting a sandwich and juice from the nurses, finally being able to go to the bathroom, and getting a list of all of my aftercare medications, I was able to finally go home. Of course, I still had a stent in my urethra to help with my recovery, and I had a mountain of medications to take, but after a day and a half of agony, the major pain was gone and I was able to sleep in my own bed.
Obviously, passing a kidney stone last week is not the reason why I haven’t dropped a new episode in nearly 2 months. That actually has more to do with the recent loss of 2 of our most beloved pets, my wife’s dog, Jasper, and my cat, Fluffy. Long story short, there was a downturn in Fluffy’s health that required more attention until her death, and a freak turn that cost us Jasper. I wrote more about it here. Let’s just say that it’s been a rough few months for us around here.
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