Last week I had a kidney stone. Let me rephrase that; last week Gibraltar lodged itself in my ureter then decided to travel.
After a number of noteworthy (but not paper-worthy) symptoms that all screamed shrapnel, I found myself sitting in a lonely exam room awaiting the arrival of Simon Cowell's twin brother, who apparently practices urological medicine.
"Hello!" he said, entering the room and shaking my hand. "Well, it looks like you've got a pretty big kidney stone in there. How are you feeling?"
"Like I've got a pretty big kidney stone in there," I responded.
"That's not the only one," he said, pulling up my CT scans on the computer. "Let's see, two on the left side, another on the right. ... How's your diet?"
I knew this question was coming. I am a kidney stone veteran and the doctors always ask the same thing: Why do you eat rocks?
"Sadly, my diet is awesome. I'm vain and this is the only way I can be skinny," I responded. But it causes kidney stones.
"Well," he said, "let's look at this list and see where you're at." He handed me a packet of What Not To Eat and started to review. "Do you eat a lot of salt?"
I thought back to the log of summer sausage in my fridge, the jar of BBQ almonds on my cupboard and our suspiciously low peanut butter jar. "A little," I said.
"Yeah, that's not going to help."
"Well," I said, "I do try to drink a lot of Diet Coke, and we all know that Coke and asparagus are good for kidney stones."
He looked at me with a bewildered expression, so I continued.
"You know, when you start to get a kidney stone, all you have to do is drink a two liter bottle of real Coke in one hour and chase it with a can of asparagus, including the juice. It usually works. I didn't have time to try it yesterday."
There was a long pause as he studied me, taking careful note of my glowing blond head.
"And what is this supposed to accomplish?" he finally asked.
"Well, you know, it ... gets it." I said. He just stared at me. "It disintegrates it, burns it to a crisp, whatever! All I know is that Coke and asparagus will fix kidney stones."
He shook his head, thought about lecturing me and realized it was probably pointless.
"Anyway," he went on. "If you check out this list--"
"Oh! Lemonade!" I said looking at the list, "That's right, I need to drink a glass of lemonade every day and that will keep the kidney stones away!"
"Um, where are you getting all your information?" he said.
"The ... Internet," I added, although this isn't actually true. I get most of my information from my older sisters, who know everything about everything and pass their worldly wisdom on to me as often as humanly possible. Somehow I think the Internet might be more reliable.
"Yes, well, let's talk about your surgery," he continued. "We'll go in and blast that kidney stone, but there's a chance we might have to put a stent in so the larger pieces can filter out."
"I'm going to be asleep for all this, right?" I asked.
"Of course, you won't feel a thing. The stent will just have to come out a week or two after all the pieces have passed."
"And you'll put me out when you remove the stent?" I asked.
"Well," he said slowly, "Not exactly. It's not that big of a deal though, we just have to go in through your urethra to get it."
"But I'll be asleep when you go in to get it, right?"
"Well no," he said.
"Right. Let me just say this plainly," I said, "There's absolutely no way you're 'going in through my urethra' while I'm awake."
"Oh, it's not that bad ..."
"Not that bad? Excuse me," I said. "Have you ever had anyone stick anything up your urethra while you were awake?"
He looked a little sheepish, "Well, no ... but my wife ..."
"Tell you what, as long as you put me out dead I don't care what you do to my urethra. Deal?"
What could he say? He might know more about kidney stones, but I've got some serious stock in the pain department. With four kids, sometimes I need a spinal tap just to get through Monday. Thankfully he didn't have to worry about the stent retrieval, which is good because I'm pretty sure that experience would have scarred both of us.
Annie Valentine is a Layton wife, mother and columnist. Readers can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog at regardingannie.wordpress.com.