Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Warning--contains realistic, gross medical stuff

It's official--my kidney stone is free from my ureter. What? you ask. A kidney stone? In your ureter? Contrary to popular opinion, kidney stones don't start to become an excruciatingly, knife inside your back, angry squirrel gnawing on your pelvis kind of pain until a pinhead-sized piece of pain leaves the kidney enters the urinary track.

What does this have to do with running? It's not unusual for runners to have blood in their urine (hematuria)--usually it's caused by an empty bladder smacking against itself, and it will clear up after a few days of abstaining from exercise and hydrating better in the future.

A kidney stone, however, isn't going anywhere unless it makes its way out of the ureter and into the bladder. The first time I had a kidney stone it found its way out on its own--this time, not so much. I've been waiting for it to make its escape for almost three weeks now and this morning I decided I was sick of waiting--my kidney was blowing up like a urine-filled balloon and it was time to pluck that puppy out of there.

On the way to the hospital we stopped to vote for the school board members (this was 100% Laura's idea). The Kidney Stone Institute didn't open until 8 a.m., so we had time. On our way out of the polling place, an elementary school, Laura ran over a cone. The poor cone got caught under the fender, scraping and thumping as we drove along.

While Laura wondered aloud what was causing such a terrible noise coming from underneath her car, the assistant principal appeared in the rear view mirror, waving his arms and signalling us to stop. He was dressed in a suit, so I offered to climb under the car and pull the cone out.

He saw I was wearing my Get Lucky 21k sweatshirt and asked if I'd been on a run. Laura said, "Actually, I'm taking him to the hospital."

"Oh, are you hurt?" he asked as I wrenched the orange traffic cone from the underside of the sedan.

"No, just a kidney stone," I replied, nonchalant-as-I'll-get-out.

He wished us luck and as Laura apologized for her negligent and reckless driving, I was hoping luck wouldn't be involved as Dr. Portis did this a couple hours later:

Ureteroscopic stone removal
(warning--kind of gross)I'm not gonna lie--I felt way better after they pulled that thing out--though the drugs probably helped too. I also got to miss work (although I graded papers and wrote part of a unit plan anyway) and read part of Running Times. Then I spent a little time with Laura while she worked on some school stuff. We took a pause from our work and ate the crock pot beef stew I made yesterday (good thing I put it together yesterday).

The surgeon said I could run (well, he didn't say I couldn't run), but right now there's a little stent hanging out in my ureter for a few days. It makes my back pretty sore and turns my urine pink, so I'm not sure if I should be running. I guess I'll have to call the Kidney Stone Institute tomorrow and see what Dr. Portis thinks.

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