I’ve been told that I have remarkable pain tolerance, and this time was no different. It was after midnight and Clay was fast asleep, so I didn’t want to wake him up if I didn’t have to. Something obviously wasn’t right with my internal organs, and yet I literally told myself to “walk it off so we can go back to bed.” (The ‘we’ I’m referring to is of course, myself and my internal organs.)

That strategy lasted for maybe a minute before I gave in and concluded that I was dying at warp speed and needed medical attention immediately.

By the time I was admitted to the E.R. the pain was almost non-existent. I had this nervous realization that in that moment, if I had to, I could probably run a 5k. Maybe it was just a dream, and the violent pain I’d felt earlier was all in my head. Maybe I’d been watching too much T.V.

“No, we should stay and get this figured out” Clay said when I told him how I was feeling. So I did, reluctantly.

The longer I sat there the more convinced I was that there never was any pain. I kept telling myself it must have all been in my head and my life long suspicions were coming true; I am certifiably insane.

Before they rolled me away to perform an ultrasound, they asked if I wanted pain killers and I bravely refused them. On a pain scale of 1 to 10, I was at least a negative two. Thanks but no thanks, Doc. I’ve mistakenly taken a few crazy pills. I should probably just get back home so I can get up on time for work in the morning.

The second they rolled me into the ultrasound room the pain resurfaced. I begged for drugs, but I was told at that time it was too late, and I’d have to wait until after the ultrasound. No problem, I thought, I can wait it out for five or ten minutes.

40 minutes later the poking and prodding session was still underway with no end in sight. My pain level of negative two was now fluctuating somewhere between twenty and two hundred.

When are they going to surgically remove whatever it is that’s tearing me open from the inside? Doesn’t the ultrasound technician know that I’m only a few seconds away from dying? At this point the only comfort I found was knowing that I couldn’t run a 5k if my life depended on it. The whole trip to the E.R was justified and I wasn’t “gone girl” crazy after all. Good to know. 

I was finally given lots of drugs, and eventually released around 4am with a confident diagnosis, kidney stones.

After getting over the fact that I had an affliction reserved mostly for persons over the age of 70, My remarkable pain tolerance was no match for stones slowly ripping their way down my ureter. I spent the next week or so on self prescribed bedrest in a state of extreme pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. I showered three or four times a day because beyond laying motionless in bed, that was all I had the energy to do. I was so drugged up and depressed I didn’t even have the mental capacity to watch T.V, read or do anything. I was not having fun. I was sick of applesauce, broth, and mashed potatoes. The struggle was real.

At one point I woke up in the morning and heard clanking dishes in the kitchen. My first thought was “Oh, the kids are up.” …except that Clayton and I don’t have kids. The cocktail of pills was making me seriously loopy.

Eventually, I passed it. I’ll spare the details, but I will say that it was about the size of a large peppercorn, and that I feel uniquely prepared for childbirth. Turns out it was a calcium stone. A quick google search led me to find out that kale, dark beer, spinach, carrots, soy, and sweet potatoes are all high calcium foods to avoid and unfortunately make up a huge part of my diet.

Major buzzkill. But at least my kidneys are on the mend. And hopefully I never have to go through that again. Drink lots of water, folks!

Other possible takeaway: If a doctor or nurse offers you drugs, take them. 

Posted by:Katie Brinks

Seattle and the great outdoors. (Sometimes I write about my feelings.)