I should have mentioned earlier, that I’ve become a new Grandpa, well….adoptive. Earlier this spring, another of my pet rocks had a baby.
This is Momma Stone. We took her in when we found her, pregnant and abandoned. You can probably tell, from her patient demeanor, how she’s been able to put up with me for years. She just sits quietly at the corner of the garage, enjoying the warmth of the sun when she can, and reporting to me, the amount of rain and snow we’ve had.
One of her daughters, a nice little egg, has been hanging around out on the back deck with a few other teenage stones. I convinced them, when they’re not busy tweeting and texting, to hold down a plastic cover on a small table.
This spring, when I wanted to put the cover out again, I gently picked her up, and found that Jack Frost had sneaked into the back yard and slipped a little moisture into her. She gave birth to an even smaller stone, right in my hand. Mother and child are doing well.
Inclusions like this happen millions of years ago, when erosion breaks off chunks of the original granite of the Earth. They roll into stream or oceans, and are tumbled around and abraded till they are smooth and rounded, and finally are covered with fine sand, lots and lots of sand, and then, piles of water. Over millennia, the pressure of the water compacts and solidifies the sand into sandstone, and these little Easter eggs are often concealed forever. It was only luck that gave us these two.
Speaking of becoming the parent of a small stone….On a recent Friday, I had agreed to take the daughter, LadyRyl, and her friend, and three of the friend’s cats, to a veterinary, fifteen miles away, in the next city. While daughter and I waited, her cell phone burbled. Since grandson only works till noon on Fridays, I suspected it was him checking in. She shook her head and handed the phone to me.
The wife told me not to be any longer than necessary returning home. The son, Shimoniac, works midnight shifts. He had gone to bed at 11:00 AM, but had wakened about 1:30 with pain and nausea. After throwing up food he ate three days ago, and then nothing but brownish bile, it settled into a sharp, grinding pain in the lower right quadrant.
Getting the two gals and three cats back into the car, and home, was like….herding cats. Finally accomplished, I got back home to find son in the recliner, with an ice pack on his abdomen. It can’t be his gall bladder; they took that out 20 years ago. The wife had her appendix rupture when she was a child, and was worried about that possibility.
Get some outdoor clothing on, grab your Ontario Health Card – and off to Emergency we went. Like every other place, hospitals have gone electronic, and do-it-yourself. You touch a screen to print your admission form. You get to sit with a triage nurse, but you swipe your health card to prove that the Government will pay, and to enter basic information.
There was a large flat-screen monitor on one wall, displaying the Emergency Department page from the hospital’s website. It gave driving and parking directions, paying special attention to the road work that shuts down several local streets, right outside the hospital. It also showed that they were currently treating 23 patients, with 18 waiting, and an estimated wait time of 3.5 hours. It’s 4:00 PM.
Pleasantly, surprisingly, they called him at 6:00 o’clock – only a two hour wait, but the hard part is still ahead. Not knowing if or when I might get supper, I got a hot chocolate and a toasted bagel at the in-house Tim Horton’s. I read parts of an abandoned newspaper, and filled in the crossword puzzle. At 7 PM, just as I was going to ask about him, they informed me that I could go in and see him.
He had had his blood pressure taken, had blood drawn for testing and, despite being dehydrated from the vomiting, had managed to provide a urine sample. They were going to do an ultrasound, but decided that a CAT-scan would provide better information. They were going to inject him with an organic dye for contrast, but, for what they suspected, didn’t need it, and decided against it. They were also going to inject a pain-killer – but the CAT-scan was free right now, so off he went.
I went for another walk to combat stiffness, and he got back around 9 PM. He got his pain shot, and we waited. Usually stoic like me, he doesn’t often complain about pain. When the admitting nurse asked him what it was like, on a scale from 1 to 10, he told her that it was a solid ten! The pain shot soon had it down to a throbbing three.
The son had been treated by a Doogie Howser MD-young Canadian doctor, named Robert Beaver. He was accompanied by his resident minion, an even younger oriental Doogie Chen, who does all the scut work. They returned just before 10:00 PM, and told him that he was the proud parent of a 5 MM kidney stone, which was about half-way down the tube to the bladder. 5 MM is the size of lead in a mechanical pencil. It’s amazing how something so small can cause so much pain and internal upset.
In and out in just six hours, it wasn’t the best day either of us ever had, but, all things considered, not bad. He should pass the stone on his own, if he drinks lots of liquids. He was be contacted by a urologist about a week later. If the problem has gone away, he won’t need an appointment. If not, we start talking about lithotripsy, to break up this tiny stone with guided sound waves.
Until either of those occurs, he gets to exist with the help of the same high-octane pain pills that I recently received. Ain’t life fun??! 😕
P.S. Two Mondays after, the hospital just called to confirm a Tuesday morning ultrasound appointment that the doctor’s office *forgot* to tell him he had. Wish him luck today. 😯