I was reminded of this 3:30am on Sunday morning when I started feeling some pressure on the left-hand side of my lower back spanning to my stomach. Now, from the about me portion on the side and the obvious diet restrictions I keep in mind while cooking, you can probably guess I'm a bit of a mess when it comes to digestive health. So when I feel pain, which is often and sometimes chronic, I don't always know what the pain specifically is indicating- until it escalates that is.
So I had a sneaking suspicion this was my friendly, left-side, indicated in October, left-over kidney stone from my first go around. And it was very friendly. After announcing with mild pain that it might be ready to pass on Sunday morning, it quickly accelerated to a very loud shout of let me out. Now, for those of you who have never experienced passing a kidney stone, I cannot describe the depth of extremely agonizing pain which you will be in for several hours. All of a sudden, manageable discomfort turns into I can't breathe because I'm in so much pain. And even when you are given strong pain-killers, you can still feel pain because its just that strong.
The best part (sarcastically she says) of this all is that I'm in the UK, and I have no idea what to expect from their hospital system. The hotel I'm staying at put me in a cab, and I began my journey with the NHS. The worst part about being in a great deal of pain is that all you can focus on is that pain, and so when I walked in the emergency room reception, I couldn't wait to have someone help me. But no one was at the reception. I called out. I tried: hello, help, please help, and hello again. Someone finally came about, and said I needed to wait until the receptionist was ready to take my information. So about 10 minutes later someone showed up looking annoyed that I was interrupting her night, and I checked in with all the normal facts. Then I had to wait 10 more minutes until someone took me back to the actual emergency room. I have a very high pain tolerance, but I had to wait about 2 1/2 hours until someone gave me an effective painkiller. This time was mostly spent writhing in pain and begging the nurse to help me (when I could find her) and asking for the doctor because he's the only one who can approve the proper drugs.
This sucked. This sucked really, really hard. But, I'm alive. I spent about 12 hours in the lovely NHS hospital system and once the pain management started I was more or less okay. I'm going to go in and blast the stones with ultrasound waves this week because they found another stone and I am NOT passing another one of these things, I'll tell you that.
I'm sharing this experience with you dear reader because kidney stones and chronic kidney stones are very commonly present in patients with IBS, Celiac, Crohn's, or who eat unvaried diets that include high amounts of certain elements that your kidney can't flush an abundance of. Please be sure to hydrate your body even when it rejects it, and even when you have a limited choice of ingredients, make sure to vary them as much as you can.
Yes, it's annoying that I have to police my own lifestyle as much as I do. And yes, I severely dislike that I can't just eat normally like everyone else who doesn't seem to have nearly as many issues as I do. But hey, I'm special. My mother always told me I was, so now, I guess I am. And there are days that suck, but there are days that are awesome like when I find a new recipe I like or when I'm up to full energy and gallivanting around at a job I love.
So kids, the moral of the story is: don't get kidney stones. Trust me, you don't want them.