Kidney stones


Gather round, children.  Momma has some pretty awful news.



She has a kidney stone.



I’ve suspected this for some time, actually.  I’ve suffered with a dull ache in my lower back for years, centralized right around where I know my kidney to be.  My doctor insisted I was mistaken, my urine tests were clear, it was just a muscle cramp, blah blah blah.



Well, now we have X-ray confirmation.



Eh.  It’s a small stone, apparently, which is why I am not rolling on the floor in agony.  There’s no real treatment, except to increase fluid intake and try to avoid certain foods.  Beer.  Broccoli.  Beets.  Beans.  Bran, for god’s sake!  And those are only the Bs.  (Not to mention that I have increased my consumption of beans and broccoli and bran over the past few years, because they were supposed to be healthy for me.  Go figure.)


I looked up the condition online.  Lots of famous people have suffered with kidney stones: Napoleon, Giovanni Gabrieli, Michel de Montaigne, Michelangelo, Billy Graham, Lyndon Johnson.  I’m not sure why this matters, but it makes me feel a little better about the whole thing. (Especially Gabrieli and Montaigne.)



I do not intend to give up my beloved beans and broccoli and bran, not altogether.  So I am resigned to drinking lots and lots of water.  Lots and lots and lots of water.



Which reminds me of a funny story:



In Morocco, we drank mineral water exclusively.  There were three brands: Sidi Harazem and Sidi Ali, which were both flat, and Oulmes, which was sparkling.  As an aesthete, I preferred Oulmes, because the bottles were prettier. 



One day I was idling in a café with my British friend Austin and reading the legend on the Oulmes bottle.  “Oulmes is naturally carbonated,” I read, “and radioactive –“



I stopped.  Austin laughed.  “Didn’t you know that?” he said. “The water comes from a hot spring. It’s radioactive lithium, I think.  A friend of mine used to drink the stuff all the time.  He developed kidney stones, and they showed up beautifully on the scans, because they were radioactive too.”



(I notice, by the way, that the Oulmes website does not mention this.  Hm.  They’re marketing in Europe now.  I wonder if they’re just lying, or if they’re actually bottling non-radioactive water.  Who can say?)



So, you see, things could be worse.



At least my kidney stone isn’t radioactive.


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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