Kidney stones


I was diagnosed with kidney stones back about eight months ago. They were described by my general practitioner as “small.” He recommended that I drink a lot of water to help flush them out, and told me to let him know if I had any recurrences of pain or other symptoms.


I was a very good boy after that. I stopped drinking coffee after my first two cups in the morning. I stopped drinking cola drinks altogether, both naturally and artificially sweetened. I tried to drink as much extra water as I could.

After a month or so, the pain went away.

Then, a few months later, very surreptitiously, it came back.

(Note: I have never had the falling-down-dead kind of pain that’s associated with kidney stones. Mine is more of a mild ache, but it’s very localized; I know exactly where the stones are. I visualized them, after my December doctor’s visit, as something like aquarium gravel, or maybe tiny lemon seeds.)

The pain came back in earnest about three month ago, along with a couple of other more-or-less alarming symptoms.  So I presented myself to my G.P., who (with some alarm) referred me to a specialist.

If you’ve never been in a urologist’s office, you’ve never lived. I (at my advanced age!) was easily the youngest patient there. There was an aquarium with two suicidal-looking fish mooching around the bottom of the tank; if I see the same two fish there when I go back for my next appointment, I’ll be shocked. Everyone in the waiting room was running to the restroom every five minutes, and we all knew why.

The urologist (when I finally got in to see him) was a funny redhead who said funny things. When I told him I’d been reading WebMD, he said, in a Scooby-Doo voice, “Ruh-roh!”

And when he looked at my X-rays, he said, soberly: “Wow!”

My stones, kids, are not so small after all: one is 11 millimeters, and another is 5 millimeters. In short: I have a handful of driveway gravel inside my left kidney.

I’ve started carrying around a couple of small stones in a box in my pocket.  Whenever anyone starts complaining to me – about anything! – I pull out the little box and show them the two objects.  “I have kidney stones,” I say. “They are this size. I can feel them inside me right now. Now: what were you saying?”

It sobers people when they realize that you have a handful of driveway gravel inside your abdominal cavity.

(The next step, of course, is getting this handful of driveway gravel out out OUT of my body. There are several methods. All are more or less painful.)

(As the Rolling Stones said: “What a drag it is, getting old!”)

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

3 Responses to Kidney stones

  1. kleeyaro says:

    Hmm, more painful: kidney stones or having a baby? I’ve never experienced either! 🙂

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