If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I needed cranberry juice – and lots of it.
To say I had a rough night would be a monumental understatement. It’s not often I consider calling an ambulance (I usually have to be truly petrified about the underlying cause of a symptom to do that) as complex conditions can cause a lot of consternation for emergency doctors, as well as a fair amount of exasperation for the patient. But last night I was in such excruciating pain that I knew, if it didn’t subside, I would have to seek medical help.
I suffer from intermittent kidney pain for about two weeks of every month (usually starting around the luteal phase of my menstrual cycle); it’s unpleasant but manageable – like a small firework or an overdose of popping candy deep inside the organ. But what I experienced last night was much more like a nuclear bomb.
I had gone to bed at around half past midnight but I awoke about an hour and a half later feeling as though I’d been stabbed in the back, on the right side somewhere close to the bottom of my rib cage. I spent the next thirty minutes trying to convince myself that it was simply a bad case of wind (I know it makes zero sense but, even with my pathology, the pain was quite far removed from what I would have expected it to be…) and tried to position myself to get the air to move. No relief. I went to the bathroom, spending almost twenty minutes on the porcelain throne. No relief. I tried to go back to bed but was no longer able to lie down – essentially I had just been handed a huge suitcase full of frustration and exhaustion.
At two thirty, still somewhat delusional about the cause of the horrendous pain, I left the bedroom determined to drink enough hot juice to expel the gas. Deep down I already knew the real reason for adding a litre of fluid to my system – there was a blockage, probably caused by my absentminded dehydration, and I needed to flush it out.
With a little help from Dr. Google, I determined that the most likely cause of my pain was indeed a stone of some kind. Even though kidney stones come in many varieties and sizes, I thought the best course of action would be to assume what I was dealing with was small and easily treatable. If, after a few hours of drowning my system, I didn’t feel any better, I would let the experts take a look.
I twisted myself into an awkward ball on the sofa and tried to get as comfortable as my body would allow, whilst settling in for some (really) early morning television: managing, through my bleary eyes to catch the incredibly poignant final twenty minutes of Source Code, as well as a full episode of The Streets Of San Francisco (what with that and the early evening reruns of The Invaders, I’m starting to feel as though Quinn Martin is trying to tell me something…)
Needless to say, there were a helluva lot of trips to the bathroom before the sun was high in the sky. Sometimes there would be a slight alleviation of the symptoms, other times the needle on the pain-o-metre would flatten itself in the red zone. However, by about six o’clock I felt that I was finally able to go back to bed. I got a solid three and a half hours of sleep, waking with a dull ache in the area where the bomb had exploded but still feeling as though I’d been hit by a truck. I sent my husband out for the much-needed cranberry juice (his punishment for not checking to see if I was still alive!) and now I’m crossing my fingers in the hope that I’ve finally got this under control. However, if the symptoms persist past the weekend, I will seek medical assistance.
Oh, and because the night of the 10th was so bad, I felt that I had to give the morning of the 11th a good start…