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Ouch! A stone but no tablet at the emergency room

If hell is anything like a kidney stone, I don’t want to go there.
(Quick note to female readers: Yes, I am so grateful that God knew better than to ask my wimpy gender to endure the pain of childbirth.)
My saga of agony and despair starts ordinarily enough: After a three-day reporting trip, I returned home on a Friday night.


My wife, Tamie, and daughter, Kendall, were visiting my in-laws in southeastern Oklahoma. My sons, Brady and Keaton, were enjoying the weekend in San Antonio after our home congregation’s annual spring-break mission trip to Mexico.
Despite the empty house, I was feeling good about the mission team making it safe and sound back across the border — an answer to prayers. For the first time in a week, I had talked to both my sons on the telephone.
My boys’ obvious excitement over serving God’s people in Mexico — and being served by God’s people in Mexico — sent my “Proud Dad” meter rising.
Meanwhile, I figured I could endure one more night without my precious bride and daughter before they returned home to Oklahoma City.
I made a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, drank a bottle of lemonade and watched the latest episode of “NCIS” on my computer.
So far, so good.
But just before midnight, an excruciating pain struck my lower back. I immediately suspected the culprit: a kidney stone.
I had experienced the same ailment last summer and figured I knew how to treat it. I started chugging water and popping Tylenol and Lortab. I ran repeated hot baths and found a little relief in the tub. I repented of many sins and asked God to take away this punishment. (I don’t claim perfect theology in the state I was in!)
Mainly, I lay on my bed and alternated between moaning and groaning.
At some point, I decided I needed to go to the emergency room. But I didn’t want to call and wake up any friends in the middle of the night.
By 7 a.m. Saturday, I couldn’t take it anymore.
I grabbed the previous day’s pants out of the hamper, put on my sneakers (sans socks) and drove to the hospital a few miles from our house.
Before I even got to the end of our street, I realized that I had left my cell phone on the kitchen table. For a split-second, I considered turning around and going to retrieve it. I quickly decided against it.
The kind folks at Mercy Health Center got me into a room quickly. The nurse gave me a gown to change into and a plastic bottle in which to provide a urine sample.
I was a little slow supplying the sample. So I was standing in my boxers — having not yet put on the gown — when the nurse returned. The good news: I was in no condition to be embarrassed.
Soon, nausea and pain meds flowed through my IV. Within just a few minutes, I felt a million times better. If I could carry a tune, I would have sung hallelujah for all the hospital to hear!
Not long after that, they rolled my hospital bed into a CT scan room, where they confirmed a kidney stone.
The doc told me it was near my bladder and small enough that it should pass without much additional trouble. He prescribed meds, and just like that, I was ready to go home.
Except that the nurse said I couldn’t drive myself given the narcotics I was taking. And except that I left my cell phone at home, and the list of actual phone numbers I know is quite short, limited mainly to my close relatives.
Unable to reach my out-of-town wife and children, I asked the nurse if the hospital had a phone book.
It took a while, but she eventually returned with the yellow pages. Those old enough to remember the difference between white and yellow pages will understand why that was funny (although not at the time).
Fortunately, my oldest son eventually returned the message I left on his cell phone. He reached his mom, who called Tonda Stafford, my wonderful Christian Chronicle colleague and friend.
Within minutes, Tonda and her husband, Barry, arrived at the hospital. They not only picked me up, but they also drove my car home and waited with me for my prescriptions.
I’m certain that this was not how Barry and Tonda planned to spend their Saturday. I am so blessed by their friendship and willingness to come to the rescue at a moment’s notice.
As for that pesky stone, I refer you to Ecclesiastes, where we learn (although not in these exact words) that “This, too, shall pass.” I am pleased to report that, in my case, it did pass. And relatively quickly, praise the Lord.
Finally, I’d like to urge everyone to drink plenty of water and clear liquids.
Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
Bobby Ross Jr. is Managing Editor of The Christian Chronicle. Reach him at [email protected].

  • Feedback
    Hi Bobby,
    I’m glad that you survived with you humor in tact : )
    Monique White
    Wyoming Avenue
    Southfield, MI
    April, 17 2013

Filed under: Inside Story

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