In my younger years, I was living the sweet bachelor life in a rented apartment on Fort Street in the CBD. Every Saturday evening I poured a glass of Pinot Noir and witnessed a classic Fort Street brawl from my balcony. A female brawl involved more than two people and there was always a “Rachel” involved. Never violent. In a male brawl, a dude with rolled up sleeves showing his “big guns” was a mainstay. Nothing really happened in the male brawl other than excessive shoving and shirt collar pulling.
One night I was in bed for a big sleep. A huge serving of chickpea lentils and rice, a bottle of Pinot Noir, and an episode of Fort Street brawl, then goodnight immigrant Kiwi. At 3am, I get this searing pain on the left side of my abdomen – like I had been stabbed from the inside. I thought those lentils were playing up, so a trip to the toilet should fix it. On the toilet, nothing. The pain went lower. I started to sweat. It dawned on me. Was it a kidney stone or appendicitis – but which one? I did not have the strength to find out on Google. So I called an Uber. Ten minutes away. I thought, am I going to be the guy who is found dead in his apartment in three weeks?
In the Uber, the driver asked me if I had a preference for a route. I was not very nice in response. You just need two basic skills for this job: driving and following the map on the phone, just do that and take me to the damn hospital.
That was not a good attitude to take with the driver. He dropped me by a dark parking lot telling me that we had arrived. I checked my phone to see if I was at the hospital. Nope. It was a 20 minutes walk away! Took me 30 minutes to get there and I vomited twice on the way. Finally I arrived at the emergency department and yelled at the reception, ‘I am going to die tonight’. A nurse put that clip thing on my finger and the look on her face showed that I might be right.
They pumped me with morphine, which did not work. The nurse asked me to rate my pain on a scale of one to 10. Politely, in a David Attenbourough voice, I whimpered ‘eight’. The nurse smiled and told me that I sounded like it was 11. I agreed.
Long story short, I had a kidney stone, not in the kidney, but wedged somewhere on the way out. They filled me up with Tramadol after the ultrasound with the instruction to drink gallons of water and keep my fingers crossed. It took four agonising days to get it out; one side effect of Tramadol is constipation. After the liberation of the stone I realised that I had not gone to the toilet for all that time.
Moral of the story: Look after yourself, eat healthy, drink a lot of water daily, and be nice to your Uber driver even though your abdomen is about to explode.