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I swear, the insurance companies have little tracking devices in my body...
... that make it fail as soon as the insurance situation gets complicated.

So you know how I quit my job as of Friday? Which means that I'm now on COBRA? And you know how COBRA is retroactive to your termination date, but the paperwork's a bear for a while?

You see where this is going: this is, of course, the day I wound up in the ER.

The irony is, I was on the way to my doctor's office anyway. I'd been noticing a slight ache in my lower flanks for the past few weeks, mainly when lyiing in bed. Very slight, though, and I had a checkup scheduled today anyway, so I figured I'd talk with her about it then.

So I drove Kate to work this morning, noticing as I did that the pain in my left side was suddenly getting a good deal worse -- where it has been running a 1 on the usual hospital 1-to-10 scale, it was suddenly a 3 or 4. Not unbearable, but suddenly a significant discomfort. But what the heck -- I was heading to the doctor right afterwards anyway, right? And after a few minutes, it eased off.

After dropping her in Framingham, I headed back in on 30 towards the office, on the Waltham/Weston border, and the pain started to climb -- from "hmm" to "ow" to "uh-oh". I kept driving, on the theory that stopping and calling an ambulance was going to take longer than getting to the office. But as I drove up South Street in Waltham, I decided that this was bordering on Truly Dumb, so I turned into the Newton-Wellesley Urgent Care annex, in the old Waltham Hospital building.

Of course, I described the pain, and they all said, "kidney stones" without even blinking. Onto an IV, some low-grade pain meds, and lot of fluids. Peed in the cup, which *looked* like nothing, but came back as, "lots of blood in the urine". Time passed. Pain flared up to an 8, then knocked back down to a 4 again with more pain meds. Ultrasound introduced me to the term "hydronephrosis" -- my left kidney was all stoppered up.

Ambulance over to Newton-Wellesley proper so they could do a CT scan. Given morphine for the first time -- stuff packs one *hell* of a punch, but did knock the pain all the way down to a 1. Turns out to be an itty-bitty stone, maybe 3mm across, but it's enough to gum up the works. Handed a stack of prescriptions and sent home (after much car juggling, courtesy of Inae, and Kate getting to drive my car for the first time).

So here I sit, doped up on not-as-good-as-morphine-but-it-helps Percoset. Truth to tell, the nausea is even worse than the pain at the moment. (Yes, they gave me Zofran. No, it's not a panacea.) I threw up the smoothie that was my first attempt at non-water: unfun, but one does feel better afterwards.

So don't expect me anywhere tomorrow unless I get lucky -- the stone is reportedly almost all the way through, so hopefully it'll only take a few days, but tomorrow is probably too much to hope for. In the meantime, I'm staying pretty well doped up, and focusing on little except drinking and peeing as much as possible.

And afterwards, I get to deal with *so* much fun paperwork. (Although this plan's deductible is so high that much of it may be simply a matter of demonstrating that I've satisfied it, for later.)
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So sorry to hear about the stone. Hope your problems pass smoothly. :)

We were without insurance for about a month when Jeremy was between jobs. I was dreading that COBRA paperwork, thankfully we got lucky.

Feel better soon!


Truth to tell, the nausea is even worse than the pain at the moment. (Yes, they gave me Zofran. No, it's not a panacea.) I threw up the smoothie that was my first attempt at non-water: unfun, but one does feel better afterwards.

Oh heavens, I hear you on the nausea front.

May I suggest: Ginger beer - the real stuff, with sugar and ginger and not much else, as an excellent stomach calmative. Ginger tea also works, but you may not want anything heated in this weather. Bananas may work as well, as they are full of potassium and other good stuff and are easy to digest. Saltines. I've been avoiding smoothies when my nausea kicks on because milk products are harder to digest, which is the last thing I need in nausea mode, and good fruit has lots of fiber; the exception to the milk-half seems to be nonfat plain yogurt.

Hmm. Have had some more-conventional ginger ale, since it's what we have on hand -- helped slightly, although not a lot. If this doesn't go away soon, we'll have to try the ginger beer option. Ginger tea is already being discussed, but as you say, it's hot.

Bananas are, sadly, off my diet: my blood-pressure meds are contra-indicated for potassium. (And man, that is going to make Pennsic a more careful experience.)

Saltines being consumed now -- very, very slowly, but so far so good, knock on wood.

The "smoothie" in question was actually one of those store-bought things: basically blueberries and not much else. But it turned out to be much too ambitious. (I actually never do dairy in smoothies: even when I make them myself, they're all fruit, fruit juice and ice.)

If you can get somebody to go to Whole Foods for you, Maine Root Ginger Brew is mindways' and my go-to nausea beverage. It's got a SOLID ginger kick to it, so we drink it slowly, but it's worked every time both of us have had stomach-garbage of late.

Sorry to hear about the contraindicated bananas - and as you say, yeah, that WILL make Pennsic complicated, as I believe that also knocks gatorade off the list.

You might try throwing three or four ginger tea bags into a jug of water and just letting them steep overnight so you'll have it in the morning.

Plain white rice is another one of the things that mom always gave me when I had an upset stomach - you might try cucumber sushi, though I'd be careful of the nori, and they do add sugar and vinegar to sushi rice. If it were me, I'd avoid the fish or pickled veg for now.

I hope your stomach calms down soon!

We always use Emetrol in extremis. It's a phosphated sugar syrup that you can buy in almost any drugstore, and it works as an antinausea treatment when nothing else will.

Funny how that happens on COBRA. We'd opted not to do COBRA; it cost more than the mortgage. So naturally, two weeks later I was in the hospital for two days. (COBRA is also retroactive for 60 days.)

Everyone I know who has given birth and passed kidney stones says the stones are much worse. Good luck.

Cold mint or chamomile tea also does wonders for nausea. (Well, okay, I always use the hot version, but the iced should work just as well.) As does candied ginger, but that requires actually chewing and swallowing it so I've always preferred mint tea.

Sympathy. Stones are No Fun. I had them once, and foolishly tried to go to work in a drug-addled haze. It was an extremely surreal day: 9/11/2001.

Wow -- that's a bad day...

Well, worse for many than for me. Arguably, being drug-addled helped me cope with the greater traumas going on in the world.

My sympathies for your recent situation, but I'm glad that the worst of it is over now.

Ginger tea is good when it is hot, but it gets a bit intense once it has cooled down. It is almost as if cooling concentrates the flavor.

ealdthryth drinks a variant of smoothie every morning. There's no dairy, so your system might take this better: 8 oz of almond or soy milk and water, a scoop of rice protein powder, a teaspoon of ground flax seeds, a few dashes of ground cinnamon and ginger(!), 1/4 cup of berries (it varies from blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, etc.), a tablespoon of almond butter, and some sort of dark green leaf (chard, spinach, kale).

My version of it includes peanut butter and I'm a little more heavy-handed with the cinnamon and ginger.

Hope you are feeling better soon!

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