Hey babe, can you take me to the hospital?
Not the words I usually hear in the middle of the night. In fact, I usually don’t hear anything in the middle of the nightâ€” one of the perks of being married to a bartender is the learned ability to sleep like the dead, so when the rowdy bar co-workers crash at our house instead of driving home, they don’t wake me. Oddly, I wasn’t sleeping well on Sunday night, so when that question drifted up the stairs and into the bedroom I was out of bed in seconds.
As soon as Dave described the sharp pains on the left side of his stomach and back, pain that was so bad he was shaking, the ER staff asked if he’d ever had a kidney stone. I admit, I was slightly relieved, as it meant he wasn’t dying.
After the doctor confirmed that the pain was, in fact, the result of a kidney stone, he informed us that “passing a kidney stone is the closest thing to labor that a man can experience.” Interesting timing, no? Dave promptly began apologizing to me in between howls of pain that sounded eerily similar to laboring moms I’ve seen on TV.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a night out anywhere in Lawrence if we didn’t see someone we knew. Our paramedic friend John- my former landlord in college and a former fire marshal who once gave the bar a ticket for being over capacity- happened to show up in the ER on a call.
Three shots of pain medication- that seemed to only last five minutes each- later, the doctor decided that Dave should be admitted overnight. Upstairs we went, to room 217, where a bed too short for a 6’10” man and a tiny little loveseat awaited. We both got a few short hours of sleep, the pain slowly lessened and eventually the stone passed.
Now, I’m not one of those women who longs for an all-natural childbirth. I have no desire to feel any more pain than necessary, and wisely for him, my dear husband was already on board with whatever I wanted. Post-kidney stone, however, he’s pretty much insisting that there will be pain medication during labor. And after seeing the pain a kidney stone the size of a couple of pinheads caused a big guy with a high pain tolerance, I’m quite alright with that.
This was our second visit to the emergency room. One of these days, I’ll share the story of the first visit. Once we figured out the patient would be fine, it became a rather amusing trip.