I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking how I can help him pass a large mineral deposit through his urethra
A little over two years ago, the loud gasps of my fiance woke me out of a deep sleep. It was just past 3:30 in the morning, and he was in such excruciating pain that he could barely walk.
The pain also affected his breathing. He was in agony, which made him pant so hard that he felt like he might pass out. We had no idea what could possibly be causing it. I panicked as I scrambled to put on pants and take him to the emergency room, but in all honesty, the fact that the pain was in his lower side, coupled with the fact that he wasn’t collapsed and unconscious, calmed me down.
I was fairly certain this wasn’t a massive heart attack, so that was good at least. He also had no appendix — it was removed when he was three years old — so we also knew it wasn’t that. But we were still freaking out.
Him more than me, understandably.
He told me he couldn’t pee, and as I threw my shoes on and stumbled to my son’s room, I told my suffering partner that it might be a bladder or kidney thing. I was hoping to calm him down with my assessment and also look like I had my shit together.
I can take care of this, I told myself. I have this under control.
I quickly woke my son up and, as calmly as I could, told him we had to go to the hospital because something was wrong with his step-dad. He didn’t say much. Just wore a slightly panicked expression and got his shoes on faster than I’d ever seen him do in my whole life.
We were at the hospital 15 minutes later. My partner had a scan, and we found out he was giving birth to a jagged little 3mm kidney stone. At 49 years old, it was his very first.
I took my son to breakfast in the hospital cafeteria while my fiance was given something for the pain and rested a bit. I was relieved beyond belief that the man I loved wasn’t dying.
What a way to be pulled out of sleep — thrown from dreams and right into the thick of panic and fear.
Two years later, my fiance is now my husband. We had a quick COVID wedding in August of 2020. Mostly because I wanted to get him on my health insurance (his job provides zero benefits). As the world started falling apart around us and I lost my uncle to the virus (a man who was only 5 years older than my partner), I wanted to take action.
Not exactly the most romantic of reasons to wed, I’ll admit. But you have to know a bit of my backstory to understand how much of myself I was giving in my willingness to get married.
Since my divorce, marriage has been a tricky concept for me. I knew I never wanted to leave my partner, but I also didn’t feel the need for a piece of government paper to prove that or to make my commitment any more meaningful.
I was getting married out of pure love though, because I wanted to help give my husband something he didn’t have, through no fault of his own.
And lo and behold, that insurance came in handy this morning. I was once again woken up by the sounds of someone suffering from debilitating pain.
This time, he said it felt different and a lot worse. I did the thing where you make a person who can barely speak due to the torture their body is experiencing rate their pain. He was at a 9.5, and the room was spinning around him.
I offered to take him to the ER and reminded him that it’s probably another stone. Once you’ve had one, chances are it will happen again. Also, just because the pain feels different, doesn’t mean it’s not the same issue. The size and location of the stone will likely be different.
This time, I wasn’t able to go with him past the waiting room. That’s the pandemic for you.
I was fairly certain my husband was going to be okay. I was willing to bet good money on it being another kidney stone, but as he was wheeled away to the exam room, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of dark worry creep in.
This is what people have to go through now with the virus. What if it was something life-threatening, and he had to deal with it all alone? That’s what so many, many people have experienced, and it makes my heart break.
He texted me updates often. Yes, his kidney had gifted him with yet another bouncing baby stone, which was wreaking its sharp-edged havoc on his urinary tract. This time, it also gifted him a lovely kidney infection, which he’ll have to take a boatload of antibiotics to treat.
He’s In More Pain Than When I Gave Birth
My husband is currently experience bouts of being high on pain meds interspersed with waves of excruciating agony.
Ever the dutiful wife — who stayed engaged for three years after eight years of dating and only gave in to her partner’s request of marriage after the world turned upside down — I’m really doing everything I can to help him stay comfortable.
Fetching meds, refilling his water, tucking the heating pad inside his t-shirt and the band of his sweat pants. Trying to keep the house running while Googling things like “how to pass a kidney stone faster.” Just, anything I can think of.
We’re coming up on Valentine's Day, and on our six-month anniversary as newlyweds. We’ve even booked a cabin for a much-needed break and mini-honeymoon. I just wish it weren’t such an excruciatingly painful time for him. I really hope he’s able to pass that little asshole stone soon.
I’ve never dealt with the nightmare of kidney stones. I’ve never had one. As a woman, I’m less likely to develop one (11% of men versus 9% of women deal with them).
I’ve given birth before, but that epidural worked wonders. I’ve had worse cramps during my period than I ever felt during my contractions. During the pushing phase, I didn’t feel a thing.
For those who’ve had to deal with kidney stones — you’re all very brave souls.
The Best Valentine's Day Gift
Part of marriage is being there and helping your spouse through the shittiest of times. I’ve read that it could take hours, days, or weeks to pass a stone. I’m hoping it’s not weeks, for his sake.
I’m reminded of the famous scene from that romantic classic, Notting Hill.
I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking how I can help him pass a large mineral deposit through his urethra.
Yeah okay, the quote isn’t exact. But all I want from my husband for Valentine's Day is his kidney stone.
Not, like, literally. I’d prefer he doesn’t wrap it up in a gift box and place it in my hands. But I do want it out of there, quickly. You get what I mean.
I think it’s safe to say that he’d like that same gift.