Rolling stone

Everything happens for a reason.

So, when my self-proclaimed heroic status of Super Kelly is dealt a blow to the kidneys, and my “I can do it all” motto is met with the most humble truth that I really cannot, in fact, do it all, I can’t help but be gob smacked by the reality that I must eventually slow down.

My Kryptonite came in the form of a tiny rolling kidney stone that kicked my super powers to the edge of my pain tolerance this past week. As I write, I am eight days in battle (Did you just wince too?).

If you’ve ever experienced the pain of kidney stones, you know the agony caused by the tiny burrs of barbed wire as they rip through your inner canals. Go ahead, get a visual: I can wait. Patients liken a kidney stone to childbirth, and since I have twice endured that experience without aid of medication, I would say, yep, bang on. A kidney stone is like back labour, only when this nugget of torture rips through your loins, you are not going to swaddle it in a flannel blanket and take photos for Instagram (because the Carpenter said absolutely not).

And you can’t really complain that much because it’s not life or death. It’s temporary. Be brave, because others have medical issues far worse than you do, so pace the room, use curse words, take the meds, practice your birthing breath techniques and suck it up. Gratitude keeps your perspective real.

So does the sick sense of humour of my friends. The Carpenter’s first question to me, when he got the urgent call to come pick me up from work was “what are we naming this one?” (We’ve been through kidney stones before).

That’s almost as funny as my pal who named the stone for me. She suggested Rocky Livingstone. She also texted me for a good portion of the seven hours I spent in the emergency department when I finally admitted defeat. She helped, as did my pal who brought tea to that waiting room. Unfortunately, they made me laugh so hard it hurt more. While I waited my turn, I received video clips of comic skits about kidney stones, cheerful emails and of course, Dr. Hook’s You Tube video of On the Cover of the Rolling Stone. Technology is awesome. I may not have many friends, but my tribe is twisted and hilarious. Amen.

And in the days that followed, there were the friends who checked in, shocked that Rocky and I were still attached. They couldn’t help, but they cared. Rocky Livingstone just wanted a long weekend with me. Who wouldn’t? (Cough. Ouch.)

There is a lesson here. It’s amazing to me how much I accomplished in severe pain over a week, all the while aware of my diagnosis before I even sought medical assurance. I thought that made me tough, but whom am I trying to impress? I was an idiot for ignoring my body and pushing on. Why do we value the insanity of being over-achievers in work, family and friendships all at the cost of our own health? Super Kelly bought her own hype. Super stupid.

Fingers crossed that by the time you read this Rocky Livingstone will have rolled on.

Either that, or someone should come rescue the Carpenter.


Kelly Waterhouse