Saturday, August 2, 2014

Kidney Stones, Show-and-Tell, and Prude Nuns

classic calcium oxalate kidney stones -- the boring ones of my mom's that my brother has == though magnified; Matthew's collection has one significantly larger than the larger of these two, which is considered unusual

My mom has another kidney stone, or, more properly, urinary calculus. I believe this one's midway through her ureter.  It hurts her a lot and makes her a rather unpleasant  person with whom to live. Fortunately, or maybe anyway, she usually passes them without surgical or laser intervention. I qualify that as possibly being a good thing because it means the doctors usually have her tough it out since she theoretically CAN pass them, as opposed to blasting them to smithereens and just getting rid of them. She says if this one goes on much longer, she's going to use my dads influence and  insist on a procedure because she's tired of it and literally sick of it.  

Doing such, I suppose, is similar to pulling rank in terms of one's husband's influence to have a Caesarean delivery rather than  toughing  it out though labor and then having all sorts of unpleasant procedures done in body areas most of us would rather not even think about while having a creature roughly the size of  a baby walrus pulled out of one's girl parts, in view of an audience probably larger than what you'd see at an average LPGA  tournament.

I don't blame my mom in the least for letting a bit of nepotism help her get rid of this urinary calculus faster. She's paid  her dues. I have no idea how many stones she's passed. Pseudoaunt has them frequently as well, but not nearly as many as my mom has had. My brother and I used to amuse ourselves by naming them when we were little, but we eventually ran out of  respectable names, sort of as the Duggars ran out of decent names for their actual children about four kids ago  if not even earlier.

With my mom's first few calculi, which happened before my brother and I were born, the stones were sent to labs for analysis. After five or six or so went through lab analysis, and especially because they all looked a great deal  alike,  it became obvious that they were all calcium oxalate in composition, and it was pointless to devote any more resources to analyzing them.

It was at that point that my brother decided he should start an official collection.  My dad found a plexiglass case about 12 inches by eight inches by 1.5 inches. Matthew would use 2-sided tape to secure the calculi to the bottom of the container. As the stones grew more numerous, they were placed closer together.  My dad snapped the lid on very tightly so that only he could get it off because he didn't want one of Matthew's friends trying to steal my mom's kidneys stones to sell them on ebay. Matthew had friends who would have done such a thing.  That does make me curious. As soon as I finish this blog, I'm going to check out ebay and see if any kidney stones are up for bids.

When my brother and I were in second grade, Matthew took his collection of my mother's kidney stones to school for Show-and-Tell. The kids were fascinated  ("She peed those things out? Are you serious?") but the teacher -- one of two nuns on staff at our Catholic school -- was less impressed, even grossed out, to the point that she wrapped the case in butcher paper so she wouldn't have to look at the offensive calculi anymore.  She attached a note informing my parents that the kidney stone collection was a most inappropriate show-and-tell entry and that she would appreciate it if they would keep it at home in the future. My dad couldn't figure out what was so freaking inappropriate about it, especially since we told him that the teacher had no problem with  Debbie Wilson bringing her brother's spare glass eye in a jar (I still occasionally have nightmares about the thing) to show the class. My dad considered calling the teacher to ask her to clarify her Show-and-Tell policy, but my mom told him to let it go.  She said Karma has a way of biting people in the butt, or in this case, in he kidneys, and with any luck,  Sister Edith of Polesworth, at the rate she consumed coffee and diet Pepsi,  would herself experience all the glory that accompanies passing a kidney stone sometime very soon.

Matthew still has the collection. He's hoping my mom passes this stone naturally, because if it's blasted to bits with the lithotripsy gun, there won't be enough left for his collection. My guess is that he thinks he's going to get some sort of extra credit in  some medical school class for bringing in a case of kidney stones. I suppose it's not beyond possibility, but he has a problem. My mom's stones are all calcium oxalate. If I find a whole variety of stones of different compositions on ebay, my kidney stone collection will trump 9I know that's a swear word that I just used, but consider the context and give me a pass, please) his even with the most sexist professor on the planet. I still don't know if you can buy the things on ebay, though. Anyone have any spare kidney stones for sale?


  1. I am so glad the experience of kidney stones has so far passed me by. Sounds dreadful.

  2. Lexus, at the risk of grossing out your one reader, when you magnify the chicken nuggets as you did in your photo, it makes them look a whole lot like chicken nuggets or especially KFC Popcorn Chicken.. Doesn't that make you want to rush out to kFC and grab a pack? They won't be open for hour an hour. Sorry.

    P.S. Keep your paws off my precious collection and good luck in trying to fcome up with a collection of your own at this late date. Ebay doesn't sell body parts. You would probably have to find something like a vampire group that sells them.

    Matthew, probably referred to in this blog by Alexis as the person who doesn't know which foot to put into which shoe, but it's alll a lie, or a gross exaggeration at the very least

  3. I wanted to keep my gallstones, but sadly they went to pathology with my gallbladder.

    1. Becca, I would have been most irate at having my gallstones carted off to pathology.