Congratulations, Mark, your he-male has been selected for the prize draw from GED (Garden of Earthly Delights), Inc, for this month's special offer...... kidney stones!
Boy, do they hurt. First symptom was a mild general gut pain - I thought I'd eaten something that was going to cause problems later. The later problem was curling-up pain, and a quick trip to the doctor who said it might be a gut spasm, gave me some pain killers, anti-spasm pills (both useless) and sent me off for blood tests. After the second wave of pain about a week later, he told me it might be kidney stones, and sent me off to get an ultrasound scan, that I booked for the earliest that I could, at the polyclinic, for a couple of of weeks' time. After one further wave of pain during the week while I was on holiday, I had no discomfort at all.
So I turn up at the polyclinic, thinking "this is going to be a total waste of time, because the stone has gone now". And the ultrasound guy says, "Ah yes, you have a kidney stone. 9 millimeters. You need to have a CAT scan and an X-ray, and see the urologist". So I asked when I should come back for all of this, and he says "You stay here, we're doing them now" And they did.
And when I get back to the reception area to pick up the scans, the urologist is there, saying "You're in luck, the sonic shockwave machine that breaks up kidney stones is expensive, and travels from hospital to hospital. It's here tomorrow. You get checked in tonight and I'll sort you out straight away." Which is how I came to spend two unexpected nights in hospital getting fixed.
They only put me out when I was on the machine, it's quite an impressive device, it shows where the shock waves are concentrated, and they can scan it along the length of the stone. It makes a kind of clicking noise.
Now to be fair, the urologist did tell me they'd be putting in a probe, (they call it a probe (une sonde) but we'd call it a stent), and he told me that its purpose is to widen the kidney tubes so that the shattered bits of stone can come out more easily. He didn't tell me how it would be going in; that was something I worked out later. I suppose it should have been obvious. So the first pee after the op was a bit of a shock. Unsuspectingly, I just pointed and opened the sluice gates as usual. Big mistake. Not only was the output a glorious red, but it hurt like crazy. Next time I made sure I was on the paracetamol drip, and the release was very carefully controlled.
So here I am at home, taking things easy, on a diet of pain killers, anti-inflammatorys and something that is supposed to make me pee less often. I'm using the time to sit at my desk and do a clean Win7 install on my PC, something I have been meaning to do for a long time, since it has been blue-screening fairly often.
One of the things I like about the French health system is that your medical records are yours. I have here, the utrasound pictures, the scanner results, and the x-rays. I also get blood test results; pretty much everything that pertains to my health. My PC scanner didn't do a very good job of scanning the x-ray picures, but it got the CAT scan results showing the stone shining like a little star in the heavens.
According to the doc, the inserion of the stent is achieved using stiff inserters so that it can get down all the tubes, which is why it hurts. The extraction, scheduled for three weeks time, is achieved with flexible extractors, is done under only a local anaesthetic, and doesn't hurt. Yeah right. I'm not looking forward.