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Why My Kidney is Named Sidney

I’ve seemingly got a double agent working inside of me — code name Sidney. Information: declassified. Risk status: medium. Flee factor: high.

By the sounds of things (sheer groans), many of you are also “entertaining” a host who is annoyingly proving not to be the utmost. In fact, it’s a real pain in your side!

Double agents are just that. Go to work FOR you most of the time, but when the opportunity presents itself, they may work for the “other side.”

Such is the life of the kidneys inside of you.

For the layman out there, the kidneys are two bean-shaped organs in the renal system that help pass waste as urine. They also perform many crucial functions including overall fluid balance.

Want more? The kidneys also control your blood pressure, make red blood cells, keep bones healthy, and control your pH levels. Thus, keeping them in shape keeps YOU in shape.

Now, the “other side.” When Sidney turns sneaky and strays from his intended path. Drum roll please, as this is for all the unfortunate humans out there suffering from — kidney stones!

I felt your extreme pain and discomfort just two weeks ago. Nothing I write or say will lessen your non-comfort levels. At onset (and onslaught) my pain level was a 12 on a scale topping out at 10. More than 200,000 people suffer from “the stones” each year.

Alas, the “double agent” can take root as hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys. The stones can fluctuate from place to place, causing sharp, stabbing like pain in your abdomen and back.

Sidney and his Rolling Stone landed me at Geisinger Medical Center for six long days and nights. As it was stubborn to pass out of my system. This six-millimeter demon stone is all that it took to bring a man to his knees and beg for help.

Oh, I saw it live during ultrasound procedures. This tiny red speck buried in my utmost private region and taking center stage. Like the double agent trying to avoid infrared tracking when crossing a border. Busted!

For those experiencing this torture, there is no need to preach to you. For those never having a kidney stone, the doctors told me it’s the closet thing pain-wise to childbirth.

Pain control and passing the stone (not romancing the stone) were the main agenda the first few days in the hospital. Mine, no doubt, made harder to deal with by having chemotherapy that week. Double whammy!

I hate watching television, and that includes at the hospital. So I write, I doodle, I dream. I walk the halls in a gown. My room had a direct view of the Life Flight heliport. I cannot shave, and I cannot floss due to blood platelet counts. Sidney’s current objective is to turn me into a recluse, become part of the mattress, and watch reruns of “Father Knows Best” and “Hazel.”

Young, energetic student nurses have other ideas and want me up and about.

I am game. My body was made to move, not sit. The painkillers and liquid diet had allowed me to be more mobile than when I was admitted.

Blockage, dehydration, and overall discomfort. Sidney’s diabolical plot to undermine me. But I have been here before, in spades. I go to the room information board and grab a magic marker. I began to write a passage.

“Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘you cannot withstand the storm.’ The warrior whispers back — ‘I AM the storm.’” Hey Sidney, you read me loud and clear?

The drain tube up my nose, turning me into a unicorn, makes it difficult to breathe and eat. Double agents have many tricks up their sleeves. Not exactly the best way to welcome the season of spring into my life either.

The body can only fight so many things at once. “Ladies and gentleman, in this corner we have some radical poison concoction that is tearing apart Gerry’s immune system in order to keep cancer at bay. And in the OTHER corner, we have a kidney stone that is ready to pass, but hasn’t passed, and who knows when it will.”

For me, it passed 8:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning. Mine didn’t burn or hurt, but the abdomen pain stayed around, as the body was adjusting to semi-solid food again. Sidney was amused at all the mashed potatoes and orange sherbet I was consuming.

Most people don’t realize the severe pain a kidney stone patient is suffering. At work, some snickered. Trust me; you can’t fake this type of pain. It can literally cripple you. I breathed slowly; I put warm blankets on ground zero.

I knew this was a mere “pimple” compared to other unpleasant things in life. Sidney doesn’t care. Pain is pain.

So one night after prayers and pills, it was time to confront the “spy who didn’t love me.” Sidney, why? Look, I love the good things you have and will do for me. But I don’t appreciate the fact you planted some crystallized stones in me. Really, I thought you were totally on MY side! Pain like this should be relegated to the enemy, not the host country!

In Sidney’s defense, the doctors told me the strong chemotherapy could have caused this as a side effect. Remember, I don’t do soda, iced tea, etc. Either way, Sid has been put on notice to behave himself.

Lastly, to everyone out there twisting, screaming, and trying to achieve any level of comfort while dealing with kidney stones, you have my best wishes and prayers.

I mean it’s not every day something the size of birdseed can bring you down like a boulder.

Webb Weekly

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