Ignorance isn't so bliss


I was going to catch it and have it bronzed for posterity.

Sometimes it is good for the doctor to be the one being doctored. It is a small reminder of what those critters are going through while we are trying to get them well. I had an event like this a few years ago that kept me tuned into pain and treatments.

I was watching a football game and waiting for church time to come around, when suddenly, it felt like someone snuck into my room and kicked me in the stomach. The primitive part of my brain registered "sharp pain going on in the mid-gut area, Bo," while the logic part of my brain was theorized, "no one could have snuck in here and kicked me in the stomach without me seeing them."

I figured it would just go away in a second. It just kept building and building. I was starting to just kinda curl up. Pretty soon, my knees were approaching my chin. What was happening? I remembered those classes we took while Kerri was pregnant ... "In through your mouth, out through your nose," I thought. "Hoo-hoo-hee ... hoo-hoo-hee." It wasn't helping.

Here it was late December, and I was pouring sweat from every gland in my body. I was thinking about those horses with colic and how they just drip with sweat when their pain intensified. Intense pain was an understatement; I was laying in a puddle on the floor when Kerri came in to ask me if I was ready for church.

Church? Are you kidding? I'm not sure I can stand. A meager 10 minutes had passed since the phantom had snuck into the room and kicked me in the stomach, but it seemed like I had been hunched over for hours.

"What's the matter with you?" she asked with concern in her eyes. I dribbled something about a steel-toe-boot wearing phantom who had his way with me.

We substituted church for the hospital. I had no idea what was happening, but I knew that if I didn't get some relief soon, I was going to dehydrate from sweating.

The lady at the front desk must have seen this hunkered-over gait before: bent over at the waist, hands curled around my mid-section, profuse sweating accompanied by a mild moan with each exhale.

"Oh, passing a kidney stone I see," she said pretty matter of factly.

Is that what was happening to me? I've heard about these before, and I knew things were going to get worse from here.

Back at the house, things were better. They sent me home with pain medicine and a paper cup to catch the rascal. I was gonna catch it and have it bronzed. This thing must be as big as a grapefruit, and when it was born, I was going to preserve it for posterity.

The pain medicine kept me a bit stoned all night, so I didn't really look in the cup at the end of each visit to the bathroom. They had given me some fluids, so I must have gone five or six times throughout the night.

I was feeling much better when morning broke. That thing must have passed, and I knew it was in that paper cup in the bathroom. I couldn't wait to see the monster. I snatched up the paper cup, and there it was: huge and brown with spikes all over it. No wonder this thing hurt so bad.

"Kerri, come have a look at this beast. It must be the granddaddy of all kidney stones."

"That's not a kidney stone," she said with a confused look on her face.

After further examination, it seemed that some poor bug had wandered into the cup at some point in the night, and I had blown it to pieces, leaving just one leg in the cup. The real stone was there, too. At the very bottom of the cup was a little comma.

"A comma?" That little thing caused all this? I would need to rethink my bronzing idea.

I think about me doubled-over in pain often as I doctor critters. I've got a better idea of what it's like not to know what is going on when you go see the doctor.

Dr. Brock owns the Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.

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