Skip to contents
Life Lessons

The Unnecessary And Gross Tale Of Me And My Kidney Stone

<> on February 26, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The death toll has risen to 113 and the hope for finding survivors is fading as rescuers search through debris for over 200 still missing following a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Christchurch on Tuesday. The quake, which was an aftershock of a 7.1 magnitude quake that struck the South Island city on September 4, 2010, has seen damage and fatalities far exceeding those of the original.
Getty Images

For anybody who buys that passing a kidney stone is the equivalent of childbirth, I have some big news. I delivered this week.

I’ve never birthed a baby with arms and legs myself. But my latest little nugget has lots of limbs. Well, more like rocky spikes protruding from every angle, better to dig into internal organ tissue on the way out. It’s a natural torture device. 

If I got much into the delivery process here it’d only make folks queasy—or even angry, based on a few coworkers’ reactions in Slack when I wouldn’t stop typing about it. So I’ll keep to myself the details of the couple days of white-light pain spasms, and how the dang thing got stuck in my nether regions, just a couple centimeters from its port of exit (called the “meatus” in biology books), causing me to spend the last morning of my two days in labor in complete fear of bloody complications, and chugging Washington Nationals souvenir cups full of water for about an hour thinking my only hope to avoid having to have the organic rock surgically removed would be to blast this baby out with my next pee stream. Dang, there I go again spewing those details! In any case, my super-hydration scheme worked. One more gush, and into the toilet it plopped. I rescued the stone, as doctors would want me to. 

I felt a great sense of accomplishment (from the delivery, not the toilet rescue) and, since I went through the whole process without taking so much as an Advil, less wimpy than I normally do. I was also overwhelmed by a biochemically induced euphoria. I wondered if this was what Leigh, my wife, felt like after the birth of our two boys, both 10-pounders. I grew very attached to this little lump of calcium. Before going to sleep that night I tucked it into a sandwich bag and left it in the living room. But when I awoke the next morning I couldn’t find the bag. A panicked search had me digging into the trash can in the kitchen. (Of course it did! I’d already dug the thing out of a toilet, for crissakes!) And there, under a small pile of used apple slices, I found my precious stone. Leigh, under interrogation, conceded she “might have by accident” thrown the bag away.

As this post shows, I have the same urge that new parents all have: to talk about the whole experience, even to unwanting audiences. Anybody who texted me this week heard this tale. And saw pictures of lil Rocky McKenna. Not that I think it’s cute and cuddly. This thing’s repulsive.

But repulsive can be fascinating as hell!

Enough talk. Don’t say you weren’t warned: Here’s my baby.