Daily Archives: May 9, 2012

900 Pound Gorillas, Kidney Stones and Dying Texas Towns

I talked to Kay on the phone last night.  Gale’s doing a lot better.  His marble-sized kidney-stone is still in there, but they installed some kind of bypass tube until they can identify what it’s made of, then break it up or do something else with it.  His fever’s down and though he’s still in ICU, looks as though this won’t be his excuse for exiting the vehicle.

Marble-sized kidney stones ought to be worth something, considering the trouble a person goes to in the growing of them.  The only one I ever had was only the size of a grassburr, but it was worth every cent I paid for it, plus some boot.  In Peace Corps training I’d passed some blood and the medico told me it was probably a kidney stone, so I thought I knew about them, but I didn’t.  If that Hawaii thing was a kidney stone I must have been living right.

This one came on suddenly, sometime in the mid-1970s, and for a few hours it got so the nearest thing to a painless position was upside down against the wall, bent at the neck, torso, feet and legs held up by the wall.

I decided I was dying fast and agreed to allow my ex-wife to haul me to Scott and White Hospital, 30 minutes away, to die there.  Someone in the emergency room suggested it might be a kidney stone and I emphatically declared it wasn’t.  “I’ve had a kidney stone.  This isn’t a kidney stone.   This is a grapefruit-sized tumor!”

They took me at my word and pursued other avenues for several hours while I demanded they check me in and begin cutting out that tumor.  Around midnight I began telling my wife I’d be dead in just a little while, “You’ve been a blessing in my life, Babe.  I’m sorry to leave you like this.”

But they finally dyed my bloodstream and proved to me it was a kidney stone.  Gave me a shot of morphine and I went around the ER shaking hands, thanking everyone, congratulating them on being genius-quality practicioners of medicine.  They assured me the morphine would wear off and offered the hope I’d pass the stone before it did.

But I’ve digressed.  Get a person telling about a kidney stone and he’ll tell it as long as you’ll listen.  Giardia and kidney stones have that in common, though giardia might be worse in the long haul.  Getting the Egyptian Ducksquirts and abdominal cramping for six months is probably memorable.  Then there’s shingles, which I could tell you about, but won’t.  But all those qualify as 900 pound gorillas, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.  Mostly people survive them.

Yeah, I digressed again.  I began this post to tell you about Junction, Texas.  The County Seat.  Gale and I went over there the day his world took the plunge into the planet-kidney-stone, so’s he could submit his application for the Agricultural Tax Whatchallit.

I was going to tell you how a mile of main street had half a dozen cars parked along it, how a few businesses are still struggling to survive.  How they have a lot of thrift stores, but the prices are too high.  How the town’s got a huge park on the river I’d like to fish in sometime.

But I won’t.  To hell with it.  I’ll tell you some other time.

Old Jules