He shook me awake, gently, at 1:15 this morning, pulled me into his arms, kissed my ear lobe and whispered, “It’s over”. 

We held hands as we sat by lamp light staring at the grape-seed sized stone in the lab bottle, baffled how something so tiny had controlled our lives.  How the pain came in devastating waves, without mercy sometimes lasting more than an hour, piercing through the abdomen to his back.  Each attack left him weakened, sweating, chilled and pale; a triple Type A, bedridden.  We could have traced in ink the pain-filled route it took from his left kidney to the exit point, and after kicking the crap out of him for three days and nights, the phantom stone left without ceremony or pain. 

One of the most painful urologic disorders, kidney stones send more than half a million people to emergency rooms every year.  Stones occur more often in men as they enter their 40s through to their 70s, and when a person gets more than one, others usually develop.  Beyond kidney disease, some other causes of kidney stones are ” … gout; excess intake of vitamin D; urinary tract infections; and blockage of the urinary tract … water pills, and calcium-based antacids …”.

The easiest lifestyle change in preventing kidney stones: drink more water, and if you’re prone to them or have a family history of kidney stones, drink enough water to produce at least 2 quarts of urine every 24 hours.