“Breath! Breath deep!”, the nurse said. “Good! Control your breaths. Control. Breath deep. Control!”
The deep breaths continue until the pain momentarily subsides. No class, no education, no preparation can adequately prepare someone for the pain. Sure, it wouldn’t be forever, but right then, in that moment, it feels like it will never end.
Sharp, awful waves migrate from the back and end in the private area of the body. It’s so intense that all appearances, inhibitions and concern for dignity flies straight out the window. Nothing short of hope and relief from the excruciating pain can bring comfort.
The nurse, a seasoned veteran, has seen it all, yet she never consistently predicts the responses beforehand. A sonogram gives the approximate size, length and weight beforehand, but everyone’s different, so there’s no way to know up front how long or what the response may be.
The doctor calmly walks in, asks how it’s going, checks the vitals, and gives a quick exam. With a seemingly flippant attitude he announces, “It won’t be long now”. Then then he leaves the room, like he didn’t have a care in the world!
Thoughts run rampant! He’s not getting paid to stay in the doctor’s lounge! What if he’s not back in time? What if there’s a problem? Dog gone it! Where’s the doctor?! Get back in here!!
Yet the nurse knows. She dishes out ice chips, pats the shoulder, rubs the back, anything to ease the mind, but it’s all a red herring for the brain so the pain in the canal is distracted.
But distractions don’t work. Pain comes in waves, tidal waves, only to subside for a moment, then return like a systematic tsunami.
No distraction, rhythmic breathing, staring at pictures, nothing, nothing helps as contractions restart.
Medication takes the edge off, but barely. Turning on one side, then the other, standing, getting on hands and knees, none of it really helps, not for long.
The short term helplessness feels like long term hopelessness. A lonely, pressure packed sobbing begins.
All the encouragement in the world can’t penetrate the constant, slow moving pressure, cramping or stretching that overcomes logic, knowledge and rationale.
Eventually the doctor returns. He puts on gloves and says to push, hard, but it feels like a guppy giving birth to a whale. Everything stretches and twists. Seldom used muscles scream in unnatural flexion.
The doctor says, “It’s almost here! Push hard! One more time!”
An agonizing scream roars over the vocal chords in one last mighty push!
There’s residual discomfort, but the intense, shooting pain is over. Tears flow. Anticipated joy floods the soul. The pain is over, and now, a new beginning.
Some find the whole process amazing, marveling at how and what the body can do. Others, based on experience, emphatically share the pain and resulting joy when it’s over.
Still others, particularly those who’ve never seen nor experienced it, don’t give it a second thought, simply discounting it as a normal part of life.
I, however, don’t know, nor do I ever want to know any part of it!
I mean, from the men and women who have described the above, who in their right mind wants to pass a kidney stone?!