Oh where do I begin? Carol was with her sister visiting her father in Massachusetts. I had my work schedule and kids all planned out – preparing weeks in advance who would be where, when and why! Carol left on a Wednesday and all was well. Monday night came and I had a meeting about the church website. I proudly cooked a family favourite meal, Harrison pro-actively cleaned up the kitchen, the girls got to bed on time by themselves and I and my ministry colleagues had a very productive 2 hour meeting. Said farewell, let the dog out one last time and went to bed at 11pm…10 seconds later I was in excruciating pain as I felt a stab in my left kidney. This continued until midnight when I went and got Harrison up and told him to get in our bed. I was fearful I would pass out and the kids would not know what had happened. I grabbed the phone and paced the floor for another hour until 1am. I took some pain meds I had for an old back problem but to know relief. It was getting worse and I felt cold, clammy and like I would vomit. I then called the health service 24 hour number. They thought the same – kidney stones and get to the hospital. I woke Harrison one last time and told him in his stupor (and my pain) that I was going to the hospital by taxi, stay home from school, get the girls to school, deal with the dog, let the neighbours know and I would call him. By 2am I was in the hospital and they said I needed transferred to another hospital (closer and where I thought I should have gone in the first place!!!). They gave me a shot of something, then another, but by 3am it hadn’t subsided and now was even worse. It is hard to describe the pain at 1am as tolerable as it wasn’t. By 3am it was so bad I had pulled a hospital cart toward me and was violently shaking it for dear life when another doctor came into my room and said, “Oh my!” and advised the junior doctor that I needed morphine. Ten minutes later and I was relaxed and enjoying a wee nap. At 4am they came to collect me and take me to another hospital where they did x-rays, blood work and a CT scan to confirm two large kidney stone (and a 3rd smaller stone still hiding we found out later). I stayed from Tuesday through Friday and was transferred to a third hospital where they did a lithroscopy to blast the stones and put a stent in my ureter. I came home Saturday night but by Monday went back into my GP – the hospital had sent me home with tons of meds but not pain relief!!! Wednesday the stent came out but that evening and I had the excruciating pain again; likely the last ‘wee’ stone finding his happy way out. Felt like it was happening all over again. Today, Friday, after a day of stupor from all the pain meds, I seem okay. We’ll see how it goes!

Through all of this I have read about thankfulness, prayed a lot, and been told how well our kids stood up to all of this. Getting themselves to school, making lunches, cleaning, dealing with the dog and generally getting on with life. Our neighbours, The Thomas’, stood in as parents to help them along but also remarked how impressed they were with the kids. In many ways I am thankful – the nurses and doctors care, the kids maturity and response, my neighbours helpfulness, family and friends well wishes, and that despite all I went through, it could have been worse. In a strange way it has made me more thankful and less worried about life/future events. Harrison and the girls all brought me stones as a reminder of the kidney stones. Oh their sense of humour, I wonder where they get it from?

I am on the mend, Carol is back, life is returning to normal and we are all thankful that this episode is (hopefully) behind us and that things are never as bad as they seem.

Peace, Mike for the family