(artist"s rendering)

Doctors, give me the optometrists answer to this question: Whats more painful than a kidney stone?

Why should I talk about renal calculi in an eye magazine? Because I have been fighting my very own stone(s) for about three weeks now. First, I had the pleasure of a trip to THE Ohio State University emergency room. As you know, my daughter is a dental student at OSU, and I was visiting her. I am certain she truly enjoyed my visit. (Of course, I did slip her $100, so she probably forgot all about me screaming profanities on the way to the hospital.)

When I got back home, I dutifully made an appointment with my urologist. Dr. Hannah took one look at my X-rays and just HAD to give me a stent and lithotripsy. Now, surely you all know what lithotripsy is. Thats right, a couple grand! The idea is that the shock of the bill will crack the big ol stone into smaller pieces that can more easily pass through into this little conical screen designed to catch the stone and allow the urine to simply get all over your pants.

Now the stent Ah, yes, the stent. Did you ever have to do number one so badly you werent sure you would make it home in time? I felt that way 100% of the time. It made for some very inefficient eye examinations over the following week...

Me: Hello, Mrs. Jones. Uh, gotta go! Be right back!

Me: (returning) So, hows
your Be right back!
Me: (returning) Uh, be right back!

This brought new meaning to the question, Which is better: number one or number two?

I begged Dr. Hannah to remove the stent, kidney stone or not. He did, and that was quite the outpatient procedure. I will let you use your imagination.

This meant there was a risk that my ureter might occlude. Great. So, I made the command decision that I would rather have my kidneys fail in South Carolina than Aruba, where we were supposed to be going that weekend. Yes, THAT Aruba. This was the second time in the past two years that we had to cancel a week in Aruba. God does not want us in Aruba, as you can see.

Now, I am told, the stone is in my bladder. I am also told that this is good. This reminds me of how I often tell patients that blur is good. Job security. Perhaps a renal calculus the size of a peanut in my bladder is job security to Dr. Hannah.

So, back to todays question: Whats more painful than a kidney stone? My answer: You should see my hair.

Thats right. On top of the indignity of having a plumbing problem, my hair stylist decided to go insane just as she was cutting my hair. At first, my hair looked like somebody gave a four-year-old kid an electric razor and said, Cut your hair. Ill be right back.

I went to the office and asked my wife, Does my hair look weird? Now, my wife, the love of my life, my one true joy, did what any wife would do. She fell to the floor laughing and pointing. Then, she took me to her own hair stylist, who asked me, Did you try to cut your own hair?

Howd she fix it? She basically shaved my head. It was the only way.

So, for a few weeks now, my patients have been falling on the floor laughing and pointing, while I simultaneously try to pass the aforementioned kidney stone. This has been a very pleasant time in my life and I just wanted to share it with ... uh, Ill be right back!

Vol. No: 143:12Issue: 12/15/2006