Ten years ago today, I was released from Brookwood Hospital, where I was thrilled to spend my Memorial Day. You might be wondering why I chose to vacation there for the holiday, and I have 2 words for you – kidney stone.
The kidney stone saga actually started that Sunday morning. I woke up to a TERRIBLE pain in the lower part of my back on the right side. I couldn’t BELIEVE how bad it hurt. I could barely move. Then I thought, “I must be in labor!” See, I didn’t tell you that I was 8 months pregnant with Zoe 🙂 And because I had never had a baby before, nor a kidney stone, I just assumed the obvious. This baby was coming early!
I called Scott into the room, and he helped me up. Once I managed to get moving, I went to the restroom. The pain began to subside, and it really never came back. It was the craziest thing. Because the pain went away, I decided to not call my obstetrician yet, and went on with the day’s plans. I actually had a baby shower that afternoon, so I was thrilled to not have to miss out on that!
So I wake up the next day, Memorial Day 2004, and the pain is back with a vengeance! I could not believe it! I managed to get to the bathroom, and I was in such pain that I threw up. It was horrible. I got back to the bed and called Scott in. He brought me the phone and I called my OB immediately. Dr. McKenzie was the one on call at the time, and he said that due to how close to my due date I was and the nature of the pain, I should just come straight to the Labor and Delivery area. He thought it might be something kidney related, but because of the pregnancy, we needed to be sure we kept an eye on baby Zoe.
So I get some clothes on and Scott drives me to Brookwood from our house in Pinson. It was the longest 25 minutes of my life! I didn’t speak one word and just gripped the ‘oh crap’ handle in the car the entire trip. I was actually surprised that I didn’t leave an impression of my hand on the handle!
I got into the hospital, they put me in a wheel chair and took me to a delivery room so that they could check me out and try and diagnose the cause of the pain. They hooked me up to a monitor so the doctor could make sure the baby was not in stress and to see if I was actually contracting. Then I had to do a urine test, and that is where we finally had some clarification. There was some blood and protein that showed up in the test results, so Dr. McKenzie said I more than likely had a kidney stone or a urinary tract infection. The baby appeared to be fine, so he decided to treat the pain in hopes that the kidney stone would pass quickly. He also wanted me to stay overnight for observation. The nurse then put in a catheter (not fun), as well as an IV. This was my first IV ever! I was so scared. I couldn’t even watch.
I am not one that handles medicine well, especially pain medicines. I either get super nauseated or super sleepy. I believe the medicine he gave me was Demerol, and it made me SUPER sleepy… like within seconds of it going into my IV. As the nurse administered the medicine, I was talking with Scott about what I needed from home, and all the sudden the ceiling seemed to be running away! It was the craziest sensation. It was like the ceiling was flying past my head. I kept looking up at it and I couldn’t finish my thoughts to tell Scott. I asked him if he could see the ceiling running away, and of course he said no, patted my head and told me to just close my eyes and rest. I was out in 5 seconds.
I woke up later that day, and the pain had definitely subsided. Thank you Demerol! I still had the catheter, so I didn’t have to get up and go to the bathroom, but there was no kidney stone. My mom and sisters both came to visit and sit with me for a while. Then my dad came when he got off work. Scott came back and stayed most of the night with me. It was pretty uneventful, but most importantly, it was pain free!
I woke up that Tuesday morning, and Dr. McKenzie told me that he was going to discharge me. Since I had no more pain, he seemed to think that I had passed the stone, but it was just too small to see. So the nurses help me get unhooked and untethered from all the machines, and then I get my clothes back on. I take one last trip to the restroom, and lo and behold! My kidney stone landed in that tiny strainer the doctor’s give you to use. It was about a quarter of an inch around. So tiny! How can something so tiny cause such giant pain?!
Last night, as I was gathering my thoughts together for this week’s blog, Zoe came into the living room after her bath showing me her hand. She had a bad splinter, and it was really hurting her. She had tried so hard to get it out by herself that it ended up breaking off the end point and made it almost impossible to get out. It had swollen up and was super tender. I told her next time that she should come to me first and I’d help her. By her trying to do it by herself, she actually made the situation worse. She kept apologizing over and over, and I told her it was alright, and that we would get it out eventually. But again I thought, how can something so tiny cause such giant pain?!
This whole idea of tiny input = GIANT output really got me to thinking. Sometimes we think it’s the big things that can really knock us down. For example, like I blogged about a few weeks ago, a tornado is a big thing. It can take an entire community out. Or maybe a death in the family. That’s a big thing that can knock the breath right out of us. But those things like natural disasters and loss of life don’t happen every day to us. It’s those little things that can happen over and over, day after day, that can really seem to wreak havoc in our lives. The Bible even mentions it in Song of Solomon 2:15 where it says, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom”. Those stinkin’ little foxes that steal our grapes! So annoying!
There are not just the little things that happen TO us that can cause great damage. But there’s the little things we DO that also cause great damage. For example, James 3:3-12 tells us how we need to tame our tongue. That the tongue is such a small part of the body and but can do such damage to the point of changing the course of one’s life! He compares our little tongues to bits in horse’s mouths and rudders on ships – such small things that can control so much. How many times has a misplaced word – unintentional or intentional – been said by my very tongue that has brought some sort of misery or pain to someone?! I’m sure thousands of times in my 37 years of life.
I remember a sermon preached by a traveling evangelist that really drove this point home to me when I was a sophomore in high school. I believe his name was Mikel French, and he preached a revival at Cathedral for several weeks. It hit me at a point in my life where I was really trying to make my faith my own and not my parents. I was trying to make decisions that would please God rather than my friends. That Sunday morning, I actually didn’t sit where I normally sat with the rest of the youth group, which was down in the front on the left side. The main thing that stuck out was an analogy about little pebbles. He talked about how if you take a little pebble, and then throw it into a lake or pond, it makes ripples in the water. And the ripples aren’t small… They may start off small, but then they become big ripples, much bigger than the pebble, and travel much further out than where the pebble actually went into the water. He said those pebbles are just like our attitudes. We can have one bad attitude towards someone, show a little unkindness, or say one hateful word, and before you know it, there are ripples of hurt feelings and/or anger, resulting in a damaged relationship. Such small things, like pebbles, can do a lot of damage.
As I was processing all of these thoughts for the blog, I began to really feel terrible about myself. I’m sure I’ve said things and done things that are still having a ripple effect with someone. And not the good kind of ripples, but the ones described above – ripples of hurt and pain. I immediately went back to the summer of 2004. Remember, that Memorial Day is when I gave birth to my first ever (and only!) kidney stone 🙂 Something so tiny that yielded such pain – without any benefit to anyone. But two months later, I gave birth to my first born child, my sweet baby girl Zoe Porter. And as I held her, I remember thinking, “How can someone so tiny make me fall so head-over-heels in giant love?” Something so tiny that yielded such joy – benefitting all who cross paths with that sweet, smiling, freckled face 🙂 That’s what I want to be about. The small things that cause love, not cause pain.
Make the small things count. Create ripples of kindness, goodness, and compassion. Don’t let the foxes steal your grapes. And in the words of Mother Teresa, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”