The emergency room.
So there he is, minding his own business, vacuuming.
Next thing I know Mike's laying on the bed in fetal position gasping, "There's something bad going on inside of me," and moaning. Moaning and groaning.
He wants to shower. Less than a minute later he's lying on the bathroom floor. In fetal position. Moaning.
He'd been sick earlier in the week with an upset stomach and other gastro-intestinal symptoms.
The moaning continues.
We decide a trip to the emergency room is in order. He heads for the truck. I scramble to find my shoes, purse, and car keys. I'm 30 seconds behind him. Next thing I know he's laying in the driveway. Moaning and clutching his abdomen.
We head down the hill with him alternating between telling me to hurry and telling me to quit driving so crazy. Laying in the backseat, every turn jars him and increases the throbbing pain.
We arrive at the E.R. with my shoes still sitting in the passenger seat. Hunched over he stumbles into the waiting room, still moaning. They grab him, rush him to a bed, and begin trying to hit a vein to place a catheter. He ran 10 miles that morning so he's dehydrated and they need a port to be able to give him pain medication.
The nurse asks on a scale from one to ten what level is your pain. "TEN!"
From the second we walked in, the doctors and nurses were suspecting kidney stones.
A CT scan confirmed the diagnosis. He had a kidney stone the size of a tomato seed lodged at the junction between his ureter and his bladder. (The ureters connect the kidneys to the bladder, the urethra connects the bladder to the outside world.)
For the next six hours Nadine is his new best friend. She has the morphine.
Finally, sweet relief. At least the pain level is now a "seven".
We are given a few options. One involves running a tube up the "channel" (the doctor's words) and placing a stent to provide an opening to let the backed up urine flow into the bladder. The other option involves running a basket up the "channel" and retrieving the offending stone. Hmmm.... not wanting anything in his "channel" we take option three: loading up on intravenous fluids, to see if we can flush the thing out, and Flomax to help the smooth muscle of the ureter to relax it's grasp on the stone. And a request to keep the morphine handy.
Thankfully, with the pain somewhat controlled---now at level 5---he was sent "upstairs" to the regular part of the hospital.
The plan worked. He made it through the night with only two more shots of morphine. In the morning, the pain level was about a two.
Apparently, the ureter had spit the stone into Mike's bladder.
The doctor sent him home with a paper filter that resembled a snowcone cup, and instructions to strain his urine and watch for the stone.
Sure enough, on Sunday evening Mike became the proud owner of a dark-brown-tomato-seed sized kidney stone.
Mike does not want to repeat this experience. Ever.