yep, even worse than you’ve imagined

Driving to the hospital at 11 p.m., Mary sitting shotgun and yelling, “Faster, faster!” Erik in the back with crippling, nausea-inducing, writhing pain, opening his door at every stoplight to retch on the asphalt.

All for an 8 mm kidney stone.

And it’s a good thing we started watching Modern Family last weekend, because Mary and I recognized every symptom when Erik started rolling on the floor in agony during family prayer.

I thought Modern Family was much too crude to watch with the family (and you’re either nodding in agreement or thinking I’m a prude), until last weekend when everyone was sad and lonely and tired and we turned on Modern Family because we had Madi’s Hulu login (even if we didn’t have Madi).

I don’t know. It was just perfect. We lounged on the couch with our coziest blankets, our fizziest drinks and laughed out loud at one episode after another.

And it’s a good thing we made it to episode 11, because then we knew Phil /Erik’s pain wouldn’t go away and we should go straight to the hospital.

He’s been hurting for months. In November he gave up sugar, in December he went in for a colonoscopy; a few weeks ago he had a (completely and totally benign) tumor removed– all in pursuit of answers to his constant question, “What is this horrible pain?”

After reciting his name/address/SS# a dozen times to the staff, rating his pain as an 11 on a scale of 1-10, and finally (after four hours) a third dose of morphine that got his pain under control, a CT scan revealed the 8 mm kidney stone keeping us up all night.

Have you had a kidney stone? Watched someone go through the misery? It’s like birthing a child but with no breaks between contractions, less sympathetic nurses, and no reward at the end.

There’s a strange moment when you’re in the middle of an emergency when you want the grown ups to sweep in. So I did what every reasonable adult would do and called my kids.

Xander came to the hospital right away and took Mary home. Since he “never sleeps,” Hans encouraged me to call anytime and Stef and Heather committed to come to the hospital in the morning. We can’t tell Gabe until Monday (and oh boy, will we have a lot to talk about).

And Ben? I purposely kept Ben in the dark. Erik’s kidney stone plunked down right in the middle of Utah Bar Testing. For the last 7 weeks, Ben’s spent 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, studying like a madman. With his brain nearly bursting with adjudication, probate, mitigating circumstances, litigant and trial de novo, he simply didn’t need to know about renal calculi, percutaneous nephrolithotomy and hyperuricemia.

It took until nearly 4:30 a.m. (and three doses) of morphine to get his pain under control (pro tip: ask for the morphine first). But in the morning, our amazing friend and neighbor (and Erik’s new urologist) performed surgery and left Erik with a stack of drugs and the cheerful warning, “You’re happy and drugged now, but you’re in for a rough week.”

So we’re home, and recovering. And Ben was incredibly grateful to be left in the dark to finish his exams.

Well, mostly Erik recovering. But hey, he needs someone to sit and watch season 2 of Modern Family with him. We have a lot of laughter to catch up on.

March 2, 2021



  1. tracy

    March 1, 2021

    Scary! I’m so glad he’s on the mend. And yes, Modern Family is the BEST…prude or not. xo

  2. angie

    March 1, 2021

    Hurray for Modern Family! And Best Wishes for a speedy recovery!

  3. Michelle Linford

    March 1, 2021

    My kidney stone wasn’t that big, but it was the worst pain ever. You have described it exactly as I did.

    “It’s like birthing a child but with no breaks between contractions, less sympathetic nurses, and no reward at the end.”

    Although it was a little bit satisfying to take my stone in a little baggie to the doctor. “That’s a h*** of a stone, he said.” (I passed it without surgery.)

    (Toradol was my magic drug, although I learn years later that it’s hard on kidneys?)

    Hoping for a swift recovery and that laughing doesn’t hurt too much for Erik.

  4. Montserrat Wadsworth

    March 2, 2021

    Yes! It is so miserable to watch my husband suffer and not be able to help take the pain away. When I told him that he replied, “Now you know how I felt watching you give birth.” Ha!

    Joseph also suffered a kidney stone in December. It passed through to his ureter but never made it to his bladder. Then he passed another stone. In January while taking our daughters up to BYU-I he experienced even more extreme pain. I finally convinced him to go to the ER there in Rexburg. They did a CT scan and found he had two kidney stones stuck in his left ureter – one 12 mm! and another 5 mm. He also had a 13 mm trying to pass into his ureter. We traveled home the next day and he had emergency surgery the day after. The ER doctor said he’d never seen a kidney stone that large actually pass from the kidney. Neither had his urologist who called him up when the ER sent him the CT scan. Thankfully he is all recovered and feels so much better.

    Hopefully Eric’s recovery will be quick! At least you’ve got some great things to watch together!


      March 4, 2021

      13 mm!!!!! Oh my! So thankful for modern medicine. Didn’t people just die of those back in the day?

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