I’m still trying to pass this damn kidney stone. I’ve not fought one this stubborn since my first, when I was 18 and in the Army. I had surgery to extract it, then had a stent installed. I remember my roommate telling me I looked like I was in pain all the time. That’s when the pain became conscious, and it explained why I was peeing blood.
I didn’t become alarmed until the pain overwhelmed me. Invincible youth. I was living in an apartment with my husband, who was away for training. I low-crawled to the next apartment and beat on the door. Two sleepy men opened the door, then looked down at me and called an ambulance.
I also recall I took a bath just before that, because I knew I needed medical intervention, and I was all sweaty and gross. The paramedics kept trying to give me oxygen while I fought them to quit messing with me, I was in pain, dammit. Finally, they figured out I was a soldier and took me to William Beaumont Army Medical Center, where I had the surgery.
While being assessed in the emergency room, they gave me a morphine drip to help with the pain. It didn’t work. It just added hurling to the party. I remember a nurse putting a tiny kidney-shaped basin under my chin to catch it; only I looked at it, then puked on the floor. I wanted to ask her if she was kidding first, but couldn’t speak.
I’d never heard of a kidney stone and thought for sure I was dying. It was the first time I had surgery and turned out to be quite an adventure. My mom said it was from eating meat, candy and drinking Mt. Dew. I figured she was right; she was almost always right. I didn’t realize it would continue plaguing me long after I stopped, though. Sigh.
I still ate in the mess hall, even after moving off-post. I wish I still had access to one. My unit was attached to the International dining hall. It was awesome. There were TV’s all over the place, usually on MTV. The salad bar was divine. And I got to eat with Japanese Air Force members, and soldiers from the United Arab Emirates. When we ran PT, the Islamic call to prayer blasted over the quad. It was my favorite unit.
I observed UAB officers prefer driving Mustang’s in custom painted neon colors, exclusively. You could tell which units were American by what was in the parking lot. The GI Cadillac back then was the Nissan Sentra. There were over twenty in various colors parked outside our barracks alone. I was friends with a guy who was a prince of some sort. It was a cultural mishmash of awesome. I miss it.
I miss living in the desert, too. Today, I awoke to rain, followed by hail, and then snow. It’s still snowing. I’m tired of this damn stone and want to get back to my life. At least I’ve done a lot of thinking about my novel. The last time I was in Denver, I saw a homeless man on the street outside my hotel. (I still say, “hi” to strangers I encounter briefly. In Sioux Falls, it’s rude to walk past someone without acknowledging them.) We made eye contact, and I recognized him from somewhere. Probably the Army.
I could tell he recognized me, as well. But we just stared as he walked on. I’ve been thinking about him since. I can’t remember where we met before, so I’m going to include him in my novel with an imagined life. I’m trying to reason with my ambition since I read a lot of epic serial stories. Part of me wants to write one, but Logic thinks it’s adorable. Logic is mean sometimes. Heh. I’m off to practice cussing during another wave of pain. (I’m an ace swearer when pain is the motivation.) 😂