“Do you have fever”, said the nurse at the Ruby Hall hospital’s emergency ward.
“No”, I said.
“Do you feel pain below your tummy”, she asked.
“No”, I said.
She twisted her eyebrows and I sensed that she wasn’t too happy serving a patient who had absolutely no complaints and was yet brought to the emergency ward at this hour. She clearly had her hands full and had no time for my field trip.
It was October 2014, when a tiny kidney stone I assume, had wreaked havoc in my life. I had retired to my bedroom as usual and was reading when a sudden pain erupted in my lower abdomen and few minutes later I was bawling like a baby. A couple weeks ago, my husband met with a fatal accident on the Mumbai Pune expressway that fractured his leg. He was recovering from the surgery hence was bed-ridden. He called out to my in-laws who were in the next bedroom. They were always on guard since the past few weeks hadn’t been very pleasant.
They helped me get into an auto and we went to the Ruby Hospital that was a 10-minute ride from our home. Usually a midnight rush to the hospital should be motivated by some visual injury but that’s the trick with kidney stones. The pain is tremendous and yet there is no visible proof of it. As we reached the hospital, my pain had gradually subsided and by the time I was plonked on those beds in the emergency ward, it had pretty much gone. I felt foolish answering the nurse’s questions who was trying her best to calm me down but there wasn’t much work required. She still gave me an antibiotic and called me the next day for a sonography to confirm if the pain was due to a stone.
My mother-in-law and I waited outside the hospital while my father in law went to get an auto for us to go back home. I felt embarrassed since I had woken them up from their sleep to rush to the hospital for a pain that didn’t even last that long. For the first time in years my mother in law and I took the longest pause in our conversation and I could sense the unspoken words.
Guilt ridden and at a loss of appropriate words, I managed a feeble sorry. The next day, we came in to get a sonography done and surprisingly the sonographer found no stone. I was quite sure it was a stone since all my google search had pointed to it. Google for most of us has been a savior and in some years,could turn all of us into doctors with all the torrent of information around. I came home with the usual dosage of medicine to subside whatever source of pain it was and returned to my world. I had been a lazy workaholic at office. To explain I was workaholic to the extent that I was lazy about having water or visiting the loo for long hours and promise myself daily that I would be better the next day. For a maniac like me, I even downloaded an app on my mobile that rang an alarm to remind me of a water break but it was treated like the usual morning alarm.
After about 3 months the pain resurfaced and this time it prepared to last longer. I called off-sick at work and visited the doctor who asked me to get admitted in the hospital immediately.
“What is your profession?”, he asked while filling out some forms.
“I’m a software engineer.”, I said feeling proud. He smirked and went on to recite statistics of how common it was for software engineers to develop stones and how we ruined our life choosing this profession. Oh well. The next 3 weeks were terrible since it was the first time in my life that I was admitted to a hospital. Kidney stones aren’t life threatening but in a dramatic way my life flashed before my eyes. I even prepared a will of my meager savings and gave a small speech about life, to my husband while at it.
The stone was clearly playing games with my kidney as well as my mind. If only I had taken those trips to the water station at office, perhaps it would have saved me all the drama. I figured much later that a large chunk of my savings was washed away by the stone, it seemed like it had its own will.