Dave Gets Stoned

had barely finished writing and posting yesterday’s article about making time for Important things instead of just the Urgent, when something Really Urgent came up. I started passing a couple of kidney stones. Thanks to neighbour Doug I was whisked off to the hospital quickly, doped up with a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug called Toradol (ketorolac tromethamine) — a non-narcotic painkiller that worked nearly as well as the Demerol (meperidine hydrochloride) they gave me the first two times I had kidney stones, and without the spaciness and euphoria — and then I was sampled and scanned to confirm my diagnosis. It took two hours from the onset of the first severe and agonizing attack (an 11 on the Richter pain scale, as anyone who’s had one will tell you) until the Toradol kicked in. When it did, I just lay there, grateful, relieved, comfortable, content — doing nothing for three hours. No thinking, no writing, no planning, no worrying, no meditating, no questioning. Just lying there with a faint smile, relishing the calm, and just wanting it to go on and on.

There’s a lesson here, perhaps: There’s nothing like experiencing horrific pain or unbearable anguish to make you oh-so-grateful for a subsequent moment of mediocrity, of unfeeling, of pure, lazy contentment. Maybe a reason that so many people are so change-resistant and so content with the status quo, at least in its quieter moments, is that they live so much of their lives in such interminable and extreme dread, ground down to feelings of disconnection and misery and helplessness and hopelessness and fear, that they are simply grateful for the brief escapes to joy or contentment. Let someone else be responsible for the intractable. Maybe those relatively few of us armed with skills, with knowledge, with imagination, are being too hard on our fellow human beings who have no such armour. Human kind cannot bear very much reality, Eliot wrote. The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, wrote Thoreau.

I’m beginning to appreciate that perhaps we won’t be able to engage the vast majority of people in our world to entertain bold changes to make life better, until we help them to make their own lives peaceful and bearable. A tall order. We merely struggle with the Machine in Our Heads, while those who have been less gifted in their lives than we, struggle with demons that we cannot fully appreciate, except in moments (like mine yesterday) when we experience them first hand. It was quite humbling.

So my article this Sunday is going to be on compassion, sympathy, humility. Not enough of these things in this world.

None of this occurred to me while I was in the hospital, mind you. And I’m now proud owner of two tiny copper-coloured calcium kidney stones that look alarmingly like kidneys in miniature.

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14 Responses to Dave Gets Stoned

  1. Aleah says:

    Oh no! Sorry to hear about your ordeal. I have heard that the pain quite literally drives you into the fetal position. I hope to never fully understand what that must be like…LOL. Relax and appreciate the small comforts.

  2. Jon Husband says:

    I’m beginning to appreciate that perhaps we won’t be able to engage the vast majority of people in our world to entertain bold changes to make life better, until we help them to make their own lives peaceful and bearable.A tall order, but the only (and the essential) key … imhoAn order made taller and more difficult to fill by virtue of this type of political environment, increasingly encroaching on the affairs of most people in the world

  3. pig says:

    Ow! Sorry to hear it too. Glad (and impressed) you’ve turned the whole thing into an opportunity for more thoughtfulness/generosity:)

  4. David Parkinson says:

    My best wishes for a speedy recovery. Ow!

  5. Aleah says:

    Dave, I just wanted you to know that we all feel badly for you but…”this too shall pass.”I’m sorry, I had to – Come on, you must have chuckled a little. ;-)

  6. Ben says:

    I’ve been battling stones since Early monday morning, hoping to pass without using my full bottle of painkillers

  7. Herbinator says:

    Third time? One has to wonder at how the fickled finger of fate has so unfairly flown up up your nose … or, was that the bird of paradise? In any case, I’ll quaff a beer in honour of your statistical anomaly. Done.

  8. Octavio Lima says:

    Glad to know you’ve coped with it in a brave way. Cheers.

  9. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks, everyone. This time I’ve promised to follow doctor’s orders to prevent a recurrence — eight glasses of water every day. *bleah*

  10. Rayne says:

    Wow. Very sorry to hear this, but quite glad this is a little speed bump in the road. Hope you’re feeling a lot better now!

  11. dave davison says:

    Been thinking of you and not realizing you were going through a “rite of passage” Be Well -I am discovering some neat stuff re AHA- more later.

  12. David Jones says:

    About shocked into awareness:1. After having lived in the Arctic, I now relate in an entirely different way to trees and fresh fruit and vegetables. And always will.PS I also have a very strong view on the ethics (absence of actually) of social / anthropological field studies.2. After an industrial accident (a long time ago) that mercifully only tore my right hand up – but could have just have easily have taken my head off – I’ve been much more conscious of where my body is in relative space.3. Having worked with, and studied with, and experienced the best, I am now much more able to deal with the worst – when they come my way. I wish I had had these experiences a long time ago.Thanks Dave for driving and allowing a re-classification of experiential data.

  13. Eric Hancock says:

    Yikes. So sorry you had to go through that.

  14. Zach says:

    But what about the doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, pharmacists, researchers, factory workers, shipping personal, etc, etc, who all worked so that your suffering would be eased? Glad to hear you’re alright Dave.

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