Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Tuesday’s all day rain enabled me to finish the blog and post it on the early side yesterday.  Good thing I did because about half an hour later I suddenly felt a worsening pain in my lower left back.  Within minutes I recognized the tell tale signs of an old and very painful enemy.  Kidney Stone!!!!

Anyone ever having a kidney stone will understand the world of pain I am talking about.  Had one back in October of 07.  We were heading for the Southwest at the time when I ended up in a hospital emergency room in Limon, Colorado.

Tuesday nights pain just continued to get worse.  Tried a couple extra strength Tylenol but who was I trying to kid.  Last place I wanted to go was the hospital again but by 10 o’clock I could not stand the pain any longer and through in the  towel.  I knew what this was going to do to our health insurance coverage next year.
Kelly had gone to bed but I had to wake her up.  Threw up in the washroom because of the pain.  Kelly scrambled to get dressed and we were soon in the Jeep with our Garmin looking for a hospital.  At least Kelly got dressed, I didn’t.  I was still in my pajamas.  You will remember my mismatched night attire from a few blogs ago.  A few wrong turns along the way but we finally managed to find THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA MEDICAL CENTER.  You may remember this hospital as the one Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was taken to after being shot on January 8th of this year during a meeting with constituents in a Tucson shopping plaza.

I’m not going to go into a long detailed story about what happened next so let’s just give the hospital the benefit of the doubt and say they were very busy I guess.  Despite my obvious writhing in pain I did not receive a saving shot of morphine until nearly two hours after walking through the doors of the Emergency room.  After all, the reams of paperwork are of prime concern, right!!
I was placed on a comfy bed in an isolation room with a pressure/heart/temperature monitoring system on one arm and and an IV drip on the other.  That IV thing was painful going into my arm.  Buckets of blood were drained.  Turns out, despite the pain, I was the lucky one though.  Poor Kelly spent the entire night sitting on a chair near my bed.  I insisted she go back to the rig but she opted to stay.  If you knew of Kelly’s sleep priority you would understand her sacrifice.

The morphine shot only took the edge of the pain and at 3 a.m. they administered something else called, T?????  and that did the trick in bringing the pain factor down to zero.  Also put me into the woozy zone.  I remember seeing Kelly sitting at an odd angle in the straight backed chair with eyes closed trying to find a few scraps of sleep.
Sometime in the predawn hours I was wheeled down a series of hallways finally ending up face to face with a ‘Cat Scan’ machine.  This was a painless procedure that took only a few minutes.  Noticed in that short period of time the Scan operator received 7 cell phone calls.

A Doctor finally came in sometime later apologizing profusely for all the delays that had occurred after we had first entered the hospital.  He also had the results of the Cat Scan.  Not so good:((  I have a large 1.5 centimeter kidney stone that is too large to be pass naturally.  Only 3 ways to get a stone that large out of the human body.  Dynamite, ultra sound waves to smash the stone and…..well, let’s just say the third procedure just kinda makes my eyes water a bit!!

I was going to have to see a Urologist as soon as possible because they are the people who perform those kinds of procedures.  As hard as he tried, the Doctor could not get me an appointment until December 21rst.  Not good but that is the way it is.  I have to be back at the Tucson hospital at 10 a.m. to have this large rock removed one way or the other.  Maybe the dynamite option would be quick and painless. 
Kelly did manage to slip back to our rig for an hour around 6:30 to let the poor little doggy guys out for a pee.  She returned to the hospital and we waited until after nine to get the final paperwork and prescriptions all worked out.  I am not a pill guy and do not like having to take pills of any kind but it looks like the next 7 days they have me on some pretty powerful pain killing drugs.  Oxycodone 325mg and Ibuprofen 800mg.  It was another 40 minute wait at the hospitals pharmacy to get these prescriptions filled.  And yes, I was aware of the stares I was getting with my mismatched plaid pajama outfit, old green robe, brown hush puppies and beige baseball with Bayfield Bunch Canada written on it.

How nice it was to walk out of that 10 hour hospital ordeal into a bright sunny morning.  The snow on the surrounding mountains looked especially beautiful and picturesque.  Of all large cites in North America I think Tucson is one of my favs.  I drove the mile or so back to the rig making the usual wrong turns of course.  Kelly made those same  wrong turns when driving back earlier in the dark in the morning rush.
We weren’t long in getting the rig packed up for travel and by 10:35 we rolled out of the Lazy Days service yard headed for Cochise County and the Ranch.  I just kept marveling at the snow capped mountains and blue skies with big white puffy clouds.  What a great feeling it was knowing we were heading for the land of many memories.

A right turn off I-10 on highway 90 at Benson took us south past the Kartchner Caverns and down the San Pedro Valley.  The landscape took on a warm familiar look as I gazed across the Valley at the Dragoon Mountains to the East.  Straight ahead lay the memorable Huachuca Mountains.  The domed Naco Peak in Mexico loomed high off the desert floor.  To the east of Naco Peak lay the Mule Mountains with their arms lovingly wrapped around their little Alpine jewel, Bisbee.
South of Tombstone we swung east on Davis Road and rolled right on through between the Dragoon and Mule Mountains.  This winding road over hill and dale led us into the Sulphur Springs Valley where the Ranch is located.  How great it was to once again see the heavily snow capped Chiricahua Mountains to the far left and the Swiss Helm Mountains straight ahead.  So many memories and so many memories to come.
Rolled through the gates of the ranch at 12:30 making it in slightly under 2 hours from Tucson.  Jeanie and Ray were working about in the yard and how great to see them again.  Ranch dogs Pearce and Gleeson are fine but have noticeably slowed down from a couple years ago when we were here.  Chickens are all doing great but don’t lay eggs anymore.  Charlie the cat has moved indoors.  And, ranch donkeys Poncho and Sarah are still here but married off their young daughter Nellie to a handsome young donkey fellow up the valley.
Kelly and Jeanie headed off to Sierra Vista for a little shopping while Ray and I got caught up on 'what’s new'.  So nice to be back at the Ranch again after a couple years.  Last year we were at a different property a few miles away over near Elfrida.  Awwww yes, let those big beautiful sunrises and sunsets begin:))
GROANER’S CORNER:((  After a long, dry sermon, the minister announced that he wished to meet with the board following the close of the service.
The first man to arrive and greet the minister was a total stranger. "You misunderstood my announcement. This is a meeting of the board members," explained the minister.
"I know," said the man, "but if there is anyone here more bored than I am, then I'd like to meet him..."

The only thing better than right now  will someday be the memories of
right  now...AL.


  1. Al, so sorry to hear about your kidney stone problem. I've had two attacks of them and must admit it was the most pain I've ever experienced. I was able to pass mine and was sure glad to get that all over. Hope you get the problem taken care of real soon.

    I don't think I would have the nerve to be that far from a hospital with a kidney stone problem, but to each his own.

  2. I vote you get them blasted, it's the least painful way I know. Did they possibly put in a stint so the stone won't create a blockage? I can sympathize with you my friend, I've had em and wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy. Stay safe.

  3. It must have been some pain if morphine didn't get rid of it. I know they probably told you, and it's written all over the pill bottle, but please be sure to take ibuprofen with food or a glass of milk. Good luck.

  4. Sorry to see the way in which you had to break in your new toilet. "Lucky" I suppose that you were still at Lazy Days. Thankfully I've never had this affliction (yet), but one of my brothers-in-law had a bout a few years back, and the pain was so bad he simply passed out.
    I think his 'passed', and hopefully the ultra sound method will sort it out for you. Up your water intake for sure.
    Further reading here. Take care.

  5. Al you and Kelly are made of tough stuff for sure. I have been debating whether or not to continue into the Desert for a little boondocking with Bob's condition, but you have given us inspiration. I have learned so much from your Blog ! I hope you are up and at 'em and feeling your old self in no time at all. Take care.

  6. Sorry to hear about your hospital visit, but at least you have some pain relive and a fix in the near future. The Ranch sounds like a nice place. To bad we didn't get a chance to meet you, we are in Benson until, thursday morning heading west to Picacho Peak.

  7. Oh, ouch Al--the nurse in me knows how much pain you were going through and to not get anything to relieve that pain for two hours, shame on them! My brother has had two stones removed with ultra sound. Take your pain meds if necessary and enjoy the ranch.

  8. wow so sorry Al to hear of your kidney stones..there is nothing careful driving with all those meds in you...our daughter just went thru that after having a surgery a week before..they had to rush her to the OR last week and remove them...hope you get it all sorted out...good luck....

  9. I've never had one GOD bless, but as a child I saw my father in immense pain and bedridden for a week till it passed. Get Well Soon!

  10. Sorry to hear about your pain and lengthy hospital visit. I imagine the wait times would be longer in Ontario - for the doctor and the procedure.

    Plus, I bet you will recoup quicker in Arizona ;)


  11. Al -- Hope the pain meds work for you in the interim. Your experience sounds absolutely miserable, and frustrating (the wait for something to be done at the hospital). You're a brave soul, heading for the ranch as soon as you were released.

    We finally left Datil Saturday after a more substantial snow (with more predicted) & are in Yuma. We'll be tracking you to see if you end up anywhere in our vicinity...

  12. hope the pain meds help until the dynamite procedure!!..not to worry though,Al..those of us that work in the hospital environment have seen it all..your ensemble was just fine and you probably fit right in with all the other middle of the night visitors!!

  13. Drat the bad luck hope this doesn't set your plans for the winter back, In a couple weeks it will be just a memory. Good luck with the pain management for the next week. Sam & Donna...

  14. With you being doped up on those pain meds, I sure hope Kelly was doing the driving. Six days will be a long time to wait for relief. Best wishes.

  15. We almost met yesterday on Davis Road. I was heading west as you were going east.

    The Huachuca Mountains with the cloud band was there for me also, just like your first picture.

    The last picture captioned ON DAVIS ROAD... is the old Davis Ranch. I don't know who owns it now.

  16. Ouch! So sorry to hear about your ordeal, I know how painful kidney stones are. Take your pain meds as directed and hopefully you can stay comfortable til you get it tended to.

  17. Sorry to hear about the kidney stones, wishing you a fast recovery.

  18. Holy cow, that sounds like the Canadian health care system!

  19. Sorry to hear about your hospital visit, I hope things work out well for you.

  20. WOW we were only kidding about holding it until the "head" got fixed. Gotta you in our prayers.

  21. Good luck, Al, getting through to Wed! I sure hope they can minimize that little devil and get it out of there painlessly!!
    Relax and enjoy the Ranch!

  22. OUCH! Never had one! Don't want one! Glad you were still in Tucson instead of 2 hours away when the pain struck! Take it easy... it will soon be history!

  23. So sorry to hear about your kidney stone Al. I do feel for you as I have been in the same situation 3 times myself.I'd rather deliver a baby than a kidney stone, as least you get something worthwhile after going through all that pain. It's shameful that you had to wait 2 hrs. in a hospital emergency room while in such pain.I certainly do hope you're able to get this taken care of right away & back to your old self again soon. Will keep you in my prayers, Gayle Pietz

  24. DearAl, we wish you a painless procedure to get "off the rock" when the time arrives.

  25. I've seen friends with kidney stones and I wouldn't wish that pain on anyone. I had gallstones a hundred years ago and they were bad enough. Hope the pain meds help you get through to your appt. I think zapping them would be the easiest way. Hope you can relax a bit at the Ranch.

  26. Hey Al sorry to hear about your kidney stone problem that sucks big time!! Hope your ok and not in to much pain for the next few days hang in there! Jeremy our son had one years ago and had the blasting done (hate to tell you for him it was really painfull)but then this was 20 years ago or so! I'm sure things have changed! Manny and I wish you all the best

  27. Sorry to hear about your kidney stone problems and your emergency wait. But you still got better treatment than I did in Canada. I was in Emergency for 30 hrs 2 weeks ago before they could find me a bed to admit me. I got care in emerg right away but there is a big bed shortage around here. Be thankfful you were only there for 10 hrs. Anne

  28. Kidney stones are indeed very painful. I was wincing when I heard your story.

    One thing you might want to do is get in touch with your travel medical. They may insist that you return to Canada for the operation otherwise they might not pay. Just a heads up!

  29. Al, so sorry about the stone. I've heard that the ultrasound is the easiest way to go. My brother-in-law has problems with stones, and it seems to me that's what he had. Everyone is different, though, and has different circumstances. I can't believe they are making you wait until 12/21.

    Wishing you and Kelly the best. Keep us posted.

  30. Al, Al, Al...I sooo feel your pain. That "blasting" is called Lithotrypsy, and I have had it done twice. My first stone was in 1974, pregnant with 3rd child, and they couldn't to ANYTHING till she was born. At that time they didn't have such a thing as Lithotrypsy, and they opened up my back cause the stone was grown into my left kidney. I was in the hospital 3 weeks and missed my brother's wedding. The "litho" is outpatient stuff...Take the drugs if need be and keep us all informed. Yep, a kidney stone IS worse than having a baby!!

  31. Al, Al Al! I pray you are feeling better quickly! Thank goodness you have Kelly there. And of course Motor and Pheebs who I am sure are helping Kelly take care of you. I'm sorry it is a kidney stone, but hey, if that's what it took to get a pic of you in your jammies.... ;)

  32. Sorry to hear about your Kidney Stone problem hopefully when you see the specialist the next time it will be resolved.

    Not the way you want to be spending your exploring time checking out the inside of the rig.

    It's about time.

  33. All I can say is "ouch"!
    I am new to alot of these "full time" blogs. What is the Ranch?
    We were in Sierra Vista in '73. My husband was stationed there with the Army. Would love to go back and see it through our "mature" eyes.

  34. Sorry to hear of your problems Al...hope they get you fixed up!

  35. Sorry to hear of your problems Al...hope they get you fixed up!

  36. Oh I am SO SORRY to hear about the hospital visit. I'm hoping the "procedure" to get that stone out will not be too horrible. We'll be keeping all our fingers and paws crossed for you over here!

  37. Al, sure hope you can shed that stone without too much additional pain;)

  38. Al, so sorry to hear of your misery! No fun to go through all that. Hope the can get in and get that thing gone before long. Then, maybe Kelly can finally catch up on her sleep. We're praying for you all.

  39. Luckily I've never had them, but from what I've heard they are something else. Best wishes for a good outcome.

  40. Al, Oh Dear ! Certainly not what anybody expected when they opened your Blog today.

    I haven't had kidney stones (yet) but I have had a herniated disc pressing down on the sciatic I know that unbearable pain that no pain meds can relieve.

    I also would not want to be that far from a Hospital with that condition. I would have pulled into the closest place I could find until the procedure is done !!

  41. By the time I read your post you already had 40 comments. I didn't read many of them, but I do want to add that I'm glad you survived your hospital ordeal.

    Do be careful driving when you take those pain killers!

    I once wiped out part of the garage when I was taking cold medicine!

  42. Al, I am so sorry to hear about your kidney stones, ouch! Hope everything works out ok. We were in the Benson area a few weeks ago, we really love that area of AZ.

  43. Had a kidney stone shortly after my son was born. It was definitely worse pain than childbirth.
    Mine was blasted out with lazers. It too, was too big to pass naturally.
    I asked a few times how to avoid ever getting that again, and was told there is no "cure", they just come as they please.
    I feel your pain for sure.
    I hope the drugs at least help a little until you get them sorted out.
    You sure are in some pretty country down there though. And the nice thing is that you don't have to take time off work or go back to work being sick!


  44. Glad you are now at the ranch...a place you love, where you and Kelly can relax and take it easy. Looked up the ranch on Google earth & recognized the area!...we spent some time last February wandering the backroads there as we meandered our way to Bisbee. Love the "vast vistas" and the majestic mountains. Thankful that you have the medical care to deal with that kidney stone.

  45. If all your readers get together and make one big concentrated thought on having that stone just disappear, I'd vote for it. So, positive thoughts coming your way, Al. Hope you can feel better on your own without the big city hospital!


  46. Sure know about that pain! I passed 4 of them in two months! Worst 2 months of my life...and I still have 6 more of them sleaping in my left kidney...

    Hope you feel better soon!