Years later. One evening after dinner, an intense pain hit Jeff in the gut. It doubled him over, caused a serious sweat but then almost instantly disappeared. He announced he must be extra gassy. I worried about it a little, but he said he felt fine.
About a week later, he excused himself from the den and said, “I’ll be right back.” I watched him walk away and thought he was walking oddly, but so many of his medications caused digestive issues, I shrugged it off as he’d probably just been in a hurry.
The TV show we were watching ended, and I went to brush my teeth. I flipped the light switch in our bedroom, and screamed. All I could see was Jeff’s feet and the top of his back. He was on the floor on his hands and knees, shaking, and sweat was pouring off him.
When I came around the bed, Jeff grunted, “thought it would pass…” Confused, I barked, “How come I didn’t know you had kidney stones!” He put a hand on the bed and tried to push himself into a standing position. That ended badly, sliding him back to the floor, bent in half. “I don’t…” he wheezed. “Stomach pain.”
“Same as before?” I asked. “Yeah” he gasped, “Water…” I jumped around him and came back with a bathroom Dixie cup. Jeff gulped it, and asked for more. He seemed to be getting his breathing under control, but then reported, “…getting worse.” “I’m going to call the ambulance,” I told him.
“No! No!” he protested. “I’ll be ok, just give me a minute. It always go away…” By then I had figured out, he’d had more than just the two attacks I knew about. “How many have you had?” I angrily shouted. “Just a few…” he answered. “How about giving me a number?” I demanded.
“‘Bout once a day,” he huffed, resulting in my swearing, a lot. Usually, my creative cursing made Jeff laugh. Not this time, though. I asked if he’d called the doctor, and of course, he said he hadn’t. “Eating lots of Tums” seemed to help, so his plan was to mention at his next appointment. “Tums?” I still questioned. “How many Tums does it take.” “A handful'” was Jeff’s answer. My blood pressure was on it’s way up, when Jeff cried out in pain.
“I’m calling…” I told him. “No, no!” he protested, “It’ll be expensive. I’m getting better.”
“No, you’re not!” I cried in frustration. “Yes, I am!” he insisted. “I’ll call the doctor tomorrow if it doesn’t get better.”
“Listen, Jeff.” I put my hand on his shoulder, squatted down to look him in the eye and issued an ultimatum. “Unless you can get up off this floor in the next 30 seconds, I’m calling.”
He looked at me, looked at the bed, looked down at the floor. He took a rattled breath, hung his head even lower in painful defeat and grunted, “…call…”
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