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Posted on Monday, March 30th, 2009

Dave!When you think of modern Western medicine, you envision all this high-tech gadgetry and miraculous resources like they have in ER or Grey's Anatomy. And, in many ways, it's true... the toys and technology that doctor's have available to them are state-of-the-art and almost magical with the cool stuff they can do. But in so many ways doctors are fumbling around in the dark ages, and I am beyond confused as to why that should be.

When I went to the Emergency Room during my layover at Sea-Tac last Thursday, they took a CAT scan so they could see what was going on inside of me. On Friday when I made my Monday appointment, my Wenatchee doctor asked if I would have the CAT scan sent to them. Can you guess what happens when I ask?

  1. "No problem, we can transfer the scan via MediNet, a standardized network that medical institutions use to share data."
  2. "No problem, if you get me your doctor's email address I'll send it right over."
  3. "You mean like send a CD in the mail? I guess we can do that..."

The answer, of course, is "C"... and I ended up begging them to FedEx it for Saturday Delivery (using my FedEx account number) so that it would be there when I arrived today at 8:30am. Turns out they DID FedEx it, but DIDN'T send it Saturday Delivery, so the CAT scan was never there for my doctor to look at. All this effort was just a waste of time and money, because I ended up having to get X-rays anyway.

The Percocet I was given to manage my extreme pain stopped working last night around 9:30pm. By the time this morning's appointment arrived, I was in total agony. For women, I hear that having kidney stones is as painful as childbirth. For guys, you have to envision somebody kicking you in the balls as hard as they can over and over and over again...

DaveToon Kick in the Balls

Now, keeping in mind that I am doubled over in horrendous pain and barely able to keep from screaming, what do you think the nurse says to me as I am waiting for my doctor to show up...

  1. "You're obviously in a lot of pain... I'll have somebody get you some medication."
  2. "Hold on just a little while longer... the doctor will be here ASAP."
  3. "I need you to fill out this four-page booklet of stupid-ass questions such as 'Does your medical condition make you sad?' and 'If nothing can be done to improve your condition, would you be upset?'"

And, yes, the answer is "C" again. Never mind that I could barely hold a pen, she wanted me to fill out a booklet of stupid-ass questions. The thing that really kills me is that it never even occurred to her that she could read the questions out loud and write down my answers for me. When I say "I don't think I can fill it out right now," her solution is to set it in my lap and bail. Lovely.

Anyway, eventually my doctor comes in and presents me with two choices...

  1. "I can prescribe some better pain medication and get you some pills to help the stone pass naturally."
  2. "I can put you to sleep, insert a laser up your penis, make my way up to the stone, zap it into three or four pieces, then put a stint in your bladder until everything is back to normal."

Given the pain I was in, I actually considered the old "laser up your penis" trick... until I realized that it involved SHOVING A LASER UP MY PENIS... at which time I went for the pills. And that was that. The doctor's assistant came in and shot me full of drugs. The pain subsided in about 15 minutes. I got my prescriptions filled. I went back to work.

Life goes on.

Categories: DaveLife 2009Click To It: Permalink


  1. DutchBitch says:

    OMG that story actually made me cringe… hope it passes soon!

  2. sizzle says:

    That sounds horrific. I hope they pass soon!

  3. Crail00 says:

    Wow – A laser up your penis? You would be better with a cock-tail of pain medications.

  4. Heather says:

    I’m honestly surprised that your doctor(s) did not mention anything about your diet.

    My youngest brother had difficulty with passing them all the time. He finally saw a specialist who told him he could no longer eat beans, nuts, berries, and a couple of other things which escape me right now. He had to start drinking a minimum amount of water, which he solved with having what he called a “camel hump” on his back and a straw that wrapped around so he could drink from it (I’ve seen it at outdoor stores).

    A laser? Little brother also was told that his could have been blasted using ultrasound, but I’d have to ask him more about it. It’s been a few years since he’s had an attack of stones, but he says it is in large part due to the diet.

  5. Finn says:

    But does the pain medication keep you comfortable while the other one helps you pass the stone? Because if the laser would get the job done faster and with less pain, that’s what I would have opted for. Of course, I’ve had a child, so a laser in my urethra would have been no big deal.

  6. Sybil Law says:

    Wow – what’s better than Percocet? Heroin?!
    Anyway – glad you at least got there and feel better.
    Might be time for a new doctor, though. Nurse Ratchet sounds like an imbecile!

  7. Avitable says:

    You should only have lasers inserted in your penis for fun, never for professional reasons.

  8. Unreal. I don’t know how you can work like that. I wish there was more they could do to help.

  9. Sue (BSG) says:

    Ouch, Ouch, Ouch. I’ll take childbirth over kidney stones any day. At least we get epidurals.

    All I could think about when I read the laser-up-the-penis part was how painful it was to get a catheter many years ago (it hurts women, too).

    I seriously hope you get major relief soon.

  10. Twinkie says:

    The lack of sympathy in the medical field really trips me out.

  11. Hilly says:

    I hate it when you are in this much pain, babe. However, I so think you should just get the laser in the penis because it sounds amusing.

    Okay, maybe not *amusing* per se. 😉

  12. Nicole says:

    Who cares what they do as long as you’re not awake to feel it? 😉

  13. Mooselet says:

    Fucking nurse… there’s someone who needs to find a new career.

    Get the laser up your bits next time. I know guys have issues with things like that, but at least it would be over and done with.

  14. I usually find lasers & genitalia not being the best of friends actually.

  15. ~jtm says:

    I can’t even imagine your pain and I’ve had 2 enormous children but cry when getting my eyebrows waxed, go figure. Anyway, my husband piped in that the stones are obviously caused by the yaeger bombs.
    I’ll kick him in the nuts for you.
    Hope they pass soon.

  16. Becky says:

    I’m so sorry that you were on the receiving end of such horrible nursing care. Its that kind of non-thinking, asinine care that really pisses me off.

    And as far as your CT scan results, it is medical secret fact that doctors try to avoid talking to one another. That way they can each pretend to be in charge and think that they’re right….I see this kind of crap everyday. I would like to say that I’m an RN, but in reality I’m a doctor babysitter.

    Hope you feel better quickly!!

  17. Mik says:

    One of our grand daughter’s is suffering from kidney stones and it is excruciating to watch the pain.

    Feeling for you, hope you get them sorted soon.

  18. Cris says:

    OK first thought is… wow… like the ultimate game of asteroids! Only when you accidentally shoot the wrong stones, Dave loses!

    Sadly the second thought was of meds my Dad was told about by his druggists. Actually its B6 and Magnesium. There is an over the counter mix of the two that will supposedly keep you from forming stones. Dad swears it helped him.

    Yes I am ashamed my first thought was not to help but how cool it would be to shoot calcium stones floating around inside a person.

  19. John says:


    RE: “…Turns out they DID FedEx it, but DIDN’T send it Saturday Delivery, so the CAT scan was never there for my doctor to look at.”

    The recently passed stimulus bill is to provide $20B to incentivize doctors to adopt EMRs (Electronic Medical Records) so that situations such as yours may be handled more expediently in the future. Most hospital systems are already on an EMR system, but until more of the medical community gets with the program, there are a lot of loose ends, which still translates to Stone Age standard operation procedure. Hope you’re feeling better. : )

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