Jeff O’Donnell: Many people have a day of infamy. Mine was September 3, 2003. I was a nursing professor and I had just done my schpeel at New Student Orientation. What I was teaching what my research was, where my office was my office hours. I walked out of the lecture hall and doubled over in pain, lower back pain. I managed to get through that enough to get to my office, get my stuff, get in the car and drive the 10 miles to home and spoke to my wife and said, "I am in really major, major pain. We either need to go to an ER or you need to call our GP."
Thankfully, we had this amazing GP who said, "Yes, sure, bring him over." That was the start of my wife becoming a caretaker for a myeloma patient. We went to his office. His initial thought, given that it was lower back and a little bit on either side of my spine, "That might be kidneys." He gave me some significant pain meds and that helped things significantly and said, "Here's a kidney specialist, a nephrologist, that you should go see."
I did, and got an appointment on an emergency basis the next day, and went, and he said, "Based upon what I'm seeing, it's possible, let's get a scan." We set up a scan for the next day, and I managed to keep dealing with the pain meds and get into a tube for a scan.
Sure enough, he saw a number of stones in both kidneys Okay. He said, "Let's wait and see what happens over a week to see if you pass them. Here's a wonderful little screen cup for you to pee into to catch them." Nothing happened. At the end of the week, I called him and said, "Sorry, nothing came out and I'm still in significant pain."
Well, I had not realized what pain could be until he said, kidneys. For the men in the audience, they can understand how that might be a little on the painful side.
He was able to break up some of the stones. The hope was that in the next week, I would be able to pass that. By this point in time, many people had said to me, "You realize that passing kidney stones for men is not far off from the equivalent pain of a woman giving birth to a child." Then having passed a couple, I was in full agreement with that concept. It was incredibly painful but after the stones were passed, I didn't have any pain relief. I went back to my GP and I said, "No idea why, but I've passed the stones and I am still in a tremendous amount of pain."
[END OF AUDIO]