“You rocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!” Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
No, not all of these stories are about marijuana, but it’s an apt title considering how recently I’ve been plagued by stones in a variety of ways. This first tale is, however, about my terrible relationship with Mary Jane…
1) When I was a teenager, I tried weed a couple of times. I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience—it made me feel overly anxious and stressed out rather than all mellow and funny like the movies of the 70s and early 80s had promised. I’d never touched the stuff since, aside from using CBD oil and THC cream on my shoulder topically, but recently my daughter got a vape pen. “Do you want to try it?” she asked one evening before we were about to watch a movie. So I did. 10 minutes later, I felt absolutely no different. “Give me another hit,” I asked, and she obliged. Suddenly, and almost immediately, everything went dark and I felt myself sinking slowly onto the kitchen floor, where I lay for several minutes while everyone tried to figure out what to do with me. I was finally able to make it upstairs where I lay on the bed giggling in a panicky kind of way, while Kate kept me company. After about half an hour, I felt stable enough to put on pajamas and go back downstairs, but I still have no idea what movie we watched. Ken can’t remember either but that’s not because he was also stoned—he’s just old and has a bad memory. As for me, I won’t be imbibing again.
2) A few weeks ago, I was on Facebook Marketplace and saw an ad for a rock tumbler, a “professional National Geographic” model. We’d had a rock tumbler years ago but it broke, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember why we hadn’t replaced it. So I bought this one. It was a great deal, having only been used once, and still had two sets of gems and grit to have fun with. Why on earth would anyone be selling such a cool machine for so little money? I thought to myself. I put the rough gems and the grit in the barrel, plugged it in, and fired it up. Then I simultaneously remembered why we had never replaced the old rock tumbler, and completely understood why a person would sell theirs after one use. If you know me at all, you know that I have misophonia—like Nature, I abhor a vacuum and anything else that makes a loud noise. And this thing functions at the same decibel level as a vacuum cleaner, which I had conveniently forgotten. We started out with it in our back TV room but it was so loud that Kate and her boyfriend put a cardboard box over it to muffle the sound slightly. That didn’t help much, tempting me to throw it out the nearest window, so I put it in our back bathroom, where it stayed for three weeks, chattering away like a small demon, until I’d finally had enough of both the racket, which I could hear in my office, and of yelling, “Who left the bathroom door open?!” I didn’t even make it to the last round of fine grit—I looked at the gems after the second-last polish and declared them good enough. Still, the gems looked nice, and on Friday I went to a local craft store and bought all kinds of things to turn them into jewelry. And because I really like smooth polished rocks, Ken promised that we could start it back up in the summer out back in his workshop.
3) And finally, the stone story that takes the proverbial cake. Almost a month ago, on a Friday night, I woke up in the night in terrible pain. I was about to ask Ken to take me to the hospital when it suddenly stopped. But for the rest of the weekend, I still felt awful. On the next Tuesday, I had an appointment with my doctor, he of the dick-ish bedside manner, about my shoulder, about which he bluntly stated he could do nothing about and to go back to the surgeon*. Then strangely, he asked, “So how is everything else going?” and I mistakenly took this as a cue that I might be allowed to discuss more than one ailment in contravention of his policy.
Me: Actually, I think I might have a kidney stone. I had this terrible pain on the weekend starting here and ending here (*demonstrates*) and I’m still having symptoms, like a UTI maybe?
Doctor: So I’m retiring in about 3 months and my patients will all be moving to a practice in Kitchener…
And that was that. Until the next weekend, when I got fed up and went to the urgent care clinic where, despite the absence of any infection, they gave me antibiotics. Those were as helpful as my family doctor who, despite my unwillingness, I had to call again the next week, still suffering from a lot of pain. But my timing was excellent! My doctor was away and his locum saw me instead. She ordered a lot of tests, including an ultrasound. But while waiting for the results, last Monday morning around 3 am, I woke up again in terrible pain. And it got worse. AND THEN IT GOT EVEN WORSE. Ken rushed me to the hospital where I saw a very nice, very young, VERY laidback doctor who ordered another ultrasound which showed—surprise, surprise—a kidney stone slowly making its way towards my nether regions.
Emergency Doctor: No wonder you’ve been in so much pain. It’s about 6mm.
Me: How big is that in terms someone my age who was taught the Imperial system can understand?
ED: About a quarter inch.
Me: A quarter inch?! How the hell is that going to come out??!!
So I’m on a lot of medication and had an appointment with a specialist but the saying “this too shall pass” has not yet applied. The whole thing has been very stressful—the only funny moment was when the ED, having already asked me about past surgeries, including my hysterectomy, followed up with this:
ED: When was the date of your last period?
Me: As I mentioned, I don’t have a uterus, so I’d have to say sometime in 2015. Sorry I can’t be more specific.
ED: Oh, yeah, right.
Maybe he was stoned.
At any rate, wish me luck. If things work out, maybe I can make a necklace with it.
*Ironically, I’ve been on so much pain medication that my shoulder feels perfectly fine. And that rocks.