Finding Joy in the Little Things (2mm things to be exact)

If you’ve read any post on this blog, you know humor is an important part of my life. It’s how I connect with people, it’s how I get people to like me, it’s how I deal with tough and awkward situations.

I’m not usually one to post health updates on Facebook, Twitter or my blog, but I think this adventure is worth sharing. I don’t want sympathy; I don’t want attention. I just want to share how amazing my family is and why humor is important.

Recently (okay, months ago) I went through a small bout of kidney stones. Not a big deal. It happens. But going through it reminded me how important humor really is…and how funny my family is!

When I first felt the pain of the stones, I called my parents. Even in severe pain, the conversation was still pretty funny (my commentary in red):

Me: “I’m in more pain than I’ve even been in in my entire life.”
Dad: “Oh no, are you ok?”
Me: “Well, no. Not really. My kidney really hurts.”
Dad: “Let me pass you off to your mother.”
Mom: “Hi honey, how are you?”
Me: “I’m in pain. My kidney hurts.”
Mom: “Do you want us to come get you?”
Me: “If you don’t mind.”
If you don’t mind? Ha. I’m in blinding pain and I’m still being courteous.
Mom: “Can you wait for half an hour? We’ll be right there.”
Me: “Yea. Bye.”

That’s a pretty funny conversation for someone in pain. We also had fun in the ER, despite worsening of the pain. For some reason (I can’t remember why…it’s all a blur), my parents started laughing at me (it may have been the f-bombs I was dropping. I’m not sure). But even in severe pain, I just looked at them and said, in my usually sarcastic voice, “yea, you keep laughing.” Joking around took my mind off everything…which was nice.

The situation probably sucked more for my parents than for me. They had to sit there are watch me writhe in pain, and there was nothing they could do. At one point, I was in so much pain and screaming so loud, my dad couldn’t take it. He walked up to the nurse (who was very nice) and said, “Ma’am, you need to do something. I’m not one of those fathers, but I will go all Irish.”

I love him for that. For those of you who don’t know, my dad is a red head with a very even temper.

We had our fair share of fun in the ER (probably not a phrase uttered very often), but once I got admitted, the real fun started. We spent all day in a room with me, Jessie, my mom, my dad, my sister and my brother-in-law. And we didn’t kill each other…now that’s love.

In the hospital room, we laughed, we shared memories, we watched golf (you know, normal stuff). At many points throughout the day, I was laughing so hard it hurt, which isn’t necessarily saying much because, well, everything hurt.

At one point, I distinctly remember a joke my brother-in-law (Jon) made:

Background: I eat more pasta and Parmesan cheese than any human should.

So Jon joked that my stone was probably made of Parmesan cheese. And that when the doctors analyzed the stone, they’d be confused when it was made of it. Maybe it’s not so funny now…you know you had to be there…but in the moment, the laughter helped a lot. Yes, it hurt to laugh, but it also felt good.

When you go through tough situations, it’s amazing to have a support system like I have. My family members sat in the hospital with me (probably bored to death) for a whole day. They made me laugh, they made me cry (neither of which is hard) and they were just there for me.

I’m so fortunate to have the family I do. And going through a situation like kidney stones made me realize how lucky I am and helped me appreciate the awesomeness that is my family. It’s helped me find joy in the little things that make me smile (like my parents’ awesome funny e-mails. Example 1 and Example 2) and appreciate the people I have around me.

Now don’t think this situation was some sort of epiphany. I’ve always known how awesomely funny and supportive my family is. This situation just reinforced what I already knew.

And yes, having the stones sucked. It was painful, it was inconvenient and it was boring (hospitals suck). But honestly, the worst part about it? I can no longer say, “That’s the worst pain I’ve ever felt” because, well, it won’t be true. I’m going to miss that. Good thing I’m not afraid of hyperbole.

Kidney Stone

Visual approximation of my kidney stone. Yes, I pretend it’s purple. (Not to scale…it’s 2 mm)


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