Monday, October 26, 2009

another milestone of the kidney kind

Around the time that M- dropped the L-word for the first time, and I was feeling a little weird about it, someone suggested going through an 'emergency room' scenario, a mental exercise to clarify my own feelings.

We have exchanged L-words (I just can't say it, can I?) but this weekend sort of cemented things. In other words, you know you love someone when you rush from your cozy apt on a cold rainy night to go to the ER all the way on the north side because a nurse called and said 'Your boyfriend needs you.'

He had called from his house earlier:
M-: So babe. What are the symptoms of a kidney stone? (groan)
D : Sharp pain, hurts to pee, and blood in your urine. (my old lady television viewing habits come in handy, sometimes.)
M-: I might have a kidney stone. I have to pee all the time. No blood, though.
D: Wow. Are you sure? Sharp pain in your lower back?
M-: Yeah, but I'm ok. Maybe it'll go away. (groan)
D: Kidney stones don't go away unless they leave your penis. I think you should go to the ER.
M-: Maybe I'll take a tylenol and then come over for our date when the pain passes.
D : Whatever. Our date is off. You need to go to the ER.
D: You need to be at the doctor; tell me where to meet you.
M-: (GROAN MOAN) Uh, I gotta go, babe. I just tried to pee and almost passed out.

He called from the hospital parking lot (yes, despite fetal position-inducing pain, he *drove* himself): 'I'm about to check in (groan) so I'll call you later. I'm at Swedish Covenant.'

Really trying not to fret I watched tv, looked up kidney stones on the web, ate a sandwich and checked my Blackberry. When an unknown 773 number popped up, I grabbed it.

'Your boyfriend needs you.'
'Tell him I'm coming and I'll be there as soon as I can.'

I texted my friends ('M- is in the ER with kidney stones! I'm out!'), dressed, grabbed keys, blew out candles, flagged a cab, grabbed cash, and rushed to the hospital, where I overtipped the cabbie.

It was a novel feeling to rush in and breathlessly say 'My boyfriend was just admitted and I'm here to see him.' Even more novel was the feeling that I *really* did not want anything to happen to this guy. This was beyond the 'gee, I hope things are ok' feeling; this was 'oh, god, it's only kidney stones but if something happens this will wreck me.'

Weird, huh?

Things fall immediately into place when you face what you really feel. The class bullshit I was still holding onto ('we don't match, he's not like anyone I've gone out with before, I graduated from college and he didn't, I don't know if he fits my circle...'), I dropped.

Priorities realign pretty quickly when you see your guy wearing a sad little hospital gown, hooked up to monitors, drugged out of his head, smiling woozily up at you in front of the nurse, and slurring, 'Gimme some sugar.'

Not once did I think 'Let me examine the gender, class and race implications of my brown self being here while these doctors and nurses look at me hold his lily white hand.'

Maybe that's why I didn't mind spending the whole weekend at his place, getting to recognize what it sounds like when he's feeling a 5 mm stone squeeze its way down his ureter. Or feeling gently sympathetic standing in the 45-min line at the high school haunted house, watching him go to the restroom every 10 min or so. Or watching how his gait changes when he's in pain or listening intently at the bathroom door for a tell-tale thump to make sure he didn't faint.

We hid out, reading comic books, watching classic horror movies, eating ice cream and making jokes about the sexiness of peeing into a filter. Silently, I counted to myself how many glasses of water he drank, if he was taking his pills on time, and in a rare moment of domesticity, I even made breakfast. (Who cares if it took me 2 freaking hours and I made enough pancakes for a whole football team?)

When I got back to my place last night, I even had a little bit of a cry, for some reason.

It's frakking brutal, this falling in love thing.

[And if you need a more timely political frame for this post, because you don't want to read pointless, girly, journal entries from Ding, shouldn't *everyone* have this same right to rush into an ER and say to the admitting nurse 'My partner is in there and I need to see him/her!'? Civil rights for all is really just that simple. How the world works for me, as a member of the dominant group, is how it should work for everyone.]


Orange said...

Plus everyone should have the right to rush to the ER as a patient without fretting that the bills that follow will kill them.

Super-sweet post!

Joy said...

so glad he's okay, so glad you're managing love with relative equanimity!

liza said...


ding said...

@Joy - i like that - 'relative equanimity.'

@Orange - indeed; it's startling to think how my life (or all of our lives who are currently insured) would change if I didn't have healthcare. It eases things; it allows me to write these little stories about how cute it is to fall in love at my age.

But without that little cushion of class privilege (or the luck of having employment in this economy) this post would be waaay different.

@Liza - i know!

Songbird said...

I'm sad he had a kidney stone, but I'm happy for you, even if it is brutal.
And yes, everyone. Everyone.

No Nonsense said...

Awwww...wonderful story (not the kidney stones part--- that sucks) but the epiphany part is sweet

Anonymous said...

Awwwwww from this member of the "M for Ding" fan club. :)

ding said...

thanks, y'all!

a PS to the story: he passed his kidney stone (with a minimum of pain, too)!