"It was a bit of an animal," the orthodontist said, as he referred to the wisdom tooth he had just broken away. I had a fever for three days, and the right side of my face looked like I tried to swallow an orange. Then the whole thing got inflamed. I had to go back. The doctor came, saw, and struck. Zakkk, she put in a knife.

"Oh, uhm, it can hurt," she added, but that was after the deed. She was a nice woman for all that, but it certainly did hurt. I was jumping from pain—literally, because there’s nothing you can do but jump up and down. Then I understood why people crack when they are tortured. I had never ever felt anything like this.

Until that Saturday morning. It was six o’clock, I had to pee. On the way back a felt a vague pain spreading from the lower left part of my back. Before I hit the pillow, it felt like a Kuwait oil well just after Desert Strom.

"Oh please," I thought, "don’t let this be what I think it is!" It was what I thought it was: my first kidney stone. I had seen it with my father. Now I understood. My wisdom tooth vanished into oblivion.

Now this is pain. You cannot even jump up and down, you can only scream and cry. You have to walk around, because only then you are somewhat distracted from the pain—as soon as you stand still, or sit down or lie down, your consciousness focuses on that pain.

I called for a doctor, but since it was Saturday morning I got an answering service. It was an old lady—they probably do this work because they can’t sleep anyway.

"Is it an emergency?" she asked friendly and slowly.

"Lady, I’m DYING from pain," I yelled (or something to that extent, for I can’t remember it all too well). It wasn’t very friendly but it was very serious. She took it without insult.

"The doctor will call you back in an instant," she went on. It took ages.

I can’t remember what I did in the meantime. After it was all over, I couldn’t even remember the pain as such. Only that it did hurt terribly, and that I walked up and down the room and talked to myself. Then I was at the doctor’s, there was an injection, and the pain went away just like that within the minute.

It strengthened my faith in science, and my distrust for this watery bunch that is our body.


This text was published previously in the By The Way…, volume 48.

© Roelof Ruules