Thanks, everyone, for the expressions of sympathy, suggestions, and notes. I really appreciate all of them.
This morning I got up at 4, checked my email, got dressed, and was taken to the hospital by my friend Tom. I checked in, signed a bunch of forms, and answered a lot of questions. After a briefing and some prep, they rolled me in to the operating room, put me on the special ESWL-equipped operating table, and took a quick real-time X-Ray. This was to confirm that the stone was still reachable from the outside, and to pinpoint its exact location. The anesthesiologist then put a mask over my face and asked me to take a couple of deep breaths.
The next thing I knew, I was in the recovery room, groggy and conscious. I tested my brain by recalling my children’s names, and then my various account passwords. I am always afraid that I will forget my passwords after a traumatic event, because they are apparently stored in short term memory. I have 3 work passwords and at least 4 more at home, so I don’t think this is an irrational fear.
After they established that I was doing ok, they took me back to the hospital room, gave me more time to relax, and then released me. I was home by noon, and I’ve taken things easy so far, watching the Discovery Channel in HD and trying to stay off of the computer (except to compose this post). I’ll work from home tomorrow, and after that I’ll be good as new.
I was lucky en0ugh to get a picture of the stone, and you can see it at right. Actually, that’s the Trilithon of Baalbek, a real giant (around 800 tons), and a true mystery. I would love to see this stone first-hand some day. Fortunately, I don’t think it is going anywhere. Looks like you would need a pair of these to move it.
Strange sense of humor? Who, me? Definitely! While talking to Tom prior to the procedure today, we were trying to figure out if it would be possible to produce pearls instead of kidney stones! Given that a first-rate string of pearls apparently costs around $200K, I think that science should look into this as soon as possible. I’m sure there are all sorts of reasons why this is chemically impossible, but imagine the societal consequences if it were possible. What if poor people could sign up to be “human oysters?” I am sure that all sorts of protests would arise, but it would be pretty interesting to watch.