Culture vulture

The passion of the stone
April may or may not be the cruelest month, but around Culture Vulture World Headquarters the current edition has certainly proven itself to be the most painful month in recent memory. Our normally idyllic household has within the month been beset by all manner of physical turmoil. My partner and beloved I. Daphne St. Brie has suffered the horrors of an aggravated back injury, spending hours in heart-rending agony as a consequence of stooping to pick up a sick cat.

The cat, Casey, a rotund little tuxedo-wearing lady of dignified demeanor and demure personality, had been stricken by an internal malady that left her curled up in the corner of the bathtub doing her impression of something you drag out from under the hedge with a rake and bury in a back corner of the flower garden. Thankfully, a stay in the animal hospital has restored her somewhat, but we still don’t know the ultimate cause of her affliction.

During Casey’s absence our other two felines, Benny and Ginger, have done their best to ascertain the whereabouts of their stricken comrade and called a truce on their daily bout of 4 a.m. kitty tag, during which they usually chase each other at top speed from one end of the house to the other growling like 7-inch-tall tigers and ricocheting off of random walls and furniture with occasional volleys across the bed just to make sure we’re enjoying the game as much as they are.

So anyway, with Daphie and Casey out of commission the Culture Vulture host body apparently decided an attention-getting medical prank of its own was in order, and in due course I was remarking on the way home from enjoying a glass of wine and a pleasant conversation with my mother-in-law that I felt a slight and unfamiliar pain in my lower right abdomen. No big deal, I assured Daphie, just a little odd and uncomfortable. Once home I did my best to ignore the increasing discomfort and even managed to sleep for an hour or two before waking up with the feeling that a tiny demon was trying to dig its way out of my guts with the barb of a rusty fish hook. Extremely unpleasant is an understatement.

Next thing I remember, besides flashes of writhing around on the emergency room floor and moaning like a gut-shot Yeti, I was being pleasantly infused with Demerol, wheeled into and out of the CAT scanner and told that I was the victim of a kidney stone making its way from its titular organ into another segment of my anatomy.

I have heard that the pain generated by such a stone’s passage is the closest equivalent a male human can get to the pangs every mother experiences during childbirth. If so, Mother’s Day is a paltry reward indeed, not that I’m implying that a similar holiday is due to veterans of the rite of kidney stone passage.

This column is dedicated to:

Vickie Lea, massage therapist.

The staff of the Animal Medical Clinic.

The emergency room staff at Enloe.

All mothers everywhere.