My Kidney Stone

August 24th, 2010

When I had a kidney stone from some time before April, 2009 to January 2nd, 2010 I couldn’t find any good information about what it would be like to actually pass the stone.  I now have personal experience.

Here’s the spoiler:  passage was very easy and mostly painless.

The pain of my kidney stone was sharp, hard to localize.  I didn’t know what is was for months.  The pain usually hit about 3AM and would not subside for an hour. It usually came when I had exercised or done sit-ups.  I figured that it was some muscle pain and tried to treat it that way.

A very hot bath did help.  Ibuprofen did help.  Changing positions did help.  About once a month, when the worst pain came, nausea and profuse sweating came with it.  Finally in August of 2009, the pain was so bad that I went to Patient First for help.  The first thing the nurse said was something like, “sure sounds like a kidney stone to me!”  I didn’t believe it at first.  When I saw the X-Ray I was convinced.  It really did explain everything.  The pain is so bad, but it’s inside where you can’t really place it.  Everything in the general area tenses up.  I was referred to Virgina Urology which is minutes from my house.  I started out with PA Wadsworth and then finished up with Dr. Kramolowsky.  I’m grateful to both gentlemen and the staff at Virginia Urology for taking good care of me.

My stone was 7mm long and 4mm wide.  It was slightly bent as if two stones had fused together.  By the time I went to the doctor it was sitting just above the bladder so lithotripsy was less likely to succeed because of the proximity to the bones of the pelvis.  The doctor gave a 75% chance of success.  The procedure is done under general anesthetic which I wanted to avoid.  If it failed, the doctor might go up and get the stone anyway with a basket catheter, and that’s a one way street in my books.

My doctor told me that the stone was almost out but that the last bit was the hardest.  The ureter turns around before entering the bladder, so the stone needed to make a turn to get through.

I was prescribed Flomax and told to drink.  I asked about the risks because while I wanted to pass the stone myself, I didn’t want to have permanent damage.  The risk to me was kidney blockage, failure and then kidney death.  The symptoms were high fever, pain, etc and I had a few days to act when that happened, so I decided to give it a try.  My doctor also gave me a potent pain-killer (Percocet) which I used 3 times one day in September (alternating with Ibuprofen) and once in December.  Ibuprofen was usually enough to manage the pain.  That day in September was pretty bad.

I must say, though, that once I knew about the kidney stone, the pain didn’t bother me anywhere near as much as before.  It was like I could focus on it and localize the pain.  I didn’t stress about it either.

My doctor gave me a strainer also to catch the stone for analysis.  After some time I switched to using a child’s portable potty insert.  It was easier to clean and to estimate liquid volume.

From August to January I drank.  I drank gallons a day.  I tried jump and bump with no noticeable change.  One week I drank a gallon of Coke a day with full strength lemon juice added.  I mostly drank home made lemonade with a little salt in it so I wouldn’t throw of my electrolyte balance.

Other than going to the bathroom a whole lot, I didn’t notice any change.  Over the months, I worked with my doctor, had regular X-Rays and an MRI.  They showed no kidney distress and no stone motion.  As time went on, my doctor started asking how long I was going to wait.  He was very patient and always worked with me.

On January 2nd, I wasn’t feeling well.  Naomi and the children went outside to do some yard work.  I stayed in and headed for the bath with a big pitcher of lemonade and a potty insert.  I also did something new.  I turned on the jets in the bathtub and pointed them right at my back.  From time to time I rolled over and pointed the jets at my front (about the waistline where I thought the stone was).  After a while I started to feel a slight pain inside.  It was pain like a deep knife cut on the finger.  I retrospect I noticed that I hadn’t used the potty insert at all even though I had been drinking plenty.

Well, all of a sudden I had to go.  I felt a pop inside and the next thing I knew there was a stone in the potty insert.  The slight pain lasted for a few months, but as of August 2010, I can say I don’t feel it any more and I don’t remember the last time it bothered me.

I went back to the doctor.  He said the stone looked like the typical Calcium Oxalate kidney stone and that if I drink enough, and don’t get dehydrated, my chances are that I wouldn’t get another one in my lifetime.

Inspection 2010-06-13

June 13th, 2010

I never did post on this inspection (it’s August now and I’ve backdated the post).  Pictures here:

That’s the one when I wore shorts, got stung and slashed myself with my hive tool.


June 13th, 2010

Noah and I went out to inspect today.  Just as I was closing up, Noah said, “Hey Daddy, did you see that on frame 1!”  So I pulled frame 1 out again.

Noah says that I squished something.

Bees came out.

I was wearing shorts.

I got stung.

Worse, I slashed myself with my hive tool more times than I was stung.  Those things are sharp.

Action items:

  1. wear long pants
  2. don’t pull a frame out for a second look
  3. put the hive tool down


Bee sting:

Hive tool wound:

Inspection 2010-06-05

June 5th, 2010

Noah and I went out to check the hive today after the split on Thursday.  The new frame 7 was stripped of much of its foundation and there were rectangles of partially built comb falling off and some on the floor of the hive.  I’m interested in the idea of letting the bees build their own comb without foundation so I’m not going to replace this frame.  We’ll see what happens with the bits that are left.

This week I stumbled across this video on a beekeeping Trappist monk done by Virgina Currents:

It looks like his frames don’t have foundation on them, but perhaps there are wires.  Interesting.

Back to the inspection.  We found the queen on the outside of frame 2.

When I opened the hive, a carpenter bee fell in.  It was surrounded by bees immediately.  I fished it out and one bee stuck with it for quite some time before it got away.

I saw and killed two hive beetles in the top brood box.  I’ve only got 5 frames up there now and the box is otherwise empty.  I guess it’s hard to defend all that open space from the beetles.

Pictures here:


June 5th, 2010

Art came over Thursday night between thunderstorms and we pulled out frame 7 and sent it home with him.  There was what we thought was a queen cell there during the last inspection and thought it best to allow the cell to mature in another hive.

Working with bees at night was very interesting.  The hive was full of them and they were quite docile.  When I put a replacement frame in for #7, it sane in slowly under its own weight as into molasses.

We looked in the new hive for the queen, just in case she hitched a ride.  We couldn’t see here and Art reported the next day that she was not there.  (I found her at home later).

Inspection 2010-05-31

June 5th, 2010

The mid-May inspection was difficult for me, so I asked my friend Art, who’s been keeping bees longer, to help me out.

Pictures here:

Details later, but we saw a queen cell on frame 7 and decided to split that frame over to Art’s house.

Inspection 2010-05-16

May 21st, 2010

Mary-Grace and I went out on Sunday to take a look at the hive.  The weather has been warm for the last two weeks with temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s.  It’s been very dry and I put a jar of water out, which the bees do not appear to have touched.  I guess they’ve got other sources in this land of lawn sprinklers.

I didn’t use any smoke, but this inspection was very difficult for me for other reasons.  There were so many frames with plenty of bees and I didn’t have a place to put the frames pose inspection.  I put one leaning on the platform on either side of the hive to make room to slide the rest.  Still there wasn’t enough room and my gloves got very sticky and covered with bees resulting in some bumps as I disengaged from the frames.  Bees don’t like bumps and there were some angry flights at my hood.  I’m going to have to have Bill and Art come over to tutor me the next time and maybe get another hive body so I can swap back and forth each inspection.

Getting to the frames underneath is also troublesome and I hate crushing bees as I put the top box back on the bottom box.

Frame 1 (out): About 10 bees crawling around two weeks ago, about 40 bees this time.  The foundation on this frame is not straight, it bows out.

Frame 1 (in): 4 bees crawling -> 70 bees crawling

Frame 2 (out): About 150 bees crawling around on this side.

Frame 2 (in): There were only about 20 bees crawling around two weeks ago.  This time, there’s comb and capped honey in a band across the top.  The comb hasn’t reached the bottom of the frame, but there’s liquid in the cells that have been built.

Frame 3 (out): The progress on this frame in two weeks is marvelous.  There’s comb to the bottom of the frame, a band of honey at the top and the bees are in the process of sealing in some larvae in the middle of the frame.

Frame 3 (in): A good number of bees.  A band of honey at the top and a band of larvae in the middle.

Frame 4 (out): The holes in the comb have been partly repaired.  The whole comb, except for a band of honey at the top is sealed brood, dotted with larvae and nectar.

Frame 4 (in): Like the other side of the frame, this one is full of brood, dotted with nectar and larvae with a strip of honey at the top.

Frame 5 (out): Most of the brood cells are now occupied by larvae, so we’re on the next generation of bees from the last inspection.

Frame 5 (in): A mix of nectar, larvae and sealed brood.  The queen’s down on the lower right of the frame.

Frame 6 (in): More bees than two weeks ago.  A mix of sealed brood, larvae and nectar.

Frame 6 (out): Like frame 5 and the inside of 6, there’s less sealed brood and more larvae and nectar.

Frame 7 (in): About the same amount of sealed brood but more larvae here this time.

Frame 7 (out): Some honey around the top here this time.  A mix of larvae and sealed brood on the rest of the comb.

Frame 8 (in): Like frame 3, this frame’s gone from comb activity to honey at the top with mostly sealed brood and some larvae on the rest of the comb.

Frame 8 (out): Honey at the top, sealed brood in a band across the middle.

Frame 9 (in): Few bees last time, band of honey with nectar down below the half-way mark on the frame.

Frame 9 (out): The comb is starting to develop here now.

Frame 10 (in): A few dozen bees crawling about.  No development.
Frame 10 (out): A few bees crawling about.  No development.

Frames 11-14:  Added 3 frames last time.  These frames are wired on both sides of the foundation as an experiment (and to avoid using an embedder).  There are bees crawling up and down these frames, but there appears (I didn’t really look too hard) to be no construction work going on.  These frames are between the door and the frames above, so maybe they’re just commuting to work?


Inspection 2010-05-02

May 2nd, 2010

In the late afternoon, Noah and I went out to the hive.  There’s been so much activity since the last inspection (I did one without pictures and without reporting here in early April).  At that time, there were more bees and more brood.

This time, there’s been a bee/brood explosion and activity on frames that have never been used.  I also saw a bee attack a hive beetle which was very good to see.

Frame 1 (out): some bees here.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen bees here!

Frame 1 (in): bees here too!

Frame 2 (out): bees here, which is new.  Killed a hive beetle on the frame.

Frame 2 (in): bees here!

Frame 3 (out): hundreds of bees.  Comb near the top.  Maybe some nectar storage beginning.  this frame was untouched previously.  There’s a hole in the middle of the frame

Frame 3 (in): hundreds of bees.  A glob of comb has been built near a hole.  Perhaps the foundation broke and the bees built it up anyway?  There’s new comb toward the upper right of this frame.  It looks like mostly nectar storage, but there might be some pollen in there also.

Frame 4 (out): There were no bees at all on this frame last month.  Now there are hundreds.  Holes around the wires have lengthened into long gaps.  The comb is much better developed and looks to be used for nectar.

Frame 4 (in): thousands of bees?  The picture’s blurry but there appears to be good comb development and perhaps pollen storage.

Frame 5 (out): this frame has been converted from honey to brood.  Thousands of bees here, maybe 2/3 brood.

Frame 5 (in): Another brood explosion here.  Honey’s gone, brood and larvae on a good half of this frame.

Frame 6 (in): Thousands of bees.  Honey gone, brood on 2/3 of the frame.

Frame 6 (out): Thousands of bees.  maybe 50% brood?

Frame 7 (in): Thousands of bees.  50% brood.  Queen seen running to other side of frame.

Frame 7 (out): fewer bees here than on the last few frames.  Brood in middle have hatched, brood ring around center.

Frame 8 (in): hundreds of bees.  Comb developing, liquid storage.  Nothing here last month.

Frame 8 (out): thousands of bees.  comb developing on upper half.

Frame 9: a handful of bees on either side.

Frame 10: a few bees on the inside of the frame.  This is a new development.

Frame 11:  A frame in the box below appears to be untouched.  Moved it to under the center of the hive.

With all the brood in there, this hive looks set to explode.  I guess I’d better start wiring up some more frames!


Inspection 2010-03-25

April 21st, 2010

This is the first inspection with pictures of the year.  I’ve peeked in to make sure the bees were still alive from time to time.  I also restacked the hive so that the body is on top of the empty hive body and the super was on top.

The super didn’t align so I put 8 bricks on opposing corners to keep the seal tight some time ago.

Frames 1,2,3, 8 and 9 were pretty empty.  I knocked a hole in the bottom of the frame 1 foundation by dropping the cover on it.  Oops.

I found 3 small hive beetles in the comb on frame 4.  I flicked them out with a pine needle.

The bee population is quite low compared to last inspection.

Here’s how things look:

Frame 4 (out): pretty empty.  That hole is still there .

Frame 4 (in): some honey left here, hive beetles too.  About 30 bees crawling around.

Frame 5 (out): maybe 150 bees crawling about.  Capped honey left over, maybe 30 cells of sealed brood.

Frame 5 (in): capped honey on the left and right, about 200 bees, lots of sealed brood, some larvae visible, a big band of pollen, liquid in a U shaped band under the brood/pollen.

Frame 6 (in): similar to the facing frame, honey on either side, a band of pollen, brood in the middle with liquid near the borrom left and right of the pollen band.

Frame 6 (out): The queen’s right in the middle.  Maybe 300 bees.  This frame was like the last two sides except that there were far more larvae visible and the pollen was concentrated in the upper left.

Frame 7 (in): Another 200 bees, honey on either side.  No brood sealed, but plenty of larvae visible.  There’s a good stock of pollen here and liquid in a band all around.

Frame 7 (out): About 30 bees here.  This side’s pretty empty.  There may be a few larvae in there and there are some cells that look like they’re plugged with a white cap.

Pictures here:

Roller Is Dead - Long Live Roller!

April 16th, 2010

From October 2003 until today, I’ve been using Roller running on an old Linux box at the house.  All the posts from that blog are here somewhere.  All the old links to those posts redirect here so that you, dear reader, have some chance of finding them after I decommission Roller.

Here’s a copy of my search box for you to find that old post you were looking for:

Click on the blog title above if you just want to browse.