kidney stones are no fun -that's all this is about.

Strange times in a six month long, intensely painful chapter of my life. At three score and ten one expects health issues, some self inflicted, others not. 

 Covid wreaks havoc and economies stagger while drought, flood and a whole gamut of earth and solar changes play out regardless of human intervention. 

It’s against this background that kidney stones made their presence felt. A year after Covid arrived and ‘Thank God’ that I live in a country where a small tax on earnings pays for a national health system. Couldn’t afford to live otherwise. 

What I didn’t know before my kidney stones were lasered. 

 I’d thought that the full operation would happen at once. It’s not made clear that the first operation is to insert a stent and that’s it for perhaps months if you’re a public rather than a private patient. 

The three months or so in which I had the stent inserted have been the most difficult and physically painful period of my life. 

This actually is a common experience. 

 I’d given up all exercise by the end of the second month because of blood in my urine, the frequency of need to urinate, the ongoing pain in urination upon which pain killers had little effect and a broken sleep pattern – usually an hour or so at a time. 

Private insurance does apparently allow for the whole operation to take place at one time – stent inserted, stones lasered and removed, new stent put in and, basically, all finished with ten days later with the second stent removed. 

In an odd synchronicity, I was due to meet family at Uluru on the very day my stones were lasered. The text message I got on the day before the operation to let me know time of arrival at the hospital was preceded by a text message from Jetstar letting me know that I should be boarding through Gate 12. 

Can’t make this stuff up. Big Rock missed, small stones lasered and two painted pebbles, on the mantelpiece, given on my birthday by the loving grandkids. 

I have a roof over my head. This makes me wealthy ‘beyond compare’ relative to the mass of humanity now and over our ancestral time on Earth. Hot water on demand, instant fire, a sewage system … I don’t count on it to continue but do count myself blessed to live in Australia. 

I’ve managed to arrive at seventy with little more than a broken bone to deal with – an irritation, an inconvenience but not much more. A few other problems which would have killed me a hundred years ago but – ‘modern medicine’ extends the lifespan. 

I now have an awareness of just how much physical pain people around me deal with on an everyday basis. 

Now I can garden again – the joy of movement, of flexibility returned.