“Hi, Mr. New,” says Doc, entering the exam room. Outside, it’s a beautiful spring morning in April. I’m fully clothed, sitting on a blue, plastic chair. Doc sticks out his hand, which I grasp in the usual man-to-man greeting. Maybe one actual shake occurs. “So, tell me how you’re doing.” Doc smiles, stretching out his mustache in the process. His ‘stache is brown, like his hair. My mustache is gray, like my hair—what hair I have. Needless to say, Doc is younger than I. Oh well, such is life.
“I’m doing fine, I guess, Doc. I have no pain and no urination problems. My flow is good and strong. Did you see the stone fragments I recovered? I caught them over a two week period.”
“Yes, I did and that’s what we need to talk about.” Doc points to a poster on the wall with his pen. He taps the cut-away picture of a kidney. “This is where your stone originally set, in the bottom of the left kidney’s outlet duct.” He glances at me. “See the problem?”
I look at the poster. I’d seen it many times before, of course. “Um, the fragments have to flow uphill?”
“Exactly!” He smiles, stretching out the thin mustache. “I’m recommending you continue to drink plenty of fluids—like you’re doing. However, say, after fifteen or twenty minutes pass, I want you to lie down on a staircase, on your belly, head to the bottom with your feet to the top. Got that?”
I nod. It sounds preposterous. I wonder where he’s heading.
“Good. Then, while you’re lying like that, I want your significant other—“
“My wife, you mean.”
“—yes, your wife, to tap on your torso above your left kidney.” Doc smiles. “I want her to play bongos on you.”
I blink. “And this is why?”
Doc grins again. “I want her playing bongos on you to help bounce those stone fragments loose. By lying upside down on the staircase, the ureter opening is either slightly lower, or at the same level, as the stone fragments. That way, your urine flow will carry them up and over the outbound urinary duct opening, down the ureter to the bladder, for elimination.”
I’m sitting there, thinking about this weird request. Doc’s leaning against the exam table, grinning at me, waiting for my response.
“Are you sure about this?”
“Oh, yes. I’ve had many patients do this. It does help.”
I frown. “Sounds like something a witch doctor would say.”
Doc chuckles. He’s not offended at all.
“Yes, it does sound a bit ridiculous. But, I’ve had many good results using this technique. Think about it. We’ll be using vibration, gravity, and liquid flow—no medicines or invasive procedures at all. Moreover, judging by the last X-ray and the fragments already recovered, the remaining pieces may be just as small and lightweight. A little bit of help is all they require for removal. This is the next best step.”
“Well, okay, if you say so.” In my mind, I can hear Carle laughing her head off when I tell her this.
“Great! I know you have three more BCG treatments scheduled for May, followed by another cysto exam in June, correct?”
“That’s right,” I say.
“So, I’ll schedule you for another Urology consultation in July with another KUB X-ray the week before we see each other again. Does that sound do-able?”
I nod. “Sounds good to me, Doc.”
“Fine. See you in July, Mr. New.”
Final Results: I’m healthy, but I need to do some acrobatics for proper stone fragment removal. (Sigh). At the last cysto exam, Surgeon pulled another small tumor growth, necessitating three more BCG Treatments, another cysto exam, and now, another KUB (kidneys, ureter, bladder) X-ray, before the next Urology discussion.
But smile! It’s a good day!