Friday, 12 November 2010

Paul McKenna, Kidney Stones & A Bit About Writing

Kidneys. A bit of a strange topic you might think.

Three facts that you might not know about me and kidneys.

It is the one of the very few things I cannot stand to eat. I cannot bear the texture, the smell whilst they are cooking, the taste in the mouth. Yuk. Yak. Urgh.

I successfully broke my addiction to chocolate through kidney therapy. Sounds dreadful but read on.
I was an addict. Complete and utter addict. We are taking at least three chocolate bars a day on light day - but generally, five, six or more - sometimes a lot more - every day. Terrible. I hang my head in shame. I needed to break the hold it had on me. What may be surprising is that I cannot bear hot chocolate, chocolate mousse, chocolate cake, chocolate ice-cream - it had to be chocolate. Not dark. Not white. But milk chocolate. Galaxy was the best and I adored the luscious fancy chocolates that came from Fortnums and Mason in Piccadilly. When I worked near there, I'd pop in and buy three hand made chocolates for £1.50.

Something had to give and I didn't want it to be my waistline again. A newspaper ran a full week of self-help advice from Paul McKenna. I followed his advice to break an addiction. He used chocolate for an example. The idea was to think of the worst thing to eat. Easy. Kidneys. Then imagine it covered in chocolate. Then close your eyes and do all sorts of finger and thumb rubbing (I can't remember the sequence or script) all the while thinking of kidneys coated in choclate - how it would taste, smell, feel - urrrrrrgh. I felt sick. Remember that feeling. You had to repeat it three times. Maybe it was seven. I don't remember.

I wasn't convinced. Pah. In two days, I'll be back scoffing chocolate, letting it melt in my mouth. I didn't think of it - kidneys or Paul McKenna - for the rest of the day. That night, I realised I hadn't eaten any chocolate. I felt smug. Ha. Done it. I still thought tomorrow might be different. I really did think I'd be back on it.

That was seven/eight years ago. Once in a while, I fancy a little chocolate. I might buy a bar of galaxy. I might eat a twix, or a caramel bar. MMMmmmm. It never tastes of kidneys. It never smells or feels like kidneys. But it satisfies me for another few weeks and I don't think of it again. I might not look like I don't eat chocolate, but I'm happy in the knowledge I've broken the addiction. If only it would work for crisps and alcohol ...

So back to kidneys. On Monday night I lay in bed, thinking up #Poorverbs for twitter, posting them up and laughing with the night-owls making up more and more bizarre variations of proverbs.

if you love someone, set them free, unchain them from the attic, put the knife down ...

if you can tell a book by it's cover why does anyone write them?

Okay - you get it - I'll stop now.

I was chuckling away at the daft things people were posting when I a niggle started in my right hip. It quickly spread down into the groin. I knew that pain. I really hoped it wasn't. A couple of hours later, when it hadn't abated, I knew it was. A damn kidney stone.

I had one ten years ago. Then it had lasted most of the day, with the final hours spent in acute pain until it passed. Not good.
At 8am in the morning I called the doctor who came straight around. Two injections into my rump made me promptly vomit. I spent the day in bed writhing in agony. The doc came back - another two injections which immediately induced more vomiting. I was under threat to be sent to hospital. It's an hour away. I didn't want that.

The next day, the doctor called again. I'd given up and resorted to paracetamol that didn't even take the edge off. I tried to write to take my mind of the pain. I dabbled in twitter and received lots of friendly suppport. Someone said their kidney stone had lasted three days  : (

Yesterday, I went back to the doctor. He gave me a cocktail of pills - antibiotics, anti-spasm drugs, and said as a last resort I could take ibuprofen with paracetamol. I needed to rid myself of the high temperature and drink lots of fluids to flush it out. But because of my stomach problems I shouldn't really take the -ofen drugs. But by heck - they work!

If I keep on top of the tablets and not let them wear off, the pain is bearable. I'm still waiting for it to pass. I have an 'urgent' referral to outpatients which I hope comes soon. The doctor thinks the stone is going up and down the ureter. Don't want to think about that. I don't want to go into hospital either so I'll keep taking the tablets.

And write.

The good thing about this damn kidney stone is that, when I could write, I've managed to knock out 5800 words of my novel. My total word count is now 25k. Might not sound a lot but I feel I'm getting there.

So - it's been a week of pros and cons. I haven't danced at all but I've been keeping watch on Strictly at 6.30pm every night. I haven't done much in the way of housework (no change there) but I've added a lot of wordage. And I did have a little bit of popping chocolate orange last night - one that I'd put away for Christmas - but I ended up giving most of it to my daughters.

So - kidneys - one of the worst things you can possibly eat, they are useful to break an addiction to chocolate, and the pain from a kidney stone is worse than childbirth and with nothing at the end of it. Except, relief.

I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Or maybe, I would.


  1. The kidney stone sounds terrible - almost as horrible as kidney smothered in chocolate (or was it chocolate smothered in kidney?) I do hope you feel better soon. Something more painful than childbirth sounds like the worst kind of torture. Oh well, if you can't keep dancing, just KEEP WRITING!

  2. Thank you Rodhetter - will keep you informed of progress! Thanks : )

    Leigh - added another 3k today inbetween spasms! Chocolate coated kidneys - yuk - feel sick even thinking about it!
    Thank you : )

  3. I think I may have to try the chocolate/kidney (or something equally gross) thing.

    Over 25K is brilliant! Well done, you must be thrilled with it. Over half the word count, but not yet half the month. Ahead of schedule!

    I hope you get some relief from the stones soon xx