This morning I had an ultrasound of my kidneys. I’ve had kidney stones most of my adult life. I’ve had three operations and one basket catch, and have passed many stones over the years.
In the late ‘50s, I had my first kidney stone attack. I was driving to work from my quarters on Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and just through the light in front of the base library when I passed out, the only time I ever passed out from a kidney stone attack.
I woke up in the base hospital in one of the wards. I was told that a friend of mine that was the NCOIC of the base military police found me slumped over the steering wheel of the old Model A Ford I drove to work, sitting in the middle of the road, and drove me to the hospital.
I stayed in the hospital most of the day. I felt fine and my bowling team was bowling for the base championship that evening, and I was the team captain. They needed me and wanted me to bowl. I asked the head nurse to let me go to the bowling alley, that I would return after the game as I was slated to be operated on at 8:00 the next morning. She did not want me to leave the hospital until she got in touch with my doctor. My doctor gave me permission to leave for a couple of hours.
We bowled three games and won the base championship. During the games, my teammates kept giving me beer. They said that would make me pass my stones. I’m not a drinking man, and by the end of bowling I was feeling great. My team members took me back to the hospital and before I went to bed I passed the kidney stone.
I told the nurse I had passed my stone and wanted to go home. My nurse told me if I had caught the stone for her to see, she would have discharged me from the hospital. Now I would have to wait until the next morning to have an x-ray to see if I really had passed it. The next morning, they took the x-ray. I had passed my stone and my wife came and picked me up and took me home.
In 1969 while stationed in Europe and living 25 miles from my base on a little farm in Bremthal, Germany, I had my second kidney stone attack. It was 3:00 in the morning and I drove myself to the base hospital on an old country road, hurting all the way. The doctor took me right into the operating room and took out the stone.
Those were the two worst attacks of kidney stones while I was in the military.
After I retired and was working as the manager of the printing department for Syar Industries in Napa, Calif., I was the first person to come to work, turn off the alarm, open the office, and make coffee for the employees. One morning I had a kidney stone attack as I was warming up the three copy machines. I sat down in a chair and could not get up again. One of the male employees came into the office and saw I was sick. I had never felt that bad in my life. I had always taken care of myself, and never got sick.
I knew what was wrong with me and told the employee, John Hess, to call my wife and tell her I was coming home. I had gotten John his job at Syar’s as he was also a retired Air Force member and lived a few blocks from me in Fairfield. John took me home, and my wife put me to bed. Some time that day I passed the stone and was back at work the next day.
When I retired from Syar Industries, I had more sick leave coming to me than any of the other 500 employees in the six counties that worked for us.