Sunday, April 2, 2017

Kidney Stones Are The Devil & Other Stuff

I really shouldn't let so much time go by without posting.  All this stuff happens, then I include it all in one HUGE post, and it makes my life seem CR-azy! Maybe it is.

But here goes...

Let me start with the worst of the news, then backtrack.

I had kidney stones, and this is what I have to say about them.

1. I never want them again.

2. I never want them again.

3. I never want them again.

I read many, many articles on kidney stones since returning from the ER at 5:00 am after a night of acute side and back pain, confusion, CtScan, pain meds, & IV fluids.  What I found was much disagreement about what causes them--except the widely accepted belief that dehydration is a main culprit.  Yes, I was dehydrated.  That day I had 2 cups of coffee and 2 glasses of wine.

Of all the other things I read, that may be culprits, I had been eating a lot of protein, taking high doses of Calcium supplements, drinking filtered well water, which is hard, and enjoying my salt. Still, if I had kept myself hydrated, those things probably wouldn't have mattered. (But they're all 4 on various lists.)  For the record, I do not EVER drink sodas.

As for getting rid of kidney stones (mine was 3mm with some smaller ones the size of sand granules--all under the 5mm threshold.) I drank a ton-load of water with lemon, one beer (per advice of family member), pain meds and one dose of Flomax.  When they finally did come out, 2 days, 6 hours later, they were small, hard and black.  (Not exactly what I expected them to look like.)

As a side-note: at the ER, they asked me what my pain level was.  I had visions of having my leg chopped off--or worse--so I graded it an 8.  They should really be more specific about the pain scale.


The last Clinic.

The last clinic was Saturday on Day 2 of my kidney stones, and since my granddaughter had come so far this fall and winter, there was no way I wasn't attending.  I would have shown up on a stretcher if I had to.  Turned out, however, I wasn't in much pain that day--at least to start.

My husband and granddaughter loaded the horses and he drove the truck and trailer to Riverside State Park for me.  We had a plan that if things were to get worse, he would come and get me and our instructor would take care of Sophie.  (I ended up making it through the trail challenge, but not the trail ride.)

We started out in-hand through the trail challenge.  Leah had changed so drastically, I almost had a heart attack--to add to my kidney stones.

She walked through the ladder obstacle--the one that looks like two large ladders in an "L" shape.  Horses hate that ladder.  It's hard for them to navigate all 4 feet.  Leah had never done it successfully.  She would barely even go across it width wise.  But yesterday, the girl did the whole thing both in-hand and in-saddle!  (Here's a photo I found on the web of a similar ladder--but ours had taller wood sides--about double what you see there--so they had to step higher to get through it.  Ours was a little longer, as well.)

The big tire was another obstacle Leah never successfully navigated, but yesterday, she did it, as well, both in-hand and in-saddle.

Here are some photos.  I took several of my granddaughter with Penny.  I so admired her strength and tenderness with Penny.  You could see her guiding, leading, and tenderly praising her.  It made me teary eyed cropping them and seeing both their expressions of love and trust. (Although, at the outset here, there was a little disagreement about which direction they would go.  Penny is clearly indicating an easier path around the tire.)

I love this one.  You know she's telling her something sweet for getting up on that tire.

Those pictures make the tire look easy, but it's not.  That day, many of the horses refused for a long time and put up quite a fight.  It's really an act of faith and concentration by the horse.  Leah DID NOT do it last year.  But this year...

My trainer is with her in all these photos--but I really was there--taking the pictures, and I rode her across it during the saddle portion.  Oddly enough, the mailbox (below) was a little harder for Leah. There's just no good excuse for that. πŸ˜‚

Here's Leah on the trail ride (after I'd gone home in pain) tied to a tree as they practiced going over water obstacles.  What a good girl!


Before the stones, I got one trail ride in at Palisades Park with Cowboy.  He had the spring jiggers--even at the ripe old age of 22.  A little water work, though, and he settled down and acted like a well-broke trail horse.

I had another ride scheduled for Friday, the same day as the ER, but that one was quickly canceled.

Here are a few photos of Palisades Park.

Ran into a guy filming the waterfall with a drone.  When he saw us, he had his drone go way up so as not to scare the horses.

Oh, here's a short clip of Sophie and Penny with the tire obstacle, in-saddle.  Perfection!

My big 5-0 is coming around the corner and, for my birthday, I asked for a new, enclosed tack room near my riding arena.  This room will be for tack and health supplies ONLY--no food stuffs at all.

Here it is!

It's 16' by 10', extra tall walls, and 2 storage lofts.  I cannot wait until it gets here Thursday!  I've ordered saddle, blanket and bridle racks, and I have lots of Pinterest ideas.  πŸ˜Š

And, also for my 5-0--a new saddle to put in it.  One that will be a little more like bareback, but still good for the trails.

I also ordered a Cashell pad to fit over it. I have one for my western saddle and I cannot imagine life without it.  Today, they're 25% off.  Unfortunately, I paid full price.  πŸ˜­  Still worth every penny!


  1. I recently was in hospital for a 4mm stone - Oh Gawd was it awful!! So I, literally, feel your pain. I am not a pop drinker either, but I'll admit to drinking more tea than water. Until the stone... which I also flushed with lemon water (at least, I assume it's gone because I haven't had another attack). I graded the pain at a 9 - & I wasn't exaggerating; it took 2 doses of morphine... they probably would've given me more, I was pretty loud & that hospital is full of old folks waiting to get into the home (totally serious, you can't even have a BABY in any of the 3 hospitals that are within 1/2 hour drive & every. single. year I read about at least 1 baby born on the side of the road on their way to a hospital where they could give birth that is an hour away from here).

    You are lucky to have the kids take such an interest - my daughter rode as company to me only, and hasn't ridden now in a few years. I miss her. I PRAY for grands who love ponies - I'll be the favourite Gramma! My 'practice Grand', Amy, is the daughter of a horse trainer/instructor - sometimes we lead her around on one of the lesson horses, her mom on the leadrope & me helping Amy (who is 1.5 yrs old) and she giggles & squeals. I'm always happy for you all when you post about the grands & the horses.

    I switched to a Barefoot saddle (english style) 5 or 6 years ago; I was worried I'd miss my saddle horn but never did. LOVE the new tackroom - can't wait to see what you do in it, so bring on the Pinterest successes!

    1. It's crazy that you had them, too. I'm so sorry!! I will say this, always trying to look on the bright side, it was a wake up call as I turn 50. My body has grown intolerant of my bad habits. It has "0" forgiveness. I have decided to be a centarian (not sure if that's the spelling) centinerian? I suppose I should look it up. Anyway, I need to live right. I preach about drinking lots of water all the time, but I stopped following my own advice. I suppose I'd become complacent. Not anymore. I need my kidneys! Never mind the pain with a stone!

      I'm sure excited to try a new style of saddle. My granddaughter loves hers and I think especially loves being able to throw it up there. Another thing I worried about with aging, my heavy saddle, this solves it, too.

      Pinterest is great, isn't it? I'll share a few cool things in my text post, but I'm feeling better so will be in the saddle today as much as possible. :)

      Yes, I'm lucky--blessed--to have a horse loving grand. She is going to be an exceptional horse woman. What I consider exceptional, btw, is how they interact with them, NOT what they get done or how many ribbons. She knows the heart of a horse, and as far as I'm concerned, that is ALL that matters! I learned to value that layer in life because I didn't have a grandma teaching me, I had old cowboys in my hometown. Horses were tools and recreation to them...or, if they werent, they didn't show that side much in public. ;) The man code of old. lol.

  2. Ouch! You poor thing. That must have been awful and so painful. But you're a real trooper going to the clinic.

    Love the pictures of Leah and Penny and your granddaughter. Smart girls. You must be so proud of them.

    Your new tack room is awesome. You'll love filling it up with your stuff. Great looking new saddle too. Happy 50 to come!

    1. Thank you! I'm excited to turn 50. I feel like it's a new adventure! And the stones were such a great way to enter it--a big caution sign: Live right!

      I was very proud of the relationship I witnessed with Sophie and Penny. Sophie had her heart, and that, to me, was like she'd just won the Kentucky Derby or Olympic medal. I credit that, in large part, to our trainer, Rebecca, who puts the relationship above ALL ELSE. She took the seeds that I planted and made them grow into a beautiful flowering tree in Sophie.

  3. Sorry about the kidney stone. I had one in college. My mother kept driving me from hospital to hospital, and they kept turning us away because they didn't carry our insurance, and I thanked them by puking in their lobby planters. My husband used to get them so often that he kept a bottle of vodka in the pantry for the pain, and he's not a drinker at all. I'm glad you were able to make it to part of the clinic. I'm sure you'll enjoy your new tack room.

    1. Ha! We accidentally chose the wrong ER, the one our insurance is not in-network with. On the bright side, I was the only one in the waiting room. On the down side, our bill is going to be outrageous. That is really sad that your husband got them so often. I hope that's not the case anymore.

  4. Ouch!! I've not experienced stones, but my day may coming. Seems everyone has them eventually. Hope you are feeling better now that they've passed. You must be SO proud of your granddaughter, horses - and you!! Super nice b-day present, you will no doubt put it to good use!!

    1. Drink lots and lots of water every day and you won't get stones. I can almost guarantee it. Pure water. Your urine should always be clear and you are good to go.

      Yes, I will put it to good use, for sure! We have so many riders and equipment nowadays, we need it "bigly."

  5. Wow, you stayed busy despite the kidney stones! I've never had them, thank goodness, but I hear they're just about as bad as it gets.

    You make me want to play with obstacles. That's one thing I know I can do, even if I can't ride much. And it's fun!

    I can't wait to see your finished shed!

    1. It's like childbirth, but steady rather than contractions. The difference is, you can take pain meds....eventually.They take their sweet time though...probably because of drug seekers.

      Oh yes, obstacles are great work from the ground. We spent all winter working on them, slowly building up, and you could really see the payoff in the horses minds. They were more aware of all 4 feet.

  6. Kidney stones sound horrible! Glad you are over that! I keep 5 twelve ounce glass bottles of water in the fridge and try to drink all of them during the day. I have one on my night stand too and drink it during the night.

    Love the series of photos of the tire obstacles- it is so good to mentor children with horses, and it looks like Sophie is well on her way to becoming a good horsewoman.

    Love the tack room, and happy upcoming 50th!

  7. Smart woman, Shirley! I'm sure you'll never get kidney stones...and lots of other things. Water is a cleansing agent--good for all our organs. I will have to do something similar to you so I can keep track of the amount of water I'm getting. It's easy to get busy and lose sight.

  8. Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry about those kidney stones! I remember my dad passing one and the obvious pain he was in. And he was a tough old bird! I definitely don't drink enough water, but the really unusual thing about that is that I have stage 3 kidney disease and my kidney doc tells me NOT to drink much water. Imagine that. No matter how much research I do on my own, there's so much conflicting information out there. It's so frustrating! My mom died of kidney failure and it runs in my family. I need my kidneys too! Scares the tar out of me to think about dialysis...think I'd rather just die. Seriously. I think regardless of what the doc says, I'm going to (try) to start drinking lots more water. My common sense brain says it has to be good for me.

    I LOVE the fact that you and your grandkids put the horse first! The relationship is everything!! Makes my heart so happy to see. Your pics tell the tale and it's beautiful. :)

    Wow! The big 5-0 - I remember feeling just as you are. Actually excited for a new life phase and committed to keeping going and trying to be fit. Sadly, I've lapsed into my old ways, but you are an inspiration to me at 57 and I'm going to try harder. I definitely don't feel as young as I once was...
    Awesome birthday gifts!!! What brand and type is that saddle? I'm all about reducing the amount of weight I have to lift these days too, and want to be comfortable above all else. My hubby has one of those Cashel tush cush pads for his saddle too. He loves it, but I hate how it makes me feel not deep enough in the seat. Happy Birthday!!!

  9. So sorry about the kidney stones. I've heard that they are almost as painful as childbirth. Fortunately, I've not had kidney stones so I can't validate that. I've done some obstacle clinics with Jackson, and Brett did a lot with Flash -- I can confirm that it isn't easy. Good job all the way around.

  10. I am sorry for the kidney stones- I've not had them but can appreciate how painful they are. I love how Leah trusted you to do the things this time. She has helped you find your inner calm.


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