When you are on vacation, a kidney stone is there last thing you want to experience. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it once a stone begins to work itself through your system. Throughout the course of my life a have passed several kidney stones and over the weekend, I passed one while on vacation with my family. Kidney stones can strike at any time, here is how I recommend dealing with them when you are on vacation.
- Remain calm
- Walk, keep moving
- Drink lots of water and juice
- OTC pain relievers: AZO, Ibuprophen
- Go to the hospital
Maintaining a calm mental state is crucial to passing a kidney stone. The more worked up you get psychologically the more pain you feel. Passing a kidney stone is excruciatingly painful but with the right mental attitude you can make it easier on yourself and everyone around you. Distract yourself from the pain by thinking calming thoughts. As pain sensations begin to flood your body allow you mind to be float away toward happy and peaceful memories. Think of times in your life that brought you happiness and warm feelings. While completely distracting yourself from kidney stone pain is impossible, switching your concentration can bring you a great deal of relief and help you cope with the pain.
Walk around and keep moving. When I am passing a kidney stone I pace around. Sitting is more difficult for me because it makes it more difficult to keep my mind off of the pain. Walking helps me to distract myself both mentally and physically. Pacing provides me with a tiny bit of environmental and physical stimuli that I use to overcome the pain sensation. Some people may choose to be still and meditate but I find more comfort in movement.
Drink LOTS of water and juice. Staying hydrated in crucial to passing a kidney stone. The more water you drink the more force is exerted on the stone. Without water, you will never move it from point A to point B. Drinking water can shorten the time it takes a kidney stone to pass through your body. As anyone who has ever suffered from a kidney stone knows, the sooner you get it out of your body the better. As you pain increases it becomes increasingly difficult to drink fluids but you have to push yourself. Hydration is critical.
OTC pain relievers may provide slight relief. I always try over the counter products like Ibuprophen and AZO before prescription drugs. Ibuprofen can provide slight pain relief and AZO works directly on the site of urinary pain. This combination of pain relievers will provide you with as much relief as you can get without a prescription.
If the pain becomes unbearable, you begin to have a fever, or vomiting it’s probably a good time to head to the hospital. When you are on vacation and you have activities planned, going to the hospital is the last thing you want to do. The thought of disappointing your family can be a powerful source of motivation but sometimes the best choice is to tap out and see a doctor. At 4:00 in the morning on our last vacation, the pain became so intense I had to tap out. We weren’t sure where the closest hospital was so we Googled it and found one just a few miles away. They got me back almost immediately gave me IV fluids and pain medication. After getting my CT scan and getting me stabilized, we were off to the pharmacy and made it back to our resort in time for the first event! Afterwards, I felt like an idiot for not going sooner.
Kidney stones can be very painful and can humble the strongest of men. You can choose to let a kidney stone ruin your vacation or you can fight back by remaining calm, walking it off, hydrating, taking OTC pain relievers, and when all else fails, by going to the hospital. I didn’t let my pain and suffering stop me from enjoying my vacation. I could have easily called everything off and went home or shut myself in the hotel room but I chose to fight back and ended up having a great time despite the agony of it all. Attending all the events we had scheduled helped keep my mind off of the pain and I would recommend that any day over laying in the room writhing in misery.