Enquirer Herald

Brad Harvey: Best ideas spawned from misery?

The last week or so has been pretty interesting around my house. A week ago Wednesday, I was heading into the office when I suddenly broke out into a cold sweat and chills.

The first thought that went through my head was that I must be coming down with this flu that has tormented so many folks lately. But it was only a few seconds later that I realized that was definitely not the case.

Just about as quickly as that thought popped into my head, a pain shot through my back and ran through my body like a bolt of lightning.

If you’ve ever experienced it, and it only takes one occurrence to learn it well, you know instantly that the culprit is a kidney stone.

I immediately reversed course and headed home where I quickly changed out of my khakis and dress shirt and into an old T-shirt and jeans in preparation for what I knew was coming next.

Sure enough, in less than a minute I was on the floor, writhing in pain and alternating back and forth between a fetal position and lying flat on my back as I stretched out as far as I could.

Since these things rarely pass quickly, and the pain is enough to turn the strongest of men into a whimpering puppy, I waited for that first wave of intense hurting to subside a bit and become a dull throbbing in my back before running to the car and speeding down to Piedmont West Urgent Care just outside of York.

My aim was to get there before those lightning bolts struck again, as they always do.

Admittedly, my foot was heavy on the accelerator as I made the 8- or 9-mile trek from my house in Bethany to their front door and, at the time, I couldn’t have cared less if the entire state’s fleet of highway patrol cars were going to pass me.

I was on a mission and wasn’t about to stop for anybody unless they were holding a syringe filled with something strong that would ease my misery.

The good folks at the Urgent Care took care of that for me and called my urologist in Charlotte to get me in with them as quickly as possible.

I then interrupted my wife’s regular Rotary Club meeting with a text nd told her to get ready because we had an hour to get to Charlotte and she had to drive.

To shorten what has already become a long story, my doctors up there performed a CT scan which determined that the 5mm culprit (which felt more like a bowling ball) had already made it through the narrowest part of the trip down from my right kidney and it was likely that I’d pass it if I was willing to just grin and bear it for a while.

I agreed to give it a try.

Just a few hours ago, as I was deep into the sixth day of this ordeal, that little rascal finally passed.

Even now, several hours later, I couldn’t be any more elated if I was to hit the Powerball for millions. However, it was during the first few minutes following the stone’s exit, while basking in the glow of that euphoria, that a thought occurred to me.

What would I have done if such a thing had happened to me when I was out on one of my crazy excursions of the past, like in the middle of nowhere in Alaska, the extreme backcountry of the Rockies or fishing one of the out islands of the Bahamas where civilization is a plane ride or long boat trip away?

Heck, what would I have done if I was just out hunting the woods on the backside of the farm here at home?

I’ve decided that I’m going to put together an emergency kit of sorts.

That thing will consist of a good first aid kit and a number of things which I’ll add to it, including a few pills from my regular prescriptions and, yes, you can bet I’ll be loading it up with the leftover meds from this ordeal which made the situation more bearable.

My plan is to keep this kit close no matter where I travel and when I’m around here it’ll probably stay squirreled away in the trunk so that I can get at it should the need arise.

I’ve already gone online and done a bit of searching for the first aid kit that will serve as the basis for my emergency stash and, though there are plenty of smaller ones in the $25 range, the one I’m going with runs around $40.

It’s got most everything that you’d expect to find in a first aid kit like gauze, bandages, eye wash, anti-bacterial ointment and such, but also other no brainers including sunscreen, insect repellant, insect sting relief and cream for poison oak.

Shoot, there’s even a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Where this thing could really be a lifesaver is with all of the things it contains that you’d never think about needing until that need smacked you in the face.

There are things like light sticks, waterproof matches, Chapstick, a Swiss Army knife, a signal mirror and a compass and whistle. It has a poncho to keep you dry and even an emergency survival bag that you can crawl into if you find that you’ll be stuck out in the elements overnight.

It appears that the company that put this thing together has thought of everything right down to hand warmers, something called an eight function bottle opener with fork, spoon and knife and, yes, it even includes that all important roll of toilet paper so you won’t have to start searching for the softest leaves.

Amazingly enough, all of this fits into a fold-out package that’s not much bigger than your average fanny pack.

To some, this little plan of mine might sound like I’m becoming a tad bit paranoid. I’d say that, at this point, you’d be right and anyone that has experienced what I have can tell you that my paranoia is for good reason.

Just give the idea some thought. You may just want to consider putting a little kit together of your own. After all, who knows?

The occasion may come up where you find yourself saying, “Wow! That fella in the paper isn’t so crazy after all.”

Brad Harvey is a freelance writer in Clover. Visit his website at www.bradharveyoutdoors.com or follow on Twitter @BHarveyOutdoors.