I’m getting stoned

Apparently, I have kidney stones, a malady I’ve heard others describe as more painful than childbirth.  I’m not sure why I’d be prone to the disease, considering I sit at home most days drinking copious quantities of green tea, water and seltzer, so I’m just going to blame our frustrating lawmakers in Olympia, and the fistfuls of Tums they’ve prompted me to swallow over the past couple months.

The symptoms started about a week ago, but last night was the first time the pain got bad enough to keep me awake.  Still, it’s not so bad at the moment, and I hope to get through this without cracking open my prescription of Vicodin.  We’ll see.

I mention my ailment, not to elicit your pity, but to point out how stupid our health care system is.  According to the NIH, each year kidney stones prompt 3 million visits to health care providers, and half a million people to visit emergency rooms.  So it’s a pretty common ailment.  And without robust insurance, it’s a pretty common way to find oneself in a financial hole.

If I pass my stones on my own it’s going to cost me only a few hundred dollars in doctors office visits and lab work, but should I require further diagnosis and treatment—CT scans, ureteroscopy, surgery, a hospital stay and follow-up—it’ll cost me thousands of dollars before my deductible is exhausted and my co-insurance stoploss kicks in.  And that’s with an insurance plan on which I already pay a couple hundred dollars a month.

I’m sure I’ll manage to get by.

But a lot of families wouldn’t.  For many folks, even in good times, five to six thousand dollars in medical expenses could mean the difference between keeping or losing the house, or perhaps, completing a college degree.  And for the uninsured, the costs from an ailment as common as a tiny chunk of calcium stuck in your kidney could easily exceed $40,000.

There are those on the right who resent what social safety net we have, and who rail against being asked to pay for the consequences of the poor choices of others.  But affordable insurance simply isn’t available to tens of millions of American families, and God knows, nobody chooses to have a kidney stone.  So in the end, what good is the best health care available anywhere in the world, when there’s no functional system for providing it?


  1. 1

    Mark1 spews:

    Yawn, whine. Perhaps try getting a real job/gainful employment and you may find that it may also carry health insurance. Wow!

  2. 2

    Poster Child spews:

    Jeez, Goldy, I’m really sorry to hear this. I hoped to make my offer of sympathy before the shitbag trolls took the opportunity to attack you, blame the victim, and otherwise expose their craven values.

    But I was too late.

    Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help (getting K. to school for instance)

  3. 3

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Perhaps this will cheer you up Goldy:

    A woman went to her doctor for advice.
    She told him that her husband had developed a
    penchant for anal sex, and she was not sure that it was such a good idea.
    ‘Do you enjoy it?’ The doctor asked.
    ‘Actually, yes, I do.
    ”Does it hurt you?’ he asked.
    ‘No. I rather like it..
    ”Well, then,’ the doctor continued,
    ‘there’s no reason that you shouldn’t practice anal sex, if that’s what you like, so long as you take care not to get pregnant.’
    The woman was mystified. ‘What? You can get
    pregnant from anal sex?’
    Of course, ‘ the doctor replied. ‘Where
    Do you think Goldy and his Northwest Division of Lunatic Moonbats came from!’

    I’ve never had kidney stones before but have seen others who suffered from them. Nice of you to think of others less fortune while in such pain Goldy.

    Remember….April 15th….pay those taxes so that the government can help some more poor folks.

    Important tax reminder:
    Don’t forget to pay your taxes……

    Muchas gracias!
    21 million illegal aliens are depending on you!

  4. 4

    Jessica spews:

    I just passed a kidney stone that was around 6mm long by 5mm wide. I don’t have health insurance, so I only went to the Doctor once and at the time, we both thought it was just a urinary tract infection.

    The Dr. was great and charged me less than they could have by saying they did a urine dip instead of a full urinalysis. He also gave me the sample of antibiotics, instead of making me get a prescription and paying for it. He also didn’t lecture me when I told him I started taking some antibiotics a family member gave me before going in to see him. When you pay cash, a lot of places will charge you 35% less, which is what they did.

    Therefore, as long as I don’t have insurance, I will go to the Country Doc or, if I can’t get into the Country Doc soon enough, one of the Swedish Clinics. Country Doc couldn’t get me in for a few days, so I was in a bind and didn’t mind paying $100 to go to Swedish. Country Doc charged me $35.

    Had I had health insurance, the night I passed the stone could’ve easily been me passing the stone in the ER, and I would’ve seen a Dr. sooner instead of going in a few days after I was trying to medicate myself back to health.

    Lastly, I’ve been through childbirth, gall stones, mild pancreatitis, and a ruptured cyst on my ovary, and this kidney stone was the least painful, though I was probably lucky and I do know that kidney stones can be very painful.

  5. 5

    Jessica spews:

    Also, even though I have no income, I can’t get Basic Health coverage. Don’t even get me started on that bureaucratic nightmare of applying for it and the ridiculous phone call they made to me when they thought I was getting $200 in income a month. I was a Public Admin major, so I get bureaucracy, but Basic Health is a nightmare. Enrollment is full and they didn’t tell me until several weeks after they had my application in.

  6. 6

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    How long have you had no income?

    Actually, you pretty much did the right thing.
    Lots of docs will charge much less if you negotiate upfron with cash.
    And they get lots of sample meds.

    With socialized medicine, you would be sitting in the waiting room behind 500 illegal aliens…screaming & suffering.
    The good docs will retire and you will have to explain your problem to someone who doesn’t speak English.

  7. 7

    Rick D. spews:

    I’m not sure why I’d be prone to the disease, considering I sit at home most days drinking copious quantities of green tea, water and seltzer, so I’m just going to blame our frustrating lawmakers in Olympia, and the fistfuls of Tums they’ve prompted me to swallow over the past couple months.

    Classic victimology from Goldy. 3 years without being gainfully employed and he’s looking for excuses for an ailment he receives?
    Oddly enough, he’d have healthcare most likely if he had bothered to get off his dead ass and find a job. Instead, we get his whimpering on a blog thread about having ‘kidney stones’.

    My advice? Grow the hell up, like most men your age.

    2. Poster Child spews:
    Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help (getting K. to school for instance)

    ..and as always, beware of child molester offers of help.

  8. 8

    delbert spews:

    Now imagine getting treated by an American version of the UK’s NHS…

    All the competence of any huge bureaucracy, which is to say none, applied with the compassion of the IRS.

    You’d be tearing your tallywhacker off.

  9. 9

    Jessica spews:

    Mr. Cynical,

    No income since the first week of November. But I am filing for unemployment now, so I am getting about $1240/month. I might be living off of that for quite awhile.

    I have a Master’s degree and solid work experience, but it’s nearly impossible to get hired right now, especially by the City of Seattle, who I am pretty sure has messed up hiring practices. It’s all about who you know and who you blow.

  10. 10

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Wow, Unemployment Benefits is Washington are mighty generous.

    Good luck with your job search.
    Your job now is to find a job.
    Approach it like that…8 hrs./day, 5 days/wk.
    Our sons have friends who recently found excellent jobs. They were very persistent.

    I think Government jobs is a huge longshot.
    Have you ever worked in the private sector??
    What is your Master’s in??

  11. 11


    Mark @1,

    So what you’re saying is, the only people who deserve robust, affordable health care, are employees? It is in the interest of our nation to deny access to affordable health care to entrepreneurs and the self employed, let alone the working poor? You’re really saying that it is a good thing that individuals should not have the opportunity to buy affordable, comprehensive health care? Employees, who are part of groups, yes, but the self-employed, no?

  12. 12

    correctnotright spews:

    Wow – the troll morons are really out tonight.

    Fisrst, ask any Canadian or British or French citizen if they would trade their insurance for ours…..you won’t get a single person who would be willing to trade.

    Second, many jobs are now scrimping on the plans they offer – with high deductibles and lousy coverage. Third, many plans now don’t cover that much and make you pay anyways.

    the reson the state plan is not taking on anyone else is the state is out of money. The safety net is messed up.


    They have ultrasound procedures where they can try to break up the kidney stones so they pass out more easily.

    Kidney stones tend to form when blood calcium levels are too high:

    Try the following to help prevent them in the future:

    Low calcium diet (avoid milk products and lay off the ice cream and cheese)
    vitamin D supplements
    Weight bearing exercises (help to increase calcium into the bone and you will be buff)
    See if your PTH level is too high
    Keep the salt levels low too, avoid salting foods

    The green tea is OK but lot’s of water is better – the tannins might enhance the gallsone formation.

  13. 13

    Rick D. spews:

    CNR spewed:
    The safety net is messed up.

    That’s because too many have turned the safety net into a hammock….Like Goldy instance.

  14. 14

    correctnotright spews:

    @ 13, blind and foolish, little ricky D.

    The reason the safety net is not working is that the state is broke and many people have lsot thier jobs. At a time when there is record need, the lack of a progressive and constant source of revenue has led to drastic cuts in the safety net.

    Have you not been paying attention?

    Due to the Bush recession we have an unemployment rate that is close to 8.5% nationally and in this state – other states are even worse off. In the meantime, our revenue is down from the inequitable sales tax that is the main source of revenue in Washinton state.

  15. 15

    Jessica spews:


    Degree is in Public Admin. I can do private sector work, but my background and education are more suited for public and non-profit.

    My benefits are actually coming from Washington D.C.

  16. 16

    Rick D. spews:

    14. correct,never right spews:
    @ 13, blind and foolish, little ricky D.
    The reason the safety net is not working is that the state is broke and many people have lsot(sic) thier(sic) jobs.

    …tell it to Queen Christine, she’s the one that increased state spending by 8 Billion in her first term.

    Don’t whine to me, troll.

  17. 17

    busdrivermike spews:

    I love reading this blog to hear the simple minded Republicans solve all the worlds problems.

    Health plan? Don’t get sick. Or work for a nice corporation who has the heart of Mother Teresa.

    Retirement? Work till you die.

    Economy-lower taxes, especially on the rich. Drugs-justsayno. Terrorism…torture.

    And the ultimate cure all of the religious right…..pray.

    I’m just wondering. Why after twenty of the last twenty eight years of Republican simplistic rule are we in a depression, and losing or almost losing two wars?

    It must be the damn liberal Democrats. See how simple it all is?

  18. 18

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Washington State has had 25 years of Democrat control of the Governor’s Mansion.
    Are you all swollen up with pride over the mess Gregoire has created by overspending??
    I think not.

    You just close your eyes and blame Bush for Gregoire’s overspending in the face of a recession and her lack of action when everyone in the State knew we were in trouble.

    Gregoire has a $43 million DEFICIT THIS Biennium… and has made up a $9 Billion Deficit by assuming all Budget increases are approved.
    How dishonest can you get??

  19. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 And what should we do with employers who refuse to provide health insurance to hard workers to increase their own profits? Sue them or shoot them?

  20. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    According to asinine asswipes like mark, those who control the jobs and money have nothing to do with whether workers have health insurance, it’s in the hands of the workers.

  21. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “And for the uninsured, the costs from an ailment as common as a tiny chunk of calcium stuck in your kidney could easily exceed $40,000.”

    Actually not. Insurance is only needed by people with income or assets. When the uninsured get kidney stones, they get treated, and the rest of us get their bills.

  22. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @3 I understand human-goat hybrids are possible, too, so you’d better take precautions so you don’t commit a biological catastrophe, Klynikal.

  23. 23

    delbert spews:


    You’re delusional. Or lying. Or both.

    Canadians are in US Hospitals all the time paying cash out of pocket so they can GET healthcare. Google “cancer Canada US treatment options” for yourself.

    The NHS is a sad joke in Britain.

  24. 24


    Correctornot @12,

    ESWL is actually the most expensive routine treatment option. According to the Regence web site, the cost of a full course of ESWL treatment typically ranges from $4,753 to $13,231. And that’s if everything goes right.

    Modern health care is expensive.

  25. 26

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    You can go on welfare…or pretend to be an illegal alien. Then it’s free for sure.

    I hope you just gut it out Goldy.
    A little pain in your life will probably draw you closer to God. You desperately need that.
    It will also toughen you up and help prepare you better for the rough road ahead.

    Have you ever had callouses on your hands Goldy?

  26. 28

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Mine just came on all of a sudden a few years ago, while I was still living in the area. My old rugby club (Budd Bay RFC of Olympia) was playing a friendly against Valley Kangaroos of Burien, and I took a hard tackle that drove me out of bounds. I clear the cobwebs and get back in the game, fine as can be, right? Three hours later I’m literally on the floor in agony in a bathroom stall at Ikea. Adding insult to injury, my wife thought I’d hurt my back! Several hours after that, I’d finally convinced her to take me to St. Peter’s in Olympia, where they discovered a rather small (2mm) but highly annoying distal stone knocked loose by that tackle.

    I probably passed it without even knowing about it, but loose stones can….. how shall we say, ‘circle the drain’ for months, even years. The funny thing about all this was a while later, when my wife told me that her mother had two stones, but had yet to pass them in nearly ten years.

    I had to remind her that her mother thought rugby was a long-sleeved shirt.

  27. 29

    ChangeInTime spews:

    Goldy- Lousy deal for sure. Here’s a suggestion:

    My wife went through kidney stone treatment last year (had a large stone blasted), but did not pass all the fragments. She had pain for months until she finally tried a home remedy. Try mixing two ounces each of olive oil and lemon juice, and down the hatch! Seems like a home remedy that works for a lot of people.

    Hopefully you get some relief.

  28. 30

    Chris Stefan spews:

    You know what, even if every single horror story about the Canadian health care system or the UK’s NHS is true and the norm I’d still take either one over what we have currently in the US.

  29. 31

    kirk91 spews:

    Like how the usual right wing support for someone who’s trying to start/run their own business (Goldy and this website) runs out the window like their other ‘principles’ (worry over budget deficits under Reagan/Bush2, worry over government power under Bush2) when it suits their actual purpose of yelling loudly and saying nothing.

  30. 32

    Rae spews:

    If any of the people who told you that passing a kidney stone is worse than childbirth were men, you should immediately discount that. In fact, Jessica did earlier, so thank you.

    Men are notoriously wimpy when it comes to pain, unless it’s connected with doing something “manly.” That includes my very masculine DH, who would readily admit it.

  31. 33

    delbert spews:

    @30 Like all socialists, drag everybody into the mud; cold, wet and naked – so everybody can equal and equally miserable.


  32. 34

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    Goldy whined:
    so I’m just going to blame

    Why do left wing-nuts always have to blame others. Are left wing-nuts genetically incapable of taking responsibility for their own lives?

    against being asked to pay for the consequences of the poor choices of others.

    If people that continuously make bad choices get bailed out how do they learn to make better decisions? If you get rewarded for bad choices what’s the incentive for maki8ng adult choices.

  33. 35

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    Hey Marvin the child rapist when your Publican buddies who run the banks got bailed out – where was your outrage then you fucking ass-licking hypocrite.

  34. 36

    correctnotright spews:

    @16: Wittle Wicky D.:

    As usual, you are wrong, stupid and lying. The reason the state is broke has been explained on here many times – but I will break it down very simply for you and your limited intellectual capacity.
    There is a nationwide recession. Our state is actually in better shape than many others – but it is dependent on sales taxes that take a huge hit in depressions. Our state has not increased funding over the population gain much at all – and your 8 billion number is pure BS if you count the state obligations that they have to pay out.

    Oh, and thanks for pointing out my obvious typos – as if that shows anything. Anyone can mistype – but only a few can lie and fail to understand logic like you.

  35. 37

    correctnotright spews:

    @34: Why do….republicans always have to use the word always?

    Why do republicans have a knee-jerk reflex to blame a democratic president for any and everything but cut the worst President in history (Busho) immeasurable slack?

    Get a life Stamm – because you have none.

  36. 38


    ChangeInTime @29,

    Try mixing two ounces each of olive oil and lemon juice, and down the hatch! Seems like a home remedy that works for a lot of people.

    Can I add some salt, pepper and fresh crushed garlic? Sounds like it would make a lovely salad dressing.

  37. 39

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Goldy, you need to lay off the Tums.

    Also, green vegetables with high oxalic acid content – like spinach. Sorry.

  38. 40

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    against being asked to pay for the consequences of the poor choices of others.

    Like the Wall Street investment bankers, right?