Kidney Stoned in Istanbul

Recently my son developed a painful kidney stone for the second time in the past few years.   He was hospitalized and treated and all is well now,  but I was reminded of the first time it happened.

My husband and I had just gotten off a flight from New York to San Francisco for a family celebration on the same day our son was flying to Turkey for a conference when my husband’s cell phone rang.  It was our son.   “I landed in Istanbul and I’m heading for the hotel,  but I got very sick on the plane and have excruciating pain in my lower back.”

Calmly my husband told him to see the hotel doctor and get to a hospital if necessary.  I,  on the other hand,  was frantic.  “Let’s get a flight to Turkey,  he needs us!”,  I told my husband.

My husband reminded me that our son was 34 and was halfway around the world,  our niece’s Bat Mitzvah was the next morning,  our passports were back in New York,  and neither one of us was a physican.

Sure enough the hotel doctor sent him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a kidney stone, treated,  and put on a morphine drip for the pain.  On the phone later my husband told him to get some sleep and we’d call the next day.

But after several hours I was in panic mode again and didn’t want to wait any longer to call him.   “No”, said my husband,  “it’s 3 AM in Turkey now and he’s probably asleep.”

But just then the phone rang and when I answered I heard my son’s voice.  “Hi Mom,  I was discharged from the hospital,  the pain is bearable and the doctor thinks the stone will pass by itself.”

“Thank goodness,” I said,  “are you back at your hotel yet?  I know it’s 3 AM there,  you must be exhausted,  try to get some sleep.   Maybe you should forget the conference and get a flight back home first thing in the morning.”

“Actually Mom,” my son said,  “I’m at a bar with some friends now,  Istanbul’s great!”

Dana Susan Lehrman


  • Ah kids. My daughter is having a medical procedure on May 8. I was frantic trying to get airline tickets, rearrange my schedule, get my own doctor appoints in, etc. She called me and said,"Mom, what's wrong with you? It's an out-patient procedure. So I said okay and asked her for a florist near her (she's outside of Chicago) and she said, "Mom, I'm having a procure, I'm not going to die, forget the flowers." Ah, kids. You just can't "love 'em and leave 'em" no matter how old they are!

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