been in a lot of pain recently, and there's been no one but myself
to blame. My three-year-old kidney stone problem has re-emerged
again and I'm regretting not drinking enough to stop them from
two weeks ago I decided out of the blue to have an ultra-sound
scan to assess the progress on the stone in my left kidney. The
news was not good- the stone had increased in diameter from 3mm
to 5mm, and IN ADDITION there were two extra stones in my right
kidney, both about 3mm in diameter. The doctor's advice was the
same as the doctors before him: drink. I asked him about the possibility
of passing the stone as big as 5mm, he explained that
he had passed a stone himself which was 12mm in diameter! Man,
I find that almost beyond belief- he explained that it was unimaginably
painful but possible.
had further advice as to what to drink- beer! Ah-ha, so that's
how he coped with the pain, he got himself stoned first (forgive
the pun!). He went on to explain that beer is one of the best
things to drink to flush out kidney stones. The malt in the beer
softens the urethra tubes from the kidney to the bladder, and
the alcohol dilates the tubes and causes the drinker to pass water
more often. He didn't give an upper limit of how much to drink,
but the more the better. In essence his advice was to get paralysed
every night until the kidney stones were passed, then I would
be too drunk to care about the pain.
unfortunately for me I don't actually like beer, never have- and
there are only three types of beer which you can buy in Egypt.
The foreign stuff which is imported and has a high "vice"
tax: This stuff can cost about £4 a pint but is at least
palatable. The alternative is to buy Egyptian beer. Now the Egyptian
beer making industry is not well advanced, bear in mind that the
majority religion here don't touch any kind of alcoholic drinks,
so there isn't the demand to have a wide selection of quality
beer. The non-alcoholic stuff is foul and tastes like washing
up water, the alcoholic stuff (as the doctor ordered) is barely
drinkable but quite cheap, less than 80p for a 500ml can. For
the past couple of weeks I've tried to drink one can each evening.
I've found it more palatable to drink it whilst eating something
savoury, but it is still an effort to get through the whole can.
If only I could get cider here . . .
On Monday morning I woke up with a slight pain in my left kidney,
and it was getting worse as I lay down. The pain is usually an
indication that the stone is moving- it causes inflammation in
the kidney which in turn causes the pain. Within about 20 minutes
the pain was really bad. Fortunately we keep some appropriate
injections in the fridge in case the pain returns (anyone can
buy the drugs and injections over the counter at any pharmacist)
but of course ministering the injections is another matter. Alison
called a midwife friend of ours who knows how to give an injection
properly. She promptly came and gave me the jab but it took a
while to have an effect. In the meantime I went through the usual
bouts of wallowing in self-pity and vomiting with pain until the
drugs began working.
result? Nothing! was passed- just a small movement in the kidney
by a 5mm stone and that was it- I was in bed for the whole day
and achieved nothing. This means that the pain can start again
at any time. I've been informed (by those who know better than
me) that the pain caused by kidney stones is just as bad as labour
pains. The advantage with labour pains however is that it is fairly
predicable when the pain will happen, you have something to show
for it at the end, and the pain doesn't occur more frequently
than every nine months.
news. Alison went to Belgium recently to attend a bookkeepers
course. She will be keeping the accounts for our company here
and so needed to attend a ten-day course. She took Lydia with
her. As we were planning for this we realised that there were
going to be problems. First, how was Alison going to look after
a 10-month-old AND attend the course. Second, how was I going
to look after Hannah and Esther AND attend my meetings? Fortunately
we have understanding parents who are very willing to help look
after our children. Alison's Dad met her in Belgium and took care
of Lydia during classes, and my Mum came to take care of Hannah
and Esther (and do the washing up, ironing, cleaning, cooking
. . . etc.) while I pursued my children's programme.
in Belgium Alison heard that her grandmother died, she had a stroke
last year and had never fully recovered. The funeral service was
last Thursday, Alison spent the afternoon in a local cemetery.
Mum is extending her visit until 19th of December. She's very
useful to have around, I guess most guys would welcome a visit
from their mothers especially when they bake, cook, iron,
look after the children and baby-sit for free. Hannah and Esther
are excited about her staying too.
I'm working out a programme for the beginning of next year. The
work is going really well, I've taken many meetings and we have
seen many children's lives touched. It is so much better now that
I've been freed from part-time computer work. Often it is difficult
to keep on thinking of new material for the places I go to on
a regular basis but I'm pleased to say that so far I haven't dried
is the first day of the month of Ramadan, which is a sacred month
for the majority religion here. I thought that it was a few days
from now, but late this afternoon I noticed that there were a
lot of bad-tempered people around, and I saw a few intense arguments
between drivers on the roads, almost getting to the point of violence.
This made me think again, and later I found out that indeed it
had started today. The reason for the bad tempers is because most
people are fasting between sunrise and sunset- and it is a complete
fast without food, water, sex, smoking (strict adherents
won't even swallow saliva) and as a result late in the afternoon
a lot of tempers flair up. To get through the day most people
will wake up extra early and stuff themselves as much as possible-
so you can imagine that in the late afternoon they are also very
called a fast, for many people Ramadan is a time of over-indulgence
throughout the night. Shops are stocked fully for the month because
a lot more food is consumed throughout the fast than any other
time of the year. I guess you could almost compare it to the Western
Christmas- it has taken on a worldly dimension to what was essentially
a time of spiritual contemplation. Many people will become more
"religious" throughout this time and start to read the
Quoran. The majority religion feels that this time unites them
as a people group. For people like me living here the time becomes
more of a challenge.
write another update closer to Christmas, as many of you have
probably realised, I've resorted to sending out these updates
once every month.
Alison, Hannah, Esther and Lydia
Don't forget, these updates and the latest family news can be
found on our website: www.theFells.net
The attached photo was taken on Alison's birthday, we went to
pizza hut as a family treat.
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