Sunday, July 31, 2005

Asher Yatzar. Stop snickering—I’m serious.

Yes, I know that this blessing is sometimes described as the "bathroom brachah." But my husband and son both have kidney stones (my husband just had surgery), and our son also has Crohn’s Discease (—Asacol prescription $215 per month, not covered by student health insurance). Under the circumstances, I don’t really have much choice but to be serious when I recite this prayer.

I’m trying to do some semblance of a literal translation with my limited knowledge of Hebrew:

Praised are You, _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _, Sovereign of the Universe, Who fashioned the human (ha-adam) in wisdom, and created in him openings and openings, cavities and cavities (Artscroll siddur [prayerbook]: “many openings and many cavities;" Birnbaum siddur: “a system of ducts and tubes”). It is obvious and known before the Throne of Your Glory that if but one of them were to be ruptured or but one of them were to be blocked it would be impossible to survive and to stand before You. Praised are You, Who heals all flesh and acts wonderously.

It gets worse, folks. One of our part-time employees, a young college student, recently landed herself in the hospital with gall stones.

Will someone please explain to me why it is that my husband had his first kidney stone attack when he was in his late fifties, whereas our son had his first kidney stone attack when he was one day short of 22? And what’s with twenty-somethings getting gall stones?

Some of the staff were talking about this. Their theory is that pollution is affecting the health of our young folk.

Comments, please. I’m particularly interested in hearing from colitis sufferer Another meshugannah mommy at (see her Wednesday, June 22, 2005 post, “Body,” at (I'd e-mail her if I knew her address) and from the blogosphere’s resident healthcare professionals of my acquaintance (and any others whose acquaintance I’ve not yet made), physicians Dr. Mark, of ; Dr. Dilbert, of ; Dr. Bean, of (no e-mail address -- drat!) and nurse Mrs. Balabusta, of As soon as this gets published, I'll be e-mailing all of the above whose addresses I have.


Blogger Another meshugannah mommy said...

Well, I hear you on the expense of medications. My UC has been getting ugly, and my doc is just pumping me full of meds. Of course the cheapest one, prednisone, is one that I absolutely refuse to ever take again!

As for the pollution theory -- I am not a doctor. But I do know that my UC showed up for the first time approximately one month after becoming ill in Mexico.

Sun Jul 31, 08:16:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"Montezuma's Revenge" strikes again. :( I'll keep you in mind when I davven/pray the brachah/blessing "rofeh cholim" (Praised are You who heals the sick). May you be blessed with a complete healing, a.s.a.p. I suppose I should be happy that I don't have anything more radical than lactose intolerance and acid reflux disease to deal with, though the latter, being rough on the esophagus, is doing a number on my ability to sing.

Sun Jul 31, 10:54:00 AM 2005  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

As I get older I realize just how important that bracha is. We have it nailed to the bathroom door (just under the PT bathroom questionaire).

The old Rabbis knew what was really important.

As to your son's kidney stones, you need to talk to his doctor. Maybe he needs to drink more fluids?

Mon Aug 01, 11:39:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Well, I suggested to the Young Scientist that he drink more fluids. Of course, I'm talking to a 22-year-old. How much of this he's actually going to listen to . . .

As for us talking to his doctor, our son insists that we *not* speak with his doctor on the grounds that his medical care is now his personal business. Of course, we do have a certain amount of leverage, since we're still *paying* for said medical care, but still . . .

Sigh. Ah, the joys of having an adult child.

Mon Aug 01, 08:10:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Noam S said...

My wife's grandfather(a physician) used to get asked at social functions and kiddushes about medical problems. His first response was usually..."ok, take off all your clothes." My father, however, used to be the last one at kiddushes because he was always trying to help all the little old people with their medical problems. I guess I take after my father, rather than my grandfather in law, so here goes:

As best as I remember, there are a number of reasons for gall stones and kidney stones. Kidney stones especially can be of a number of different types, and sometimes the tendency is inherited because the body makes more of a certain chemical which gets excreted, and precipitates(goes from solution to solid) out and becomes a stone. Hydration works by increasing the amount of water to dissolve the chemicals. Also, there are kidney abnormalities that can predispose to stones. If the environment(ie, the stuff you eat/drink, I doubt inhaled stuff affects your kidneys unless there are kidney toxins involved) increases the amount of stone inducing material, then it could result in more stones. but it is probably a dietary thing, rather than chemicals polluting the environment.

Gall stones are typically found in overweight middle aged women(there are mnemonics which I will not repeat) but they can be found in those younger and in guys. Again, increases in dietary fats increases the liklihood of stones. So, diet is probably more of a factor than pollution.

In addition, from a statistical point of view, if you are looking for a phenomenon, you will likely find it. You probably haven't thought of all the people you know who DONT have kidney or gall stones, so if you are making a fraction of how many people have these problems, you have to look not only at the numerator, but also the denominator. 3 people out of 10 would be a lot. 3 out of 1000 would not.

All of this if from hazy memory. For real info perhaps mayo or some other site with real doctors might be more helpful.

Tue Aug 02, 03:31:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Thanks, dilbert! The Young Scientist just got another "suggestion" from his dear olde mom that he drink more fluids.

I just added to my favorites.

Tue Aug 02, 10:27:00 PM 2005  

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