Cabin fever

This week hasn’t been quite as I expected….

John I. Carney
5 min readJan 21, 2024

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Selfie of the author, John Carney, wearing a stocking cap and heavy winter coat and standing in front of his apartment building. The lawn is covered with snow. Carney’s light-sensitive eyeglass lenses have fully darkened.

My original plan for the week of Jan. 14 was that on Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I would be off work along with the rest of county government. I would go to work on Tuesday, but would get to bed early Tuesday night.

Very early Wednesday morning, a friend of mine from church would pick me up and take me to Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital, about a half-hour’s drive away, for a kidney stone ultrasound procedure. My urologist had said I would also need to plan for a sick day on Thursday, after the procedure.

I hoped I would feel well enough to return to work on Friday, and after work to teach a writing class that I’ve recently started with female jail inmates.

Well, the weather had other plans. MLK Day was spent anticipating the biggest snow event in Bedford County in years. The snow started falling Monday evening, and — coupled with bitterly-cold temperatures that made it hard for de-icers like salt to be effective — shut down much of Middle Tennessee for the week. I write this on Saturday night, and even tomorrow morning, many of Shelbyville’s churches have called off their services.

My kidney stone procedure was postponed. I won’t know when it will be rescheduled until my urologist’s office re-opens, hopefully on Monday. The urologist normally does this procedure on Wednesdays, so I’m hoping for a reschedule this coming Wednesday, but have no idea whether that’s certain or not. I am not in the kind of pain normally associated with kidney stones; my problem is that several fragments from a laser procedure I had in November still haven’t found their way to the exit door, and so the urologist said this is the next step to getting rid of them. If I were to have the bad pain, it would be bad for me — and I am not hoping for it, believe me. But it would actually a good sign of sorts, because it would mean the stones were on the move.

Even so, there has been on and off discomfort since the first of the year. I usually just take some Tylenol or ibuprofen, and it goes away. But it has prevented me from sleeping in my usual position, and as a result I haven’t gotten very good sleep in weeks. I want to get the procedure rescheduled, so that I can start getting back to normal. But if the reschedule…

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John I. Carney

Author of “Dislike: Faith and Dialogue in the Age of Social Media,” available at http://www.lakeneuron.com/dislike