Probably This Means I’m Crazy…

So t’other night, my boyfriend and love of my life got a kidney stone.

If you’ve never had a kidney stone, count yourself lucky–the pain is generally rated somewhere past childbirth, torture, and slow decapitation. I had to drive him to the ER, while he lay in fetal position in my back seat.

This was not pleasant, needless to say, moreso because we didn’t know for sure it was a kidney stone and I was basically doing seventy down a dark country road in the rain praying “Oh sweet Ganesh, let him not have a burst appendix.”

Up until the drive, I’d been holding it together pretty well. There was the next thing to be done, and the next thing to be done. Get his kids ready to go to their mother’s. Call their mother to take them. Get Kevin down to the car. Etc. Once I got in the car, though, there wasn’t anything to do next but drive, and my brain, which had been very tightly focused, relaxed, and started to fall apart.

“Stop that!” I told myself, feeling the snivelling coming on. “This isn’t productive!”

My brain continued to snivel.

“This is not helping!” I told it.

The brain was unmoved.

“Would Digger do this?” I demanded.

And my brain…shut up. Nope, Digger wouldn’t snivel. Digger would rise to the occasion. Surely I was not to be out done by a figment of my imagination!

As coping mechanisms go, it’s arguably a bit disfunctional, but hey, whatever works.

Kevin is doing well now, resting reasonably comfortably. Stone hasn’t passed yet, but the pain’s nowhere near the double-over-and-vomit range, so he’s much happier.

Discussion (40)¬

  1. maparent says:

    Sounds very sane to me. Role models have always been ideals. Gods, ancestors, legendary heroes… Why not webcomic heroes?

  2. mearn4d10 says:

    Pff. Personally, I’d call this one hell of a sane coping mechanism. But then, who can claim one is entirely sane? Not i, nay, not I….

  3. crys says:

    Maybe we all have our inner wombats, just not everyone has the presence of mind to call upon them in times of need..

    Hope kevin’s back in good health soon. from what I’ve read, them kidney stones are nasty..

  4. Jenn says:

    Brave Ursula-mousie! Just remember that the original Digger had to come from somewhere.

  5. Wood says:

    The question, as always, is : “What would Digger do ?”

    I think I’ve heard people say this about a different character.

  6. Laura says:

    I’ve done that using an old role-playing game character. πŸ™‚

  7. Eliza says:

    Sorry to hear about Kevin. πŸ™

    Interestingly enough, I’ve done the same thing. About five months ago, my cat dragged a duck as big as she was through the dog doors in our house. I was home alone at the time, came out for breakfast, and there was a large, dead, black duck on our carpet and no one else to clean it up. … That said, channeling a character backfired on me. My bravest hero is also a superstitious doctor, and informed me in no uncertain terms that he would not touch a bird dead of unknown causes. I was on my own for that one.

    At least Digger is helpful…

  8. John the Wysard says:

    GoodThoughts on the way for both of you.

    Don’t you love how characters you’ve invented take on a certain level of independence… and aren’t you glad that it was Digger instead of (say) Murai that came to the fore?

  9. Zoe says:

    I dunno… to me personaly ‘what would Digger do’ seems a lot more sane than ‘what would Jesus do’…
    (no offence meant to anyone who believes in Jesus)

  10. Siege says:

    I think, at some point, Digger would just hide somewhere and pretend nothing was happening for ten or twenty minutes, while trying to think of something much more useful to do when she was done…

  11. The few hours between the onset of my first kidney stone and the introduction of Demerol into my system in the ER were undoubtedly the longest years of my life (once the Demerol got in there, I still hurt as much, but pain stopped mattering).

    Kevin has my complete sympathy, and you have it, too, for having to be around anyone in that much pain. πŸ™‚

  12. Joerg Mosthaf says:

    As a new reader (breezed through the archives in the last 3 days and ordered all three Digger books immediately :)) and first time commenter let me just add:
    Kudos to you and ally my sympathy for your boyfriend. I had a kidney stone a few months ago and can totally relate to him, and my (then girlfriend, now) wife was there for me the whole time despite some important scheduled meetings and I was _really_ glad for that!
    So well done and best to you both!
    And I love Digger πŸ˜€

  13. Dawn says:

    Eep, kidney stone! I hope he’ll recover fine. This is probably not a good time to suggest a dose of warrior tea.

  14. NigaiAmai Yume says:

    I have five “voices in my head”, based off of the five characters from my stories that most represent elements of my personality. There’s Logic, Compassion/Reason, the Inner Child, the Narcissistic Sex Goddess, and the useful elements of my depression.
    As necessary, I tend to “channel” the character I need (Most frequently Logic, for obvious reasons), acting they way they would while the rest of me is having an anxiety attack or whatever.
    Ya, it’s borderline crazy. But I’ve learned from 15 years of depression that what works is what’s best in the situation.
    BTW, all five love Digger, both the comic and the Wombat herself. Can you be crazy when you’re guided by a voice of reason and reality for hire? ^-^

  15. Lachesis says:

    now you realize, of course, that this absolutely DEMANDS a t-shirt for the rest of us:

    What Would Digger Do?

    and the royalist will just be rolling in…..

  16. Lachesis says:


    royalTIES…..royalties. i’m not a Whig holdover, i swear it.

    (never post in the a.m. while on allergy medications un-counteracted by caffeine)

  17. Larksilver says:

    Glad to hear he’s doing well, and that it wasn’t something life-threatening. And thank you for sharing your thought process with us, it’s always so refreshing to know that I’m not alone in arguing with myself when my brain – and the rest of me – do not comply with what my will desires. I think that calling on your “inner wombat” certainly proved more effective than my usual tactic of calling myself a ninny – somehow, that only makes the ninny more .. well, more snivel-ly.

  18. CMZero says:


    *wishes your dude a pleasant-as-is-possible-with-a-kidney-stone recovery*

  19. Snelg says:

    Reminds me of the story of the inspired doctor helping Mel Blanc come out of a coma:

  20. Urthdigger says:

    If you’re crazy, then I am too. I’ve done this on many occasions to bolster my bravery, or get myself to stop being lazy.

    Though, now I’ve got in my head someone making W.W.D.D bracelets πŸ™‚

  21. Sara says:

    Well, since Digger is one of the sanest beings around… I think you are in good hands!

    Hope that good health is restored pronto! good luck to you both

  22. ToraKiyoshi says:

    Digger comes from your mind, and as many artists have learned, is an extension of your psyche. It’s no surprise that she would be at the root of your “suck it up and deal with it!” challenge.

    I’m glad to hear that Kevin’s doing well. I watched someone go through appendix stones, and wouldn’t wish that kind of pain on anyone.


  23. jr says:

    I have on a number of occasions thought that what I was doing, Digger would approve of. The most recent time was last month when I was surveying caves for NASA. At one point I literally thought that Digger would understand this, and find it cool.

  24. Generalitary says:

    Also, looks like Ganesh answered your prayer. You may want to leave him a thanks offering of peanuts or whatever it is Ganesh likes.

  25. Three cheers for Digger, fiction, figment, or otherwise!

  26. Adreth says:

    *winces in sympathy* I’ve had to make that drive before. Granted, it was my best friend rather then a SO or relation, but still, it is NOT fun. Glad to hear everyone’s okay.

  27. Laurel says:

    WWDD – I like that, I like that alot. As a hero in our collective mythos, Digger is a wonderful, strong archetype for any woman and she’s fallible enough to make her even more approachable & lovable. But when it’s time to pull up your big-girl-panties and get something done, she’s there for you. Re: kidney stones… I did a small one once & thought my back was going to split open and an alien baby would come traipsing out. I send healing vibes to Kevin.

  28. Lukerya says:

    What are you talking about?! Digger is my sole role model and little voice in the head for years now. I consult her on all major undertakings and small life problems. And she is not even a figment of MY imagination. It is all your fault.

    Hope Kevin is getting better.

  29. Mike from Vashon says:

    It may be interesting to know that one gets a scan to determine how big the stone is. This is usually helpful to figure out if the stone can leave. Also interesting to know is that a normal x-ray can indicate what kind of stone it is. And, finally, check out this word on wikipedia: lithotripsy. My second stone lasted from June to January. I had one episode worth two (2) Vicodin tablets, and the one instance was quite enough. The other days it just nagged enough for me to chill. No long walks. As digger might suggest, that whole subsystem could use a makeover.

  30. Diddu says:

    hahaha and now the google ads are showing results for kidney stones!

  31. Lanthir says:

    Coping mechanisms are coping mechanisms, ne. They’re all good as long as they actually work.
    Besides, most of the writers and *all* of the RPers I know frequently chanel characters or “ask” their characters for advice to get through tough situations. Digger probably gives more constructive advice than a lot of my characters do.

  32. annie says:

    Posted waaaay back in the middle somewhere about what a great graphic book this is. I’m a Crone, addicted to this sort of thing, and because I’m retired and housework is the least of my concerns (meal getting next least), I have to really contain myself awaiting each new page. There is so much to appreciate in your book – the beautifully drawn art work in particular, the imaginative story, the morals within – and more. Thank you for these moments of joy.

  33. Alondro says:

    My mom used to have kidney stones frequently. The last one was called a ‘staghorn calculus’ which basically is a huge monolith that assumes the shape of your ureter and its main branches near the junction before they leave the kidney. It knocked her kidney’s function to about 1% and caused a huge amount of damage. Fortunately, the other kidney has never had any stones, so it’s fine for now.

    The fun part is, it’s caused by an inherited imbalance which causes chronic metabolic acidosis (her stones are uric acid stones, not calcium) and eventually type 2 diabetes. I have also inherited the trait. So, only a matter of time before I must endure the agony. :C

  34. Moggy says:

    One of my favorite characters once *told me* to stop pouting and get something done, so I could hardly say you were crazy.

    Besides which, when I was a kid, I coped with going down a certain dark corridor by pretending I was Wonder Woman. Worked like a charm.

  35. Amber Thompson says:

    I have chronic kidney stones, but yes the first was very bad,

  36. Gramina says:

    I will say that both Digger and (in a somewhat different way) Nurk have joined Samwise Gamgee and Gesten (a hertasi: motto – “we can do this”) as models of competence under stress. (Forget grace under pressure — I’ll settle for competence and be very happy!)

  37. geneseepaws says:

    My Family agrees, it is the worst thing that can happen, that you live through. A nurse told my brother that it was worse than childbirth, (A Woman nurse). They gave him very nice drugs! He got over it and it changed his out look on life and suffering.
    I must admit to having Digger’s rant on morals #269? on my wall at work. No one reads a text sheet on your wall. But I point to it and to the quote below it, about breakfast and a pick-ax. Both have helped me more that I ever imagined when I put them there. Thank you. She is a true guide!

  38. Grimmund says:

    >As coping mechanisms go, it’s arguably a bit disfunctional,
    >a bit disfunctional, but hey, whatever works.

    Murphy’s Laws of Land Warfare, #17: If it’s stupid but it works, it’s not stupid.

    A coping mechanism is only dysfunctional when it is expensive or destructive. Asking how a literary character would cope with the situation is neither.

    Glad to hear your sweetie is doing well.

  39. Narilibali says:

    I have voices, except mine are actually different parts of my personality, my hyper self, calm self, annoyed self and so on. Feel sorry for Kevin.

  40. Rick Woods says:

    I second/third/fourth/ninetieth the notion of a “What Would Digger Do” T-Shirt. Hell, if you want, I’ll design the thing and contact a printing company for you.