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A rare stone for Christmas

Published: Sun, December 25, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

His career has spanned decades, and yet he had never come across anything like it. The color, the shape, the composition all pointed to something rare, unusual and even mysterious.

It was a stone like no other.

Dr. Richard Memo was intrigued. You see, he’s a veteran urologist and has treated just about every ailment relating to the human body’s plumbing system. Or so he thought.

But while performing outpatient surgery recently, he found a kidney stone that was unique, to say the least.

First some background. The patient has a history of stones and unlike a lot of people who are able to get rid of them — painfully, of course — he seems to have a developed an affinity for the little monsters. They insist on hanging around, and when coaxed to leave they find places to hide.

Two years ago, the urologist had to remove one surgically because it kept coming out of the kidney and then heading back in.

So, when the patient went to see the doctor recently after experiencing a couple of weeks of discomfort, an examination revealed that the bladder was inflamed. Dr. Memo ordered a CAT scan and other tests.

Embedded stone

The results were the first indication that something was amiss. The X-rays showed a kidney stone embedded in the bladder.

Surgery was necessary. And that’s when the veteran urologist came to understand that medicine is not an exact science.

With the patient off in La-La Land, Dr. Memo went in with what he calls “the basket” — a gadget that allows him to grab the stone and bring it out whole. (A souvenir for the afflicted?)

But the stone was too firmly embedded in the bladder. Even cutting a slit in the organ did not help matters.

However, he was able to get a good, close look at the stone — and to his surprise it wasn’t like any he had seen and handled before.

It was brown in color, had a layer of an orange substance (color of sulphur?) and it had DEVIL HORNS.

That, in and of itself, would have convinced the doctor to try to get it out intact so it could be examined closely.

But, there was another reason he wanted to keep it preserved: He thought the patient would want to see what his body had created. Why? Because the individual, by virtue of his profession, had been called “evil” — and worse — by his detractors.

They certainly wouldn’t be surprised to hear he had a satanic kidney stone lodged in his bladder.

(The detractors will have to guess the identity of the victim because The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) Privacy and Security Rules demands secrecy.)

Dr. Memo was forced to blast the stone to pieces with a laser, but that didn’t end of the battle with the evil thing.

A week after the surgery, the patient had a back spasm that resulted in his going to the emergency room. However, if the Satan stone thought he had won, he was mistaken.

Emergency room

First, he had to come to terms with the fact that this emergency room is located in St. Elizabeth Health Center, owned by the Sisters of Humility of Mary. Then, the pain was no match for the morphine drip that was inserted in the patient’s arm. It has been said that religion is the opiate of the masses. Perhaps with a dash of morphine.

But the battle continued. Another X-ray revealed a couple of tiny kidney stones. Fortunately, they weren’t threatening,

A follow up visit with Dr. Memo showed the patient was clean — for now. But he was still intrigued with the shape and composition of the original stone with the horns.

Given the implication of evil, the patient wondered about an exorcism. He telephoned Father Ed Noga, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Youngstown, explained the situation and asked the good padre to use his God-given powers to conduct a cleansing. The parish priest’s reply was very unChristian-like — to put it kindly on this Christmas Day.

So, how does one judge whether good has prevailed over evil?

Here’s a way: Today, the Ohio Lottery will be drawing the three-digit, four-digit and Rolling Cash (evening only) numbers. There are two of significance that could have a bearing on the battle: 1225 (celebrating the birth of Christ) and 666 (the number for the devil). What if one hits?


1AtownAugie(884 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Such a touching, heart-warming Christmas story. (Give me a moment -- no, no, those aren't tears -- some tree flocking got in my eye.) Surely this editorial will go right beside the famous and every-Christmas-reprinted "Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus" from the 1897 Sun. Move over Tiny Tim, Bladder Bert is here to stay!

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2captainlinger(663 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

i want the two minutes of my life back i spent reading this column.

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3southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

This is a bizzare story, to say the least.

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4hellokitty(161 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

This story is nauseating and offensive; therefore, I deduce that the patient was Bertram! Ding Ding Ding....I win!!

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5RustOnMyBelt(172 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Hope the patient was comforted in the knowledge that many unionized nurses and hospital staff (many of whom could well have been educated at unionized,greed-infested YSU) were there for him in his hour of need.

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6WhatRUAfraidOf(85 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

I can't imagine Father Noga giving an un-Christian response to the request, if in fact, it was actually made, per what deSouza says.

I've never met anyone with more of a heart for the Lord than Father Ed. He is truly an inspiration and epitomizes what being a true Christian is all about - getting off one's backside and DOING something for one's fellow human beings to make the world a better place.

Exorcism is almost never done any more in Roman Catholicism, anyway. It would require some extreme circumstance, and I seriously doubt the church would allow it in this instance since the affliction was treatable with medical means.

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