He’s been a healthy, strong person for all his life.
That’s why Cal Lee’s health issue is shocking for his staff, players and fans across the state. Lee missed last week’s game between his Saint Louis Crusaders and ‘Iolani because of kidney stones. The longtime football coach is taking medication to heal an infection in the kidneys, and is scheduled to have surgery next week (Oct. 28).
“The stone is too big,” he said on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s not going to pass, so they’ve got to go in there and take it out. They have a stent in there.”
Kidney stones are debilitating and treatable at the same time. From the mayoclinic.org:
Kidney stones (renal lithiasis, nephrolithiasis) are small, hard mineral deposits that form inside your kidneys. The stones are made of mineral and acid salts.
Kidney stones have many causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract — from your kidneys to your bladder. Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.
Passing kidney stones can be quite painful, but the stones usually cause no permanent damage. Depending on your situation, you may need nothing more than to take pain medication and drink lots of water to pass a kidney stone. In other instances — for example, if stones become lodged in the urinary tract or cause complications — surgery may be needed.
“He’s kind of struggling with the pain and medication,” said Ron Lee, his brother and Crusaders offensive coordinator. “Other than that, he comes to practice and watches. He watches film. When he moves around, it’s very uncomfortable.”
Cal Lee has never had a serious health issue before. Now he may not coach on Friday when Saint Louis meets Punahou in the ILH championship game at Aloha Stadium. Both teams have already sealed berths in the upcoming HHSAA State Football Championships. Still, there’s no way to get around the pain, though medication helps.
“You feel better, but you’re not better because (the stone) is still there,” he said. “It’s part of getting old, I guess.”
Wes Tufaga is the head coach when Lee is not available. He has full confidence in his staff and players.
“I don’t want to distract anything. I’ll see how I feel. If I feel good, I’ll be down on the field.”
He has a response to all the well-wishers who have called and texted him over the past week.
“I’ll be fine.”