Wednesday, August 21, 2013

To Pee, Or Not To Pee

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***WARNING:  While the following story is a great combination of embarrassing and disgusting at my expense, which probably makes it quite entertaining for you, after telling this story to my mom over the phone, she laughed hysterically…then gagged so hard she puked….Read at your own risk!***

Talking about pee is usually reserved for mothers, the very drunk, medical professionals and old men with their ever-increasing prostates, but since this necessary and seemingly mundane bodily function has caused such me such angst the past two weeks, I guess I’ll go ahead and throw myself into the category, too.

Have you ever had an “if it’s yellow, let it mellow,” rule with your husband? Well, I have and he’s not even my husband quite yet. And, this rule only applied because we had no other choice. We moved into our house and four seconds later the city decided to rip up the street and replace the water lines, which inherently involves a bunch of dudes in hardhats and orange vests, not actually working, wandering around, scratching their asses and being in my way….and of course turning off our water several times a week for several hours at a time. The City of “taking it’s sweet time” and I are in a fight. It’s the only time I’ve ever wished for an outhouse, but we’ve been dealing with it relatively well. First world problems, ya know.

The second pee encounter came when I went to Colorado Springs for work last week and I just happened to be driving back to Denver when a fatal cement truck accident closed down the entire highway. After two hours of creeping along a sparsely populated stretch of I-25 at 3 mph, then being diverted onto a dirt frontage road, I found myself glancing longingly at an empty bottle in my cup holder and cursing my female anatomy. An hour later, I made it to an appropriate pit stop without testing my, “well, maybe it would work” stuck in traffic pee theory.

Now, if you haven’t heard enough about pee so far, it’s about to get so much worse because my third encounter is by far the most disturbing. My visual flashbacks and the thoughts of, “if only my body would have done what it was supposed to do, I could have avoided the entire situation” have haunted my brain for several days and many more to come I’m sure.

It started when I decided I needed to get a physical exam. I have put it off for so long with the usual I-don’t-have-time excuses, but with my 30th birthday behind me, a friend lost at far too young an age and a strong family history of some really horrendous ailments, it was time to squeeze it into the routine.

I made my appointment and the admin instructed me to come into the office a few weeks before the appointment between such and such a time to get my blood drawn for analysis. My stomach immediately dropped, not because I wasn’t expecting it, but because it was real now.

I have the most annoying, debilitating fear of needles – perhaps another reason I was putting off the physical. It’s so incredibly stupid and obviously I know that, but I cannot for the life of me get over it.  I’ve finally gotten to the point where I don’t actually cry while in the midst of the anticipation leading up to it…now the sheer terror just rages on the inside. I decided to just get it over with and go into the office as soon as possible.

Throughout my struggles with needle phobia, I’ve developed the theory that phlebologists are actually sadists. There is just something wrong with somebody who wants to jab needles in people and suck out their blood for a living. It’s a necessary occupation that I just don’t understand. It’s not like nurses who want to help people or doctors who are interested in the study of medicine. Phlebologists are fascinated with blood and veins. They’re like the medical equivalent of vampires. Of course, the fact that most of them have as much compassion as a box of rocks – at least the ones I’ve encountered – probably greatly contributes to this theory. If one exists that completely debunks this theory, I would appreciate a shout…it would make me feel better about the world.

I know I’m going to get woozy, maybe a little shock-y and sometimes see those little floaty gray dots in my line of vision when I have to have a blood draw. If it gets really bad, I sweat profusely, hyperventilate and pass out. Naturally, and for the sake of everybody involved, I always ask to lie down when I must be assaulted by needles in order to prevent the latter. I don’t want or expect anybody to baby me and say oh poor wooby wooby. I just want to lay down, talk about rainbows and unicorns while it’s happening, not see any of it or talk about it, then leave as quickly as possible.

While all phlebologists oblige this simple request, most of them accompany it with a little snide flair, such as an eye roll, a sigh or a comment such as, “Oh, I hope you don’t have to do this very often,” as if they’ve never encountered a patient with needle phobia. My favorite was when a guy bullied me like I was his little sister then continued to talk about veins and sucking blood out of them in gory detail while it was happening. Dumbass. I almost puked on his stupid face. How evil can you be? You’d think I’d get a little appreciation for preventing them from having to schlep my limp, unconscious body with a bleeding head wound off the tile floor, but instead they make fun of me. All I have to say is, I’m doing the best I can, I’m really trying, this feeling is about the worst one ever in the world and it’s far worse for me than it is for you, so kindly go fuck yourself.

Anyway, as soon as this woman came to the doorway and huskily announced my name, I knew I had a giant bitch tough little cookie on my hands. Great, not another one. She was a blond Amazonian and not in a good way. We’re talking pro wrestler type warrior woman with a shitty little attitude to match. She was barking orders at me and brandishing a needle before I even had the chance to request a bed. I felt like a circus animal or one of the many occupants of a cattle car that she was extremely annoyed to be in charge of. I slouched down in the chair tried to make believe I was lying down.

“A little panic attack stick,” she said.

I quietly turned my head all the way around like the Exorcist to avoid any sort of corner-of-the-eye glimpse of what was happening while my heart pounded in my throat, but inside my head I was screaming, “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod, it’s in my ARRRRM! I can feel iiiiiit and I DON’T like IIIIIIITTTT!”

About 400 years later, it was over without any reassuring rainbows and unicorns talk and just as I was about to celebrate my most successful blood draw ever, she informed me that she needed a urine sample. Say what?

I should have known, but I was so distracted and worked up over the blood draw that it never crossed my mind. I was not prepared in that I had made a pit stop as soon as I entered the building a few minutes earlier, but no big deal. Produce pee? Any moron can do that, literally. Easy.

Yeah, not so easy. I paced around the tiny office bathroom with the faucet on and my properly marked paper cup in hand for 15 minutes before I accepted defeat and realized that I would not be performing like a good little monkey anytime soon.

A short, slightly uncomfortable conversation with Amazon later, I found myself gulping water in the waiting room with my arm still wrapped from the needle attack. The iPhone kept me about 30 percent occupied while the waiting room began to fill up to the brim with patients one of, which was an older man with a cane, another woman and an accompanying nurse.

A few minutes later, old man jumps out of his seat and hauls ass out of the waiting room with his entourage yelling after him. I watched with one eye still glued to the iPhone trying to figure out what was going on, but not really caring one way or the other. Then, a few seconds later they usher everybody back through the waiting room and into the back office area with sounds of “you have to do it in here” and “We’ve been waiting for this for three days” floating behind them.

Waiting three days for what?” I wondered with a fleeting thought, then went back to water gulping and iPhone perusing.

About 10 minutes later I felt like I was ready to complete the now daunting task at hand…or I just really wanted to get out of there. I slipped into the back office area, headed into the bathroom and just as I was shutting the door I answered my “three days for what?” question:


And, not just poop…really gross, adult poop hanging out in some sort of catching device.

A sling of shit.

A poop hammock, if you will, draped over the toilet bowl. 

I practically ran out of there screaming and right as I was tearing out into the hallway with the horrid smell following me, a man about my age was making his way to the bathroom.

“NOOO!” I yelled. “I don’t think you want to go in there.”

He looked at me like I had not just seen an old man’s bowel movement swinging delicately above the toilet like it was relaxing on a sunny, Sunday afternoon and continued to close in on the bathroom.

“No, seriously dude, you do NOT want to go in there!”

After standing wide eyed, bewildered and on the brink of hysterical in the tiny office hallway with this strange man (that probably now thought that I had done something sinfully horrific in the bathroom) for an awkward eternity, a nurse finally came to my rescue, handed me a sample pee cup and sent me to another bathroom.

This, of course, involved me parading through the now full waiting room with a little paper cup marked in bold capital letters, URINE SAMPLE. I might as well of just thrust the cup into the air and sang, “UUUUURINE SAMPLE! I’m going to go whiiiiiiz in this cuuuuup!”

On my way to the other non poop hammock bathroom, the questions started popping up in my head:  Why was that just left sitting there?! Why didn’t they just close the damn door?! Why didn’t the nurse guard the fucking door?! It’s not a big deal to them because they deal with it everyday. I do not, nor do I ever want to. This is just one of the many reasons I didn’t go into medicine. I don’t want to deal with other people’s shit, EVER. I thought there would be a little more discrepancy in a doctor’s office. Forgive me for wanting a little privacy.

Another 20 minutes passed with nothing. Apparently there was no way I was going to perform after that traumatic event. Finally, I said screw it, tossed the empty cup in the trash and pretty much dove into the elevator to make my escape. I would have rather gotten my blood drawn again than stay there another second to pee in that damn cup…or walked on the sun…or been chased by a pack of rabid hyenas.

And, now, after days of flashbacks, violent gagging and retelling the story because I have to laugh in order to override the post traumatic stress disorder I developed after this incident, I get to return to the exact scene of the poop hammock and try again…TOMORROW.

Peeing may never be the same again.


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