My shrink ordered a urinalysis on top of the blood test so one Wednesday, before heading off to work, I got ready to go to the hospital I’ve been going to so frequently I should probably get parking discount. Or at least a lollipop.
Mistake #1: I peed before leaving the house.
Mistake #2: I took a swig of water before leaving my room, thinking, “That should be enough to fill a cup.” Clearly, I know nothing about biology. Or anatomy. Or medicine. Or science. Whatever.
I got to the lab area, grabbed a number and waited to be called. Soon, a guy was handing me a clear cup with a white cover and said, “Ma’am, catch the sample mid-stream.”
It was a very clinical way of saying, “You’re gonna get pee all over your hand, bitch.” I cringed.
And so off I went to the little toilet in the corner, the same one I went to before getting blood drawn.
I was lugging a big tote with me and the idea of having my heavy bag on my shoulder and trying to catch my pee mid-stream sounded like a recipe for disaster. And there was no hook for my bag. I briefly considered setting my bag down on the dirty floor (No!) until I spotted the door knob and tried to forget the millions of germs that probably populate it. (Hello, it’s a door knob used by people who just peed on their hands and the hand soap is outside the door. I repeat, the hand soap is outside the door. What is this hospital thinking?)
This should be a breeze, I thought. I’ve never been a shy pee-er. I can pee while talking to people.
I squatted and got ready to be the MVP of mid-stream catching. Except there was no stream. What came out was barely a trickle. In fact, to call it a trickle is an insult to all trickles that ever trickled.
I mentally kicked myself for peeing and not drinking enough water before leaving the house.
It was hopeless. Nothing was going to come out. I tossed what little droplets I managed to catch back into the toilet and washed the cup and my hands. Then, I made a quick exit, wondering if I should explain to the lab people that I couldn’t pee. I didn’t. Instead, I went to the cafeteria and bought the biggest bottle of water I could find and drank it like I had been stuck in the desert for a month.
“Hmm, I wonder how long it will take for this water to turn into pee? Maybe five minutes?” I wondered like the idiot that I am. Clearly, biology/anatomy/medicine/science isn’t one of my strong suits.
Luckily there was a little bookstore in front of the cafeteria. It wasn’t really a bookstore, it was just a table piled with books, but, I thought, it should provide enough distraction until I feel the urge to pee.
I soon realized that my body isn’t a chute, that whatever I put in inside me isn’t just going to come out the other end instantly. I was in for a bit of a wait. And because I hadn’t eaten lunch, I walked to Pancake House. I ordered a taco and a big glass of iced tea because, I don’t know if it happens to you, but whenever I drink iced tea, I couldn’t stop peeing. I ate my taco, drank my iced tea and I also drank a glass of water for good measure. Then, I waited for Jesus to turn my water and iced tea into pee while doodling in my diary. I was so full of liquid I felt like I was sloshing every time I moved.
About fifteen minutes later, I was bored. Enough time has passed, I said to myself. I walked back to the lab area and got ready to impress them with my peeing skills.
Before returning to the hookless toilet, I asked one of the lab people, “Excuse me, how much sample do you need?”
“Fill at least half the cup,” I was told.
“Shit,” I said. Then I walked into the toilet. I hung my bag on the door knob again, pulled my pants down and squatted.
Yes! I was peeing! But it stopped as soon as it started. I had only filled a tenth of the cup.
I pulled up my pants with my clean hand.
God damn it, Pam, pee! I told myself.
Shwshwshwshwshw. I made that stupid sound people make to torture their friends whose bladders are bursting. I said sorry to Mother Earth and let the water run. Hearing running water makes people want to pee, right?
I pulled down my pants again, squatted, peed a little more and then pulled them up again.
Still not enough urine. I sighed, shwshwshwshwshwed, let the water run and pulled down my pants for what felt like the nth time. Another trickle came out, this time a real one.
I repeated this process three or four times. Sigh. Pull up pants. Shwshwshw. Water. Pull down pants Squat. Pee. Sigh. Pull up pants. Shwshwshw. Water. Pull down pants. Squat. Pee.
I pulled down and pulled up my pants so many times in such a small amount of time that I felt like the employee of the month at the world’s busiest brothel.
I was going to have to wait some more. Should I go out again? But where would I hang out with my cup of disappointing pee? I decided to stay put. And to help pass time, I washed my hands and decided to apply lip gloss. Don’t ask why. It just made perfect sense at the time.
Pee, damn it! I told myself again. I pulled my pants down (this should be the last time, I said) and willed every ounce of pee that I could out of me.
I inspected the cup. It was almost half full. That will do, I told myself. That will have to fucking do, I told the hospital. But only in my head.
I covered the cup, rinsed it, exited the toilet and washed my hands vigorously. As I was washing my hands, a guy walked into the toilet with an empty cup. If this jerk finishes peeing before I’m done washing my hands, I am going to be really pissed. But he didn’t. Instead, he spent so much time hocking loogies that I wanted to knock on the door and say, “Dude, what are you doing? They need your urine, not your phlegm.”
The hocking sounds wouldn’t stop and I shuddered in disgust as I walked away. Yes, me. The girl whose hand was covered with pee just minutes ago. What a hypocrite.
I had covered my cup of pee with tissue because, while I can write paragraphs and paragraphs about it, apparently I am too modest to let people see my urine. I placed my sad cup in the specimen box. I’m sure it felt inferior to the cups brimming with pee, clearly left there by the world’s peeing champions.
I walked out of the hospital, got in the car and went to the office where, as soon as I arrived, I peed the pee I had been waiting for, a glorious stream that could have filled ten cups and made any lab technician proud.