Monday, November 9, 2015

Tempest In A Pee-Cup

Each of us faces adversity in our lives. Some of us seem to face more of it than others, and to varying degrees. We're unhappy with our relationship statuses (stati?), jobs, family life, or how our preferred sports teams are performing. Someone cuts in front of us in line at the coffee shop, or we get caught in a rainstorm without an umby. 

However, on this day, I can think of no greater challenge, no greater frustration than having to pee on command. That's right, this entry is about pee.

This morning I went to the hospital in order to have blood work done - my cholesterol is "off the scale" at times according to my doctors - and peeing was not the only obstacle that I faced. I had to fast for twelve hours before having my arm poked in a not-so-random act of vial-in-ce. That's right, I had to forego my toasted tomato sandwich, banana, yogurt, and soy milk (at this point you may be thinking "Good for you, Mark Andrew! That's a fairly healthy breakie!") And you'd be right. 

However, immediately after having my blood drawn by some prick (ahem), I faced the dreaded task of having to slip into the side washroom and attempt to take a leak into a small plastic jar. I hate doing this. I've hated it for as long as I can remember. And that's because I'm almost never able to do it. Call it performance identity or call it by any other name - I just can't do it. Knowing that I would have to go through the stream-lined process before going to the hospital, I drank three and a half cups of water before the short walk down the street to the lab, but to no avail. After about fifteen minutes - yes, fifteen - of remaining in the washroom attempting to contact Flo (it was such a long time that I could have written an epistle,) I gave up and sheepishly walked out of the washroom with the empty cup. The nurse - or technician - or phlebotomist - looked at me approvingly, thinking I had done the deed, and motioned me to place the cup on the silver table beside me. I had to reveal my frustration, and she was kind, but also gave me the look that a mother gives when she has to tell you that Fluffy was very sick and wouldn't be coming home anymore. 

I felt so defeated.

I proceeded to walk the three minutes to the local Tim Hortons in order to have some lunch, now that I could at least eat, and there was a swarm of high school students in front of me on their lunch break. I kept thinking, "I bet none of these kids would have difficulty peeing into a cup." I had my lunch, consisting of a sandwich, a Canadian Maple donut, and a dark roast coffee (with two creams and two sweeteners, because I knew you'd ask), and I found a paper and read several articles. And then it came. NO, not literally!!! But all of a sudden, because I wasn't being prompted, I felt the relief to, well, relieve. 

After completing the task, I walked back to the hospital and walked into the lab - something that I do often with other people's various samples, as I volunteer at the hospital. However, it was strangely different this time. When I went to hand the biohazard bag containing the cup which therein contained my pee, I felt a sort of pride, the kind of pride that a child must feel when they finally master the art of using the potty. I then felt a strange kind of disappointment that no one was giving me a sucker or ice cream in order to reward me for my accomplishment. This had been a day to remember, and it was only 12:30pm. Needing some validation, I asked the lab technician: "On a scale of one to ten, how fabulous do I look today?" 

"Well, I'd have to say... 'yer an eight." 

Mark Andrew Nouwen

1 comment:

barefootbellringer said...

I'd say you're closer to a nine...and I'm proud of you being able to overcome your performance anxiety...good on you!