Note: This is my most recent blogpost from my everyday blog.
I figure turnabout is fair play; if I can get humor out of patients' situations its only fair that I tell on myself.
I drive for a living, and one of the annual annoyances of driving for a living for a trucking company is the ‘random’ drug test. ‘Random’ earns ‘quotes’ because I usually am ‘told’ when its going to be because otherwise it’s a ‘scheduling nightmare’ and I’m not a ‘drug user anyway’ and wouldn’t know the first thing about ‘acing that kind of test’ so its unlikely that knowing affects the outcome.
Today was my special day, and I went to the clinic with my sheaf of pages and signatures and seals, feeling like I was trying to get a priceless work of art out of bonded storage in Bremerhaven for some sort of gala opening.
I slurped down some spring water on the way to the appointment, but realized too late I should have started a lot sooner. I answered questions and showed my photo ID, turning out my pockets to assure the nurse I didn’t have some foreign urine secreted about my person that I intended to dump into the cup while I made convincing ‘I’m really peeing’ noises. I waited for the magic to happen.
Now, I don’t want to blow your mind, but there are some things you may not be aware of. One of those things is that peeing in a cup with an opening 3 inches in diameter when you don’t have an ‘outy’ urethra isn’t particularly easy. Two, its even less easy when you are, as I am, a ‘person of size’. Three, trying to hold a cup down in a space where you are usually very disinclined to put your arm unless there is a wad of toilet paper at the end of it (and there isn’t a whole lot of wiggle room to begin with because you are perched on a toilet with handrails for the elderly and infirm), we’re venturing from not ‘particularly easy’ into ‘damn near impossible’. A whole school of yoga might possibly arise from the awkward necessity of maintaining that position while idly wondering just exactly WHERE the cup should be to catch the stream. None of this is helped by the poster situated directly across from the toilet, where a list of ‘how to make a clean catch’ tips is framed by a photo of an amused looking redhead who likely has a much smaller backside and none of these difficulties.
I hunched. I waited. I readjusted. I heard a faint tinkle which suggested everything I wanted was going where it normally goes and not into my shotglass o’ fun. But alas, my bladder was empty.
I pulled out the cup and eyed the line that was supposed to be my ‘target’. I was at least 1/8 of an inch short. I handed the cup to the nurse.
"Is this enough?" we looked at my sad contribution together.
"Hmm. Its iffy. Let me check."
I followed her to the little room where I’d emptied my pockets and signed for my pee. She poured it into the mail-able leakproof pee vial.
"Nope. I’m sorry."
"Okay, so, I guess I have to hang out for a little while."
I was shown back to the waiting room and given a styrofoam cup of water. I chose an eight month old copy of Good Housekeeping and sat down to wait. I read breathless letters from readers about how happy they were to see Jon and Kate and their engineered brood on the cover of the November issue. I found out how to handle too much clutter and too little space. I know how to flatter my waist no matter its size (though I noticed none of the models they chose would have trouble FINDING theirs, as I do) and I got a recipe for healthy loaded nachos. People came in. There were babies, toddlers, college students, a woman wearing kneepads and a helmet accompanied by two handlers. I went back to the window.
"I think I can try again." I said.
"Okay, it’ll just be a few minutes."
I watched Dr. Sanjay Gupta explain what I need to do to prevent macular degeneration. I watched Helmet Woman rock for a while. Just when things were getting kind of urgent and my potential success rate was hitting critical mass I was called back in, we checked my pockets for errant test cheats again, and in I went.
This time there was no doubt that everything was going where it should. Suddenly the cup was kind of heavy and I realized I had enough for my company, the IOC, and the International Cycling Union.
You know what’s hard? Knowing how full a cup is that you can’t see. You know what else is hard? Knowing whether you are holding that cup absolutely level when you are in a position that roughly approximates wrestling yourself, only over a toilet with your pants around your ankles, and removing that cup which (as it turns out) is full to the brim without spilling any.
The cup is a little slippery.
And urine spilling on cotton is ABSOLUTELY NOISELESS.
I didn’t realize the extent of the damage until I pulled up my jeans and felt a distressing wetness. There was a knock at the door.
"Um, yeah, I had a little mishap," I said, as I handed the cup to her. She followed me to the exam room.
"Yeah, its all over you." She says this like she’s commenting on the weather.
I don’t remember the next two minutes clearly. Some merciful degree of personal mortification generated a buzz in my ears and kept me from being embarrassed until I got out the door. I was still clinging to hope that it wasn’t as bad as I thought, when the outside air hit me and I realized that it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
It was much, much worse.
(Calling the boss. )
"Hi. I’m all done here, but I had a little mishap."
"Oh? What’s wrong?"
"Well, the test is all done, but I had the cup….. and…. (choosing brutal honesty in a desperate bid to minimize questions) I have to run to Walmart and get something to wear that I haven’t inadvertently spilled pee on."
"Um, okay then."
I ran to the store, praying for something that I could ‘eyeball fit’ since trying on anything was out of the question. After paying for my purchases I beelined to the ladies room to change, hurtling past the ‘restroom closed for cleaning’ sign and dodging the surprised cleaner. I figured I had to give her some kind of explanation so I told her what happened while I was changing in the handicapped stall.
She listened to my tale and offered much needed perspective.
"Well, at least its yours."