Friday, August 21, 2009

Conversations I Hope You Never Have

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."
"No problem."

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.

"You okay?"
"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."


Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Oh dear, Lord. I am about to burst with laughter. Am I laughing AT you? Oh now. I am laughing because this sounds exactly like something I would do. I thought you were going to say you dropped it all in the toilet!

And that lady is right....last weekend Jonathan peed on my leg. My pant leg. At least I was at mom and dad's and not on my way to work.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

That should be "oh no...." That's what one gets for reading and commenting at work like she is not supposed to, therefore writing way too fast and jeapordizing her slim chance of making any sense at all.

Suzy said...

I don't care what weight you are, peeing in a cup you can't see or gauge IS A NIGHTMARE. Once I finally figured out that you have to hold it back further than you thought. Which of course you still can't see or gauge. STILL A NIGHTMARE.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Why they can't have some sort of funnel that fits inside the toilet is beyond me. It'd be a heck of a lot easier for everyone.

Kathy said...

Classic Kim! "shotglass o’ fun." Hilarious! I'm so sorry for your mishap, but thank you for sharing. See? Your misery was our benefit, so it wasn't all for nothing.

p.s. Would something like this help next time?

rustypants said...

just one of many many reasons i'm glad to have an outy urethra!

YAY for having a penis!!
YAY for peeing standing up!!
YAY for being average sized and being stuck in gym class with a guy nicknamed 'Kong' and feeling horribly inadequate for the rest of your life!!

er, not so much on that last one...

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Lisa: In your case, all I can say is, at least HE belongs to you.

Suzy: I'm glad to know its not just me.

Kathy: That probably would help, though when you go for the random you have to dance with what they bring ya. Maybe I'll try bringing one next time & see what they say.

Rusty: I dunno, I think girls are still meaner. Just more subtle.

Jeff said...

Intriguing story. I laughed, I cried, I winced.

But mostly I applaud you for writing, "...when you don’t have an ‘outy’ urethra" because I can honestly say that's the first time I've ever heard a woman say that.

rustypants said...

it's difficult to be subtle when your nickname is 'Kong' and really, it's not YOUR nickname, but that of your tool. he / it wasn't TRYING to make me feel inadequate, but in the eternal game dudes play with "wishing we had just a bit more than what we were given," and having to shower after gym class... well, it was a natural consequence.

Jocelyn said...

Okay, this is my favorite-ever post of yours...even just what you read in that old GOOD HOUSEKEEPING cracked. me. up.

bernthis said...

I once had tea drop on my car seat and I had to walk from the street to my house and they were filming a movie next door to me and it looked like i had just let it all go. It was horrible

JD at I Do Things said...

Oh, my god. Why haven't I been coming here regularly? I'm dying here. Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious.

And believe me: trying to hold the full cup level is nearly impossible for a person of any size.

I'm wondering if it wouldn't be easier if we just set the cup on the floor, squatted, and aimed.

Good stuff.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

JD- I might as well have; some of it ended up on the floor anyway.
At the hospital they have those I & O pans that fit inside the toilet, I don't know why they don't use those.