“Hi, I’m here for the bladder test.”
“Oh yes, just sign in here, please.”
Photo credit: devianart
I signed on the line, and took a seat. It’s always interesting to me, to sit in a doctors office and people watch. There were ladies sitting on the couches, holding their bellies, and reading magazines. Little kids clinging to their mom, and husbands trying to blend into the wall, by holding very still. The office was clean, and welcoming – decorated in greys, orange, and white. Beautiful pictures were scattered across the walls, of women and their newborn babies, and doctors proudly smiling in the birthing room.
I glanced down, and saw my picture on the front of Utah Business Magazine, and about died. This isn’t somewhere I want to be recognized, so I slid a copy of Parent’s magazine over it. I’m still baffled that I was nominated, and selected as one of the “30 women to watch.” I didn’t ask for it, but it was such an honor. But today, I wasn’t here for business – of that sort, anyway. I was here to work on my physical body, specifically my bladder. Why not get my bladder fixed, if I would be going under the knife for the hysterectomy anyway? The cost of the hospital visit would be mostly the same, as would the recovery time. Three – six weeks was a lot for me to take out of my schedule.
I glanced over and saw a cute nurse in scrubs, welcoming me back to the room. I have considered the beauty of working as a nurse several times, as I see what they get to wear to work each day. Scrubs are beautiful, in my book. Once you put them on, you automatically look smarter and comfortable. What better combination than that? I followed her back, trying to remember which way I went, so when it was time to leave I could remember. Sometimes, I have a problem with that. I’ve given birth five times, meaning I have also lost five parts of my brain.
“Please come over here, and let’s get your weight and heart rate.”
I followed orders, although it’s never comfortable to have someone else take my weight. It’s just awkward. I flung off my big shoes, and set my phone and keys down, hoping this might make a pound of difference in my self worth. I wish it wasn’t this way, it shouldn’t be this way, but battling with unstable hormones, thyroid, and my inability to exercise with my horrendous periods, has left me out of balance – mentally and physically. I stepped up on the scale and became really glad that I didn’t know how to convert their special scale into pounds. Ignorance is bliss, I thought. I stepped down, and sat on the chair. She wrapped the heart rate cuff around my arm, and we sat and waited for the outcome.
“Okay, it’s time to begin. Have you ever had a bladder test before?”
“No, this will be my first.”
“Okay, perfect. Just undress for me, from the waist down and sit on this chair. This may be a little uncomfortable, but we will get through it.”
The door shut, and I cursed, once again at my luck of being a woman. I wouldn’t change it, I mean, I enjoy being a woman – but the torture that that comes with it is sometimes overwhelming. The years of menstruation, emotions, being pregnant for years, my weight gain and loss totaling 500 pounds, and when older – the menopause, hot flashes, and more. This doesn’t even factor in the top half of the body, which you can read about here if you are really bored.
I hopped up on the table, and braced myself for what was about to come. The nurse was nice, thank goodness – or this little adventure could have been a lot worse. I laid back, and put my feet in the stirrups. Isn’t this what they call them? I pretty much did feel like a horse, tied up at the barn.
“Alright, now slide down. Good, now just a bit more. Thanks. Now take a deep breath, and I will be inserting some monitors. One in your bladder, one in the vagina, and one, well – hopefully we won’t have to put that one in.”
My eyes grew huge. Here we go again, I thought. A lab rat, that’s what I am, a rat.
“Okay, now I hope you came with a full bladder, correct?”
“Good, now I need you to sit up and pee in this special little toilet at the end of your chair. I will leave the room to give you privacy.”
How thoughtful, I mused. At least I get to urinate in peace, while the computer monitors me. I relieved myself, and was quite impressed with how much I managed to hold in my bladder, as I was instructed. The nurse came back in, and congratulated me. I laid back down as she had asked, and tried to imagine being somewhere else, anywhere else.
“Oh good, all of your graphs look just right. Now, what we are going to do is do a little pretending.
“I breathed a sigh of relief, and decided that this may not be as bad as I originally thought. Heaven knows, I can imagine. I shut my eyes, and began to imagine myself somewhere else, anywhere else.
“Alright, time to pretend. Let’s imagine you are going on a road trip with your family. At first, everything feels fine, and then you feel like you need to use the restroom. I want you to tell me at what point you feel this way.”
And then, she began filling my bladder with water through the tube she inserted into my bladder. At first I couldn’t feel it, and I laid there like and uncomfortable slug. And then, I felt it. I let her know, and became very proud of myself. I was so happy it was over, and I could unhook myself from all of these intrusive gadgets. And then she spoke again.
“Good, good! I am so proud of you. NOW, I need you to tell me when you have to go so bad that you would get out of the car, and relieve yourself on the side of the road.”
I looked at down at her face, to see if she was kidding. She wasn’t even cracking a smile, so I hung in there as my bladder was being pumped to the rim. Was this normal, I began to wonder. Do people do this kind of thing every time?
“Do you need to go the bathroom yet, honey?”
The truth was, that I did. “Well, I need to use the bathroom, but in my pretend story, I’d have to go pretty bad before I’d pull off on the side of the road.” So, I waited.
“Do you need to go YET?” She seemed amazed at how much I was choosing to hold in my bladder.
“I told you, I wouldn’t get out and pee on the side of the road, until I REALLY needed to go.”
The machine kept pumping, and I kept holding it. She looked up at me to see if I was okay, and said, “Well, I think we’d better stop.”
I think she was worried that my bladder would blow up by this point, and she turned off the water. I had to go bad, and I wondered if I was really driving, if I would have pulled over on the side of the road.
“Now for the real test. I want you to cough.”
“Really, just cough!”
I about died at her request. Did she have any idea how much water was in my bladder, and after all, I was here for a bladder test because I have issues with little things like this. I didn’t want to do it. Every muscle in my bladder told me NOT to do it, but she was persistent.
“Ready, set, cough!”
So on cue, I coughed. And in the moment in time, as my water filled bladder was being put to the test and I peed in her face, I wanted to die. NO JOKE, it hit her face. What kind of woman fills another women’s bladder ALL the way up, stares at the opening and tells her to cough? Part of me wanted to cry in shame, and the other part of me wanted to bust out laughing, but I knew if I did – it would really be all over.
“Sorry! I didn’t mean to!”
“It’s okay, this is splash zone.” As she wiped off her nose.
The rest of the test is pretty much a blur, but needless to say, I needed to fix my bladder and she gave me the go ahead. This was one test that I passed, or failed depending on how you look at it. Life is full of tests, I choose to believe that my failures, like peeing in peoples faces, are actually wins. We learn from our experience, and we go on to fail again. It is only really a failure if you stop trying, right?
Otherwise, it’s a win.