Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Drama of the Week - this time it's physical
Because you know I have to have new dramas all the time, right? Well, this week it looks like I have a kidney stone. [Cue ominous operatic choir doing ascending "ah"s in minor key.]
Yesterday I was at work, working exactly as hard as always, when all of a sudden my stomach starts to hurt. "Hey," I say to my friend Dat, "Can I call you right back?" Then I shut down my Hotmail, my AIM, my Kazaa, my Spider Solitaire, and all my porn downloads. Then I run to the bathroom.
I'm thinking my stomach hurts because I never really get to go to the bathroom. See, every time I try to go, somebody's there.
Don't say "Ew, gross." We're all humans here, aren't we? You know what I'm talking about. I don't have to resort to potty humor, because I can rely on potty fact. You don't want to take a crap at work, but sometimes you have to, so you wait til nobody's there and then you stake out the last stall, sit down, and get to business with as many courtesy flushes and modesty flushes as necessary, all the while praying no one will walk in and recognize your cute new slingbacks under the door.
At least, that's how it is for women under a certain age. I can't speak for men. I have friends who happen to be men and, as best as I can understand it from their descriptions, y'all guys can just walk into the restroom, grunt out a load, fart, piss your initials on the wall, and as long as no one makes eye contact with anyone else, it's all good.)
I don't have the good potty luck. I always get caught like a headlight-stricken deer in the middle of the process by someone stomping in and choosing the stall right next to mine, for some reason. Or by Chatty Cathies holding a soiree at the sinks. Frustrated and tense, I pack up my pantyhose and head back to my desk.
If you're like me, you try to hold on til you get home. If you're like me, you get no relief there, either. Unless it's one of the four days out of the month when my kids are with their dad, I can't sit on the toilet without having to yell out the door, "Stop that damned fighting!" or "Tell her I'll call back!" or "I don't know... Did you check the dryer?" Somehow, that sort of multi-tasking isn't conducive to efficient waste expulsion. I have a friend, whose name I won't say here, who told me that once her six-year-old son walked in on her in the bathroom and said, "Mom, can I have something to drink?" I would have laughed if I hadn't been too busy crying at the blunt, hard-won truth of the tale.
So anyway, I went to the bathroom at work, but my stomach still hurt, so I assumed that my digestive system had been destroyed by constant thwarting and that I would just have to remember to buy a deadbolt and earmuffs for my bathroom at home, and that was that.
And then my stomach kept hurting. On the left side. More than usual. "Man, I have really bad gas," I decided. "I should go home early."
So then I went home early and did all the things I do when I have really bad gas, which happens to me once a month or so since the first time I got pregnant. I ate generic Gas-X, I undulated, I closed my eyes and thought of England until I fell asleep.
And that should have been enough to make me good as new by morning, but it wasn't. My side was freaking killing me. So I called in sick. Then I called the doctor, which I almost never ever do. It only took me about two hours to remember my logon ID for my health insurance company's website, then find a network provider within a zillion miles of me, then wait for her office to open, then call and get an appointment. (This is why I prefer to stay home and suffer. I'm always changing insurance companies and it's always a pain in the ass.)
After they did all the routine check-up stuff (I actually fit into the little blue and white gown with the side tie now,) I told the doctor all about my bowel issues and how I can never go to the bathroom properly because karma is paying me back for all the times I made fun of the old ladies who stink up the restrooms at my work. She said, "Uh huh." Then she starts with her questions. One of the first is, "What did you eat this morning?" It's noon by now, and I tell her I had "a little something" at 8 AM.
"What did you have?" she wants to know.
"Ahem," I say. Then I quickly mutter, "An Atkins bar."
She rolls her eyes. I blush and avert my gaze. Then I catch sight of myself in the reflective surface of the paper towel dispenser. My one-size-fits-some hospital gown curves sexily over my newly decreased hourglass figure. I wink at myself. My reflection blows me a kiss.
After firing two thousand more questions at me and ascertaining that I'm suffering from lower back pain, chills, and a low-grade fever, the doctor orders x-rays. She says I probably have a kidney stone. I gasp and ask her whatever in the world I'll do. She says that FIRST OF ALL, I have to drink LOTS of water. But I already drink lots of water, I say. That's all I ever drink! THEN, she says, we're getting you off that HIGH PROTEIN DIET.
No, no! No! I cast myself on the floor at her feet, cling to her thigh, and note the smaller circumference of my own thighs as they gape out of the gown and I cry bitter, petulant tears. "Don't make me quit the Atkins diet!" I beg. "I'll do anything!"
A brawny man named John comes to take me away, to lay me on a bed in his dark little room. He has me thrust my hips upward again and again as he adjusts the x-ray film plate beneath me. "I'll never quit my diet, John. Never!" I whisper to him. His hand grasps the hollow of my waist as he murmurs, "Scoot down towards me a little, honey." I comply with a soft whimper. (It's all right. I'm pretty sure he was gay.)
The x-ray didn't show anything, but the doctor still thinks it's a stone. She said I have to drink a lot of water and be ready with Vicadin and a urine strainer in case anything comes out. But she didn't say to give up my diet yet. But I ate two chili dogs for lunch and pizza for dinner, just in case.
When the stone comes out, I'll have it polished and set in platinum. I'll have all the stones that come out made into rings, and the rings will slip off my fingers because I'm losing weight, baby. And I'll laugh when the rings fall to the ground because some day I'm gonna be rich, too. Then I'll go to the bathroom whenever I want.
Hell yes. Hell freaking yeah.