I rode the magic school bus through my urinary tract and lived to tell the tale

Recently, I had an ultrasound of my bladder and a cystoscopy of my urinary tract, not at the same time mind you (that would be exceptional multi-tasking by the professionals), but one right after the other. It was sort of like a two for one deal, stirrups included. WHEN-YOU-GET-A-BLADDER-INFECTION-URINE-TROUBLE-meme-1068.jpgThese procedures were necessary because I have had ten, count ‘em ten, urinary tract infections since last July. My urologist, herein referred to as Dr. P (sorry, I couldn’t resist), wanted to make sure that (1) I was emptying my bladder completely; (2) there were no structural issues within the urinary tract itself; and (3) rule out any other nasty stuff going inside the bladder.

During my initial consultation, Dr. P had told me that my bladder was “angry, very angry, it’s so angry that it’s pissed”. I’m not going to lie, this news kind of made me feel like a complete and total badass. I mean, I had already suffered through months and months of the bad swamp water pee (aka UTIs) and it only made sense to me that I got to feel all badassery badassed badassy because of it. (Spellcheck doesn’t like my badass attempts at making my very own badass words but it’s just going to have to suck it up and accept that this is my story and I get to make up whatever words I like, so there, spellcheck.)

My angry bladder and I agreed to whatever Dr. P suggested at the consultation. While he was explaining things, I was already envisioning myself walking into the operating room with my pissed off badass walkbladder just like we owned the joint. In fact, I was already planning my outfit, well, socks and shiny non-skid shoes for the occasion (cold stirrups, remember?). Outfit aside, I was desperate to get to the bottom of my bad swamp water pee and I was willing to do just about anything at that point.

On the day of my procedures, one of the nurses (Nurse 1) told me that my socks matched my hospital gown perfectly. “Why, thank you!” I replied with such pre-cystoscopy gusto, I’m sure she must have thought I had escaped from the psych ward. Clearly, she didn’t know just how badass my bladder was.

Fancy Socks

Pretty fancy footwear for a cystoscopy, huh?

I also told her that they were not the socks I had planned on wearing; much to my chagrin, I could not find them anywhere that morning. The best I could offer was a description of the socks.

img_0362

Totally baddass for someone who has an angry bladder, don’t you think?

She loved the idea of my asshole socks and told me that I would still be allowed into the operating room despite the fact that I wasn’t wearing them. She also warned me that it had better not happen again. I hadn’t exactly planned on coming back but, whatever.

Once I was positioned properly in the stirrups, I commented that it had been years since I had been in stirrups. I also added that women have to go through a lot of shit uncomfortable experiences involving the stirrups over the course of their lifetime. We quickly bonded over that fact and I was feeling all sorts of feminist spiritualism with new my soul sisters. Kumbaya was on the tip of my tongue, I kid you not.

Nurse 1 asked if I would mind if they (the nurses) played a joke on Dr. P. Always up for a good time, even while in the stirrups, I replied “No, not at all. Go for it!” because, well, sisterhood and all that jazz. The nurse happily went off to the corner. After giggling for a bit, she returned with a wee fish made out of surgical tape, coloured pink for my benefit, and stuck it in the middle of the computer screen. She told me that once the cystoscopy began, it would look like the fish was swimming along my urinary tract. I loved it. We named her ‘Trixie’. Kumbaya x 2.

pink fish

Another nurse (Nurse 2) proceeded with my bladder ultrasound and remarked how I had emptied my bladder quite well. I told her that the secret was to bend forward as far as possible thereby putting pressure on the bladder to empty. She told me that she had often had to do that as well. Nurse 3, the youngest of the group, asked incredulously, “You mean that really works?” which proves that we do learn something new every day. Kumbaya x 3.

Dr. P wasn’t long coming in after that and he asked how I was doing. We had a lovely chat for a bit, my nether region splayed out in full splendour before him but, remember, I was wearing those lovely dress socks and shiny non-skid shoes which I’m sure distracted him from just about everything.

After applying the local anesthetic to my nether region, Dr. P told me he would begin inserting the scope next. That’s when I heard him say, “Oh, oh, we have a problem already.” Apparently, my urethral opening was too narrow to even insert the scope into. Dr. P reassured me that it was an easy fix. While watching the procedure on the computer screen, I couldn’t tell if Dr. P was engaging in some sort of expert Microsoft Word cutting and pasting or if he was drilling for oil, based on the instrument he was using. Of course, I asked him. He replied, “it’s more like drilling as I’m trying to widen the opening”. “Works for me,” I said. I think he was impressed that I was even watching the procedure at all.

The Linda BusDr. P was pleased as punch after he completed that little hocus-pocus magical trick of his because the scope inserted all easy-peasy then. We were now on our way, much like riding Miss Frizzle’s Magic School Bus, to explore the urinary tract, bladder and openings to the kidneys. By the old Snorton Norton, it was fascinating stuff; I was truly engaged in watching the procedure on the screen. That’s when Dr. P looked up at the computer screen and saw Trixie for the first time.

Dr. P: Ugh. Get that off the screen, please.

Me: But that’s Trixie. She’s swimming along my urinary tract.

Dr. P: Sorry, but Trixie’s got to go.

Me: You never do what I want to do.

House

The nurses erupted in laughter. Dr. P told me not to be encouraging them because I didn’t know what it was like to work with them. I asked him if he looked forward to Tuesdays (his surgical procedures day) because he got to see and work with them. He replied that “it was a difficult job but somebody had to do it.” He added that “sometimes it was a challenge being outnumbered and surrounded by so much estrogen’” to which I told him that “it was exactly what he needed…leadership in the form of estrogen”.

Nurse 1: Can she come back in three months? We like her!

Dr. P: Of course, you like her. She’s one of you.

Nurse 1: Great! I can’t wait to see her a-hole socks.

Dr. P: Her what socks?

Me: Ummm, excuse me, but I’m in the room stirrups. How about asking me if I want to come back before talking about me like I’m not even here?

Nurse 3: There, there. We know you’re here.

Me: You think I’m just another pretty urethra, don’t you? And, here I thought I was special.

Nurse 2 (trying to hold onto the specimen container without shaking it so Dr. P could drop the sample into it so that it could be sent to the pathologist): Oh. Em. Geeeeeeee!

Everyone else in the room put their heads down trying not to giggle. Then, I was struck with another idea. I couldn’t help but wonder if Dr. P had ever been kicked by a patient while they were in the stirrups. I mean, sometimes when a doctor tells you that it’s just going to be a little ‘pinch’ but it isn’t and it ends up really hurting so you just want to punch him/her in the throat for lying to you but, in this case, the patient would want to kick him in the throat because, well, stirrups. So, I asked him if he ever had been kicked. He told me “no, but I imagine if it ever were to happen it would probably be by someone like you.” Touché, Dr. P, touché. Now, you’re catching on.

Seeing my urinary tract, bladder, and opening to my kidneys, all from the vantage point of the the Magic School Bus cystoscope, was fascinating. Everything was a pale whitish-yellow Yellow submarinecolour (made me think of what it must be like to live in the Beatles’ yellow submarine — there were bubbles floating up and everything) with the red blood vessels offering up a lovely accent colour. Dr. P told me that everything was looking great which I took to be doctor speak for ‘you are one mighty fine badass bladder-y specimen of a woman’. Dr. P was quite hopeful that the drilling procedure would help clear up the bad swamp water pee because now the urine would flow much more freely and the bacteria wouldn’t get hung up in the urinary tract.

I left the OR with a skip in my step partly because my second choice socks were a hit, the procedures were over, and partly because I was sporting my brand new ‘Trixie the Fish’ sticker on the back of my hand. I am assuming Trixie was my reward for being THE BEST cystoscopy patient EVER.

Nurse 1 walked me back to the change room area and gave me instructions for my first pee post-op. There are no words to adequately describe the bittersweet moment of that first pee. It was bitter because it burned like hell and caused me to say words that Ooh, burneven a dozen Hail Mary’s and a gallon of holy water wouldn’t forgive. It was sweet because that first pee gushed fully for the first time in months, much like water bursting forth from the fountain. It was glorious. I felt like Miss Niagara Falls winning the pageant. I had no idea just how bad my peeing had been prior to the cutting and pasting procedure.

On my way out, Dr. P was waiting for me in the hall. He whispered, “How was it?” “Glorious. Absolutely freaking glorious,” I replied.

Sound of Music

I resisted the urge to ‘high five’ him, opting instead to give him a thumbs up just in case he needed a visual cue to go along with the good news. He noticed Trixie stuck to my hand and smiled. I couldn’t help but add “You’re gonna miss her when she’s gone. Who’s gonna guide you through all those urinary tracts?”

I have until October to find my badass asshole-y socks because that’s when I’ll be returning to the OR for some other badass bladder-y procedure. This time I have to arrive with a full bladder which already has me visualizing my bladder erupting into full geyser mode upon arrival. Stay tuned.

wink

Widened urethra: 1
Bad swamp water pee: 0

My something new:  starting a fashion trend for stirrup socks.

makes perfect sense to me

Soooooooo, I received my first negative comment on my blog. I knew it would come eventually; I just never expected it would come from someone close to me. The comment was written after my last published post, a forest dweller tried to kill me, a wild tale about my dealing with a flu bug while at our cabin in the woods. The comment went like this:

I do not know where people get their sayings. I guess they have to act out their fantasies just to get attention of some sort. Makes no sense to me …..!

Had the comment come from a complete stranger, I would have shrugged it off and definitely joked about it. I mean who, in their right mind, would fantasize about having the diarrhea in the middle of the night, in the middle of the bush, in an outhouse, no less, all for the sake of getting attention of some sort? I can think of far better things to fantasize about that would garner me much more positive attention than having the shits diarrhea in the bush.

But the comment wasn’t written by a stranger. It was written by someone I know well, very well, as a matter of fact, and it stung. It stung because I know the person’s intent. It wasn’t meant in jest; it was an attempt to silence me and to discourage me from writing.

However, it didn’t quite work as intended. In fact, it has had the opposite effect. I will not be silenced. I will not stop writing nor will I stop expressing myself. Writing is as much a part of me as is my father’s nose, wit, and sparkling, storytelling eyes. It has spurred me to write more, to keep at it, and to begin to write the story that is buried deep inside me that I was too afraid to write.

I did, however, let the sting sit there for a bit. I let it smoulder until it burned and then I picked myself up, dusted myself off and asked myself, “Why is it that I write? Is it for attention? Fame? Fortune? Is it because I have something worthwhile to say? Do I want to leave a legacy for my children, their children? Is it for the sake of the story? Is it a gift? A calling? A curse?”

It’s simple, really. I write because I love to. It’s natural. It’s liberating. It pours from me as easily as water from a spout. It is a release for me. It brings me tremendous joy and it takes me from the craziness of any day to deep inside my very being. Writing is as much a part of me as is breathing. It makes me feel alive and gives me a confidence I never knew I had.

I also write because I like the process. I like taking an idea, its words and descriptions,  and weaving it into a relatable story. It may seem like work to others but for me, it is the opposite. It is invigorating. It breathes life into my sometimes tired soul. It is a pure and absolute, though sometimes frustrating, process and, thanks to the therapy I began back in the fall, I am beginning to see it as a gift. I am even that much closer to calling myself a writer. Goodness gracious, Aunt Matilda, hell may just have frozen over.

And, throughout the process, I am learning just as much about myself, something I was never afforded growing up, as I am about the writing process itself. I have learned that writing fiction isn’t my strong suit but writing personal essays are. I have learned that two of my high school English teachers were right after all (thank you Mr. Fleming and Mr. Price); I have words and stories begging to be written, and, that in time, they would come. I just had to be open to them.

While I don’t think my English teachers had such grandiose plans for me as my writing about plugging a toilet or farting at the most inopportune time while on a date with Sauerkraut, I do think they were trying to tell me that I could write relatable, heartfelt stories that would appeal to others. They saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself and, again, thanks to my therapist and my immediate family, friends and followers, I am beginning to see it, too.

And, thanks to all of you, I am learning that my writing does not always have to be humorous. When I wrote about my struggles with depression, a dark and serious place that I was scared as hell to write about, you embraced me and sent me the best Internet hugs. Instead of tearing me down, you built me up and told me that I was not alone in my struggle. There are no words to adequately describe what that experience taught me except, perhaps to say, that I learned that we get back what we give, sometimes tenfold.

I know that as I continue to write and publish my stories on my Tales from the Cabbage Patch blog, I am going to have to deal with criticism and negative comments. This is a risk we all take when we put ourselves out there whether it be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any of the other social media platforms available. We just have to know ahead of time how we are going to deal with it when it comes. My plan is to do exactly what Michelle Obama so eloquently suggested at the US Democratic National Convention in 2016, “When they go low, we go high”.

I plan on soaring … which makes perfect sense to me.

Me: 1
Troll: 0

My something new:  using the ‘blocked’ feature on my social media accounts for the very first time.

 

a forest dweller tried to kill me

True Story _ WatermarkedThis is a (mostly) true story about a partridge with attitude, two thug moths out for a joyride joyfly and a toad that tried to kill me. I know it is (mostly) true because I lived to tell the tale. I am lucky to have survived this weekend at our beloved cabin in the woods.

This (mostly) true story is also a long story so I would suggest you make yourself some popcorn, a cuppa tea pour yourself a glass or two of wine before curling up in your favourite chair to read about my latest escapade.

I should also add that I have changed the names of the forest dwellers in this (mostly) true story in order to protect their real identities. It is an understood rule at our cabin in the woods that what happens in the bush stays in the bush unless you change the identities of those involved when retelling the story. It also helps protect me from any potential lawsuits filed by the forests dwellers for libel, pain and suffering or some other bullpoopie thingie like that. Their lawyer, Cedric C. Cougar, has a reputation for being the kind of pompous ass, throat-cut-ish brute of a lawyer that you don’t want to run up against. Once he smells blood, he won’t stop until there is nothing left of you.

The Camp _ 4 Photos _ WatermarkedNow, back to the (mostly) true story. It all started early Friday morning when Sauerkraut and I arrived at our beloved cabin in the woods. If you’ve followed this blog, then you know that our cabin in the woods is our favourite place to be. We quickly set about cleaning the cabin, unpacking our necessities and, before long, were settled in for a nice long weekend. We were ecstatic to be there.

By evening, however, I wasn’t feeling quite right. Supper wasn’t sitting all that well but I put it off to my eating our delicious steak dinner too quickly. By bedtime, my stomach was still feeling queasy but nothing that a good night’s sleep wouldn’t fix.

Or so I thought.

Lord thunderin’ jaysus, around 2:00 a.m., I was awakened by some raging intestinal cramping of epic proportions. Sporting only my nightgown, I made my way ran to the outdoor facility, namely, the outhouse. It was at this time I began what I like to refer to as a clandestine relationship with the outhouse which, from hereon in, will be referred to

Outhouse _ Watermarked

Ozzy Outhouse: where dreams are made and legends are born

as Ozzy. (I decided that if I was going to be rendezvousing with an outhouse in the middle of the night, I might as well name it in order to make it sound more nefarious romantic.)

While I certainly didn’t see this sort of relationship coming, once Ozzy got his grip on me there was no turning back. For the next twenty-four plus hours, I continued sneaking out to Ozzy’s and sharing my innermost secrets with him, secrets buried deep within my very intestines being. It felt good to let it all go — things that had been building up for so long — painful, pressure-filled downright stinky things. I’m sure you can relate.

For my first rendezvous with Ozzy, I wasn’t prepared. It was in the middle of the night and I was wearing only a long sleeved night gown. I had no time to consider the unusually chilly temperatures of the June night and dress accordingly. I also didn’t have time to grab a flashlight larger than the one on my iPhone.

Ozzy was patient and proved to be a thoughtful lover listener as I poured my inner most thoughts out to him. After twenty minutes of my butt heart-wrenching saga, I was nearly frozen to death. I made my way back to the cabin knowing that, after just one meeting, Ozzy would always be there for me, kind of like Imodium.

Sauerkraut, on the other hand, was oblivious to my clandestine affair. He had morphed into Fred Flintstone while I was away and was snoring the night away. It’s a miracle the blankets didn’t rise to the rafters as he exhaled and smother him as he inhaled. Yaba daba frickin’ doo.

Snoring _ midnight mating call

I managed to get a couple of hours sleep before repeating my performance just before daybreak. This time, however, I was certainly better dressed for the occasion. I was also armed with a book and reading glasses in case I was there for a long time.

Despite my intestinal discomfort, it was a rather peaceful time of day, peaceful, that is, until Percy flippin’ Partridge began flapping his wings. Sounding much like a helicopter preparing for takeoff, I couldn’t quite determine if Percy was Percy Partridge.JPGcongratulating me on a job well done or if he was trying to warn the other forest dwellers that something nasty was going on at Ozzy’s. Maybe he was trying to warn them to run for ‘dem dere’ hills. This continued with each and every visit to Ozzy’s that morning. Percy, the big motherclucker that he was, was really getting on my nerves.

On at least one occasion, I yelled at Percy. “Shut the hell up! I don’t need your kind of attitude in my life. I’m dealing with enough shit crap without taking it from you, too.”

Thankfully, my afternoon and early evening visits with Ozzy were at least uneventful. I was beginning to think that the worst was over and that I was turning the corner.

I should have known better. I think that motherclucker, Percy Partridge, flapped some sort of hex on me because at 2:15 a.m. I was back at it again. This time, however, I was better prepared with a fleece jacket, a paperback, reading glasses and a larger flash light.

Even though I had agreed to wake my Fred Flintstone doppelgänger if I needed to go out to the outhouse in the middle of the night again, I didn’t have the heart to. He hadn’t yet reached the full-on Fred Flintstone snore so I knew he was enjoying a nice peaceful sleep. There was no need for the two of us to be up as clearly there wasn’t anything he could do to help me anyway. What was he going to do, beat up Ozzy the outhouse?

I settled in to Ozzy’s welcoming embrace (there’s nothing quite like a good layer of styrofoam insulation hugging your behind in the wee hours of the morning) and began reading my book, letting nature take its course, so to speak. It was then that I was assaulted by a pair of thugs, Martin and Marvin Moth. After a few choice words and with my arms thrashing about, it wasn’t long before I sent them packing, each begging, “please don’t tell Momma Moth about this. She’ll ground us for sure. We’re not supposed to be out this late. Please, please Miss Poopyhead, don’t tell our momma.” I relented and said that I would not tell but that I had better not see them at Ozzy’s Outhouse again. I may or may not have called them cheeky little arseholes on their way out the door.

Moths in the outhouse

After I calmed down, it was back to business for me. I resumed reading, a thriller, of course, by Jeffrey Deaver. I mean, what better genre than a murder mystery to read in the middle of the night, in the middle of the bush, when I’m all by myself and where no one could hear my murderous screams, least of all Fred Flintstone, and in an outhouse owned by a dude named Ozzy? Dum-dee-dum dum dum. La la la. Nature was working itself out nicely and the book was getting sooooooo good. “Just one more page,” I told myself, “just one more page and then I’ll go back inside”.

But it’s never just one more page, is it? Hell, no. I had to push my luck and turn to the next page. Plop! I felt something land on my thigh and I knew it wasn’t toilet paper. Plop, again. And I knew it wasn’t Martin or Marvin Moth because they had flown home several pages ago.

Whats Up SexyJaysus, Mary and Joseph, what the hell was on my leg? One glimpse with the flashlight and I saw the meanest, brownest, most disrespectful baby toad that I have ever seen in my life and he’s sitting there like he owns the joint. Uh, uh, uh, I don’t think so, Timothy Toad, because this outhouse isn’t big enough for the two of us. One of us has got to go. And that one of us was me.

I sprang into action, flying out of Ozzy’s outhouse faster than a speeding bullet. The toad was airborne, my bookmark hit the dirt, the toilet paper was rolling right along with me but there was absolutely, positively no way I was going to be taken out by a murderous baby toad named Timothy. I may or may not have screamed, “You rotten son-of-a-toad” or “your mother wears army boots” or “I could have been a contender” or “A-D-R-I-A-N!” or some other stupid thing like that. When you’re running for your life, everything becomes a blur other than getting to safety so I don’t exactly remember what I screamed. Whatever it was, I am sure it was profanity laden.

Oh Shit Run

I made it inside the cabin safe and sound. After I closed and locked the door (there was no way that son-of-a-toad was getting inside to finish me off), I leaned against the door trying to catch my breath. As I came to the realization of just how close I had come to losing my life, I thanked the high heavens for sparing me. Then, I shone the flashlight to the left and saw my beloved Fred Flintstone, snoring the night away, oblivious to the fact of just how close he had come to being widowed. Boy, did he get an earful over breakfast this morning.

So, there you have it. My (mostly) true story about how a forest dweller almost killed me and how I lived to tell the tale. Ribbeting riveting, I know.

Oh, one more thing, I couldn’t find my reading glasses afterwards either. If you happen to see a partridge walking around the bush sporting a really cool pair of reading glasses, tell him that you know where he got them and that he’d better return them to his rightful owner or he could be facing a lawsuit of his own.

Imodium: 1
Murderous Baby Toad: 0

My something new: surviving my first murder attempt … on me, that is. It wasn’t me attempting to murder someone, although there were a couple of times when I felt like killing Fred for snoring. ‘It was Wilma Flintstone … in the cabin … with the pillow.’

its-not-you-its-your-snoring

Hey, have you ever faced down a murderous toad, put the run on a pair of thug moths or been applauded for a job well done by a partridge with attitude? Tell me your story. I can’t be the only one.