I had to take a drug test before I could start. I was fine with that, because believe it or not, I pee in cups a lot. Not like, recreationally, but every time I go to the ER they make me and I'm fine, even when my brain is literally scrambled. So, I figure, hey, I can pee in a cup immediately following a seizure, (although sometimes Spencer or a nurse holds me on the toliet) so obviously I'll be fine peeing in a cup when I feel tip-top, right? WRONG.
I woke up that morning and peed as usual. I ate my Cream of Wheat, drank some milk, and took my meds with my usual amount of am water. I hate drinking water in the morning, I don't know why. My dad agrees. I get a lot from him. Anyway, I took an extra swig just for good measure. I got ready. I listened to Christmas music, I shoved my mascara wand in my eye and had to redo the top half of my face. My appointment was at 8:00. Daddy picked me up and when we got there I filled out the paperwork and was called back.
"Just fill this cup," the girl says, asking me to leave my purse with her as she pats me down.
"K," I mutter, thinking, "This is like 8 oz!"
So I take my time fully covering every inch of the toilet seat with toilet paper, then adding another layer just in case. I sit down and employ my no-fail strategy for catching the liquid if you're a female. If you want to know what it is, e-mail me. I wrap things up and saunter out with my pee.
"That's all you could get?" she asks.
"Yeah," I say, sheepishly.
"Well we can use this for your medical screening but it's not enough for your drug test. I'll need another sample."
"Okay, well my ride has to go, so can I schedule another appointment?"
"No, you can't leave our line of sight until we get a usable sample."
I laugh a little, thinking she's kidding. She's not.
"I can't leave?"
"No, you can't even go outside. I'll show you where the water is."
So, I grab a paper cup and fill it with water. I hate drinking water from paper cups, too.
"Dad, I didn't give them enough and I have to stay here until I do."
"Okay, that's fine."
"Don't you have a meeting in like half an hour?"
"I'll make some calls."
Meanwhile I get my exam. The doctor is very impressed at how I seem to know the order of things:
- Look at my nose.
- Follow my finger with your eyes. (side, side, up, down)
- Squeeze my fingers.
- Don't let me pull you.
- Stand up and close your eyes while I push you. Don't fall.
- Put your arms out and hold them up while I push.
- Touch your nose with each finger.
- Stand on each leg.
- Walk in a straight line, one foot in front of the other.
- Say "Ah."
- Let me look in your ears.
"I have a neurological condition. I do it every three months."
"Ah, right....your chart." Awkward silence. "Well, Mrs. Johnston. It looks like you're fit for the job, congrats!"
I get dressed again after he leaves thinking it was completely unnecessary for me to wear a gown, that they really should mix it up a bit, just to humor me, and pound down another water. I return to the waiting room and drink four more waters.
"Want me to go get you a rootbeer?" my dad says sympathetically.
"I'm gonna go try again."
So, the same procedure is employed. Exactly. As I listen, it doesn't sound like much is happening. I squeeze. Nothing. Hmm. I squeeze more. Nothing. I hurry out, muttering a quick prayer, and hand her my cup.
After a minute or two...or a thousand she says, "Well it would've been enough but I can't get a temperature on it. You probably went and then tried to get a little more and it got cold." She chucks it in the garbage. "Try again in a little while and keep drinking water."
I report to my father who laughs a little, offers a hug of encouragement, then tells me he has to go pick up a client at the airport but my grandmother is on her way. I start to wonder something, so I text kgb, since I don't have google.
"How long after you drink something does it enter your bladder?"
My ever-reliable kgb texts me right back. "From the time it enters your mouth, about 3 hours. That's a long time! Drink up!"
"Tell grandma to come in three hours."
I buy a Dasani from the vending machine thinking I can't bear the taste of paper any longer. Even though I hate the salty after taste of Dasani. (I'm really picky about my water, I know.) I drink the whole thing, refill it twice, and watch The Polar Express two and a half times. Finally, I see a cute little poof of blonde hair coming my way.
"Oh, HONEY!" grandma says hugging me. "Now what's wrong? Are you nerved up?"
(Upon seeing you, Grandma will inevitably ask, "How's your bowel? Are you nerved up?" then offer suggestions on things that will "really get your bowels moving." Oh, I love that woman.)
"No, I'm fine. I just don't drink a lot in the morning, ya know? It makes my stomach all gurgley. But now I'm just annoyed! Thanks for coming!"
"Well, honey! I'm just so worried about you! What's the problem do you think? You're probably just thinking about it too much. I'll tell you what, once you're done we'll go get some lunch, okay? Now, see, she was just in and out, that's what you need to do. Just try not to think about it." All in one breath.
So, I start imagining streams and rivers and faucets and waterfalls. I turn to grandma and say, "Okay, I'm goin' in. Wish me luck."
The process begins again, the patting down, the covering of the toilet, etc. I fill the cup and then some. It's practically clear from all of the water I have had to drink, but the nurse takes it and I initial the samples. VICTORY is mine! I hurry out. I text everyone I know. Grandma buys me lunch and we spend the day baking TWELVE pumpkin rolls and laughing. We get flour all over our shirts so we make hand prints on our boobs. She gets it in her hair and I try to blow it out for her without disturbing the overall integrity of the structure. A bad day turns out quite well.
Two days later I get a phone call.
"Hi, Mrs. Johnston, this is Jane Doe from HR. I know you had to drink a lot of water in order to go for your drug test, but unfortunately it came back as diluted, so we can't use it. I'm gonna need you to go back sometime today."
I want to cry, but I don't. I drink one an a half bottles of water, then nothing else for three hours before my appointment. Things go well. Days later I am cleared to work. I have a new appreciation for Seinfeld.