I have had 4 children within a nine-year span. I have done my Kegels. I have tried to be bladder compliant. Nonetheless, truth be told, I wet my pants running, walking, laughing, drinking. I come through the front door of the house after a 15, 30, 45, 60-minute drive stating “I have to pee”.
Case in point – I went for one of my favorite runs up in Twain Harte several years ago. It may sound sissy to you, but I would be driven up to the top of Middle Camp Road and run down to the cabin. It’s a complete downhill run, just short of 4 miles. I landed at the cabin after a run in black running pants and my eldest son looked me up and down and replied, “Did you wet yourself?” I replied, “Well, yet I did. It happens sometimes.” I never for a moment shirked from my womanly duties. My child was, frankly, appalled. I can’t be tickled; it is difficult to sneeze. You get the picture.
Fast forward to my current job application, for a hospital. If you have never worked in a hospital, you should know it is the second oldest job in history in which you are required to take your clothes off and get stuck in order to be hired. Employment for a hospital requires: a) a complete physical in which you are in a gown with even fancier plastic bloomers (that make you look like an umpa lumpa), you are weighed, stuck (blood labs and TB test) and fully evaluated from your head to your toes and then required to take the mandatory drug urine test.
Let me start my saying that I had been hydrating all morning. Coffee, decaf tea at the level of 6 ounce cups refilled at least 4 times. I left the office to head to employee health wishing for a diet pepsi, but wanting to be on time vs. caffeinated, there was no diet pepsi.
After being stripped, weighed, evaluated for hearing, sight, blood pressure, etc., I was asked to take a urine test. I was handed off to a lovely 20+ something technician (she really could have been a nurse, but I am not sure). I am asked to store my belongings in a locker, wash my hands with soap and water, handed a specimen plastic cup with instructions to fill it up to ½ inch. I do all of the above and grab an ass gasket on my way in (just for good form, I usually don’t use them but don’t want to be judged).
I sit down on the potty and realize that I really don’t have to pee. What I do manage to do doesn’t go in the direction that I plan and the rest leaves me at less than the ½ inch required. I am looking at the mess between me and the toilet and thinking I need some type of feminine camping hygiene product that will get my stream where it really needs to be. I come out from the toilet room and present my pathetic sample. The tech tries to salvage my specimen but deems it unworthy. I am given my second 30-ounce bottle of water and asked to wait.
Now is the time that I begin to overthink things. I recall a conversation with my girlfriend the day before.
She tells me, “Don’t do what our friend, Ellen, did.”
I ask her, “What did Ellen do?”
She tells me, “Ellen applied for a director’s job and took her drug test and failed.”
I ask her, “How does a 50+ year old woman fail a drug test for employment?”
She tells me, “She smokes the marijuana on the weekend.”
I tell her, “NO WAY!”
“WAY.” she tells me.
My first sample was at 3:04 pm. My second sample was at 3:35 pm. I again failed to produce the bare minimum of urine stream. I am literally singing to myself every song I know that could potentially give me the urge— Raindrops keep falling on my head…I love a rainy night……Singing in the Rain. I could use my phone to play u-tube videos except my phone is not allowed in the restroom due to the strict drug testing requirements (not that I am a fan of using my phone in the bathroom). Oh, now I am also told there is a 4-minute rule. If I can’t go in 4 minutes, I have to (again) do the walk of shame.
I am now bumped to 4:10 pm. I see the notes on my file, an orange post-it “Shy Bladder. 1st Sample 3:04, second sample 3:35, third sample…..”. I ask if I can come back on Monday to re-take the test.
“No, it is against policy. Once you come in for your physical employee test, you can’t leave without all tests being performed.”
I am now getting suspect looks from the staff. I am sure they have been in the office since 7:00 am and now they have a 48-year old woman who literally can’t control her bladder. They know that they are going to be here until dark. Meanwhile, now all I can think of is the story my girlfriend told me of our 50-year old friend who failed the drug test because she smoked The Marijuana on the weekend. This woman who has her BA, her MBA and 30+ years of experience failed the drug test and THEN negotiated her way out of it during her hiring process. I am sure this was plaguing me during my urge to “let it flow”.
I have more flashbacks — like when you were 18-25 (ok maybe 30) when you used your ATM at the bank, gas station, grocery store, mall and they rejected your card for non-sufficient funds. When you get pulled over for a speeding ticket and are terrified you will be arrested. This shit haunts you forever. Sometimes you never are 100% secure in life and right at that moment I was 100% secure in the fact that I couldn’t pee.
It is now 4:45. I have been in this office for almost two hours. I am reading through the office magazines (which were thankfully hip and current). The nurses keep checking on me. They have graciously give me bottled water and diet pepsi no charge. I can only drink ½ of the diet pepsi I am told because I can only ingest up to 40 ounces of liquid while at the clinic.
I have gone through 4 of their sample containers guiltily. After my half of the diet pepsi and a great article on Julian Michaels, I have an urge. I cautiously announce (for the fourth time) that I am prepared. The tech tells me for the fourth time to place my belongings into the cubbie, lock it and place the key around my wrist. The same key that I have to place up to my elbow to, for the fourth time, wash my hands with soap. I am then handed the fourth sample cup and am told I have four minutes to pee or I go back for round 5. The clinician then looks me in the eye, “Good luck”.
Shortly before 5:00 PM, after 2/3rd of the staff had already gone home, I have achieved urination success. I have overcome the first time in over 20 years that I haven’t peed in 1 hours and 45 minutes. I come out of the bathroom feeling, well, successful. My very own personal technician tagging my urine sample tells me “Congratulations”. I load up my personal belongings from my cubbie, hand over the key and exit the building to my car for the ride home.
What was the first thing I did when I walked through the door? I make a bee line through the house to the bathroom to pee and I am sure I am going to be up half the night because I’m jacked up on the caffeine of ½ of a diet pepsi.
The things you do for: a) a great job: b) a great group of people and c) feeling successful and happy in your career.