Posts Tagged ‘pulmonary embolisms’

“The Urethra’s Silver Lining”- by Alison Grambs

Watermarked Photo


“Oh, and by the way, your urine is perfect.”

Perfect? I muttered to myself dubiously. Isn’t that going a little far there, Mr. I Wear A Stethoscope So I Look Important? I mean, how many things in this world are truly perfect? And yet, that was precisely what the nurse was telling my husband.

“Yeah, your urine is totally perfect, Bro.” 

Oh, so now it’s totally perfect, Bro, huh? No longer just regular perfect; now it’s totally perfect. Great. I snapped my head to the right and glared at my husband, trying to quell the temptation to smack that smug look off his face. Thanks to him, we’d spent the better part of our day in the waiting room, surrounded by moaning and whimpering people who had, for reasons sometimes self-evident (a washcloth wrapped around a bloody finger, a failing oxygen tank connected to a wheelchair), and sometimes totally unclear (staring vacantly into space, playing with their phones), also decided to pass this particularly sunny afternoon in this manner.

“My urine is perfect!” Tommy repeated gleefully as we exited the office and headed toward the parking lot. 

Is that a friggin’ spring in his step? Is he friggin’ kidding me? While his aching body seemed to instantly be on the mend pending discovery of his perfect”  And pee, my own body was clearly not faring so well. The waiting room chair I’d been sitting in longer than a Mayfly’s life span had wreaked havoc on my lower back. Then there was the mental damage I had suffered being forced to watch the man sitting across from me wolf down a packet of potato chips with crunchy abandon, and then proceed to lick the salt off each and every one of his dirty fingertips about ten times over. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, he would walk around the waiting room touching everything with those sticky, saliva-covered fingers. And because said Sticky Fingers Man also included in his tour the nearby unisex restroom, I wasn’t about to go in and use it- no matter how badly I wanted to thanks to the four gallons of water I had guzzled down.

“Did you hear that?” Tommy was saying with nauseating braggadocio as we crossed through the parking lot and chatted about his annual checkup. “Perfect! Not just good, but perfect!” 

I admit I hit the gas pedal pretty damn hard as I threw our vehicle into reverse in the hopes it would jostle some of my husband’s obnoxiously ‘perfect’ urine inside his bladder. 

As I waited alone in the parking lot of the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts- the Dunkin’ Donuts I had strictly forbade my husband and his perfect urine to patronize because I don’t want him getting clogged arteries- I found myself feeling oddly weighted down by a cloud of disappointment. Perfect. I could not, for the life of me, shake the word. Why was it bothering me so damn much?

I pulled out my phone and opened the Dictionary app to check on the definition for this most bothersome adjective the nurse had so enthusiastically assigned to my husband’s urethral manifestations.

“Perfect: Having all the required or desirable elements, or qualities, or characteristics.”

I felt an involuntary sneer spread across my lower jaw as I watched Tommy and his perfect urine exit the doughnut shop with a giant ball of fried lard stuffed inside one cheek. He waved. Waved the cocky wave of someone who is incredibly fond of their own urine. Then he offered me a bite of a second doughnut that was lurking in the discreet brown bag he clutched tightly in his left hand. 

No, I snarled in my head, unable to work up the courage to say the words aloud because that would make me an even worse wife than I already was. I do not want any part of your donuts, you urine-centric jerkhead. In fact, I will never take another bite of another doughnut in my life. Doughnuts are for people filled with joy, not misery and resentment like I am. It occurred to me that this bitterness was not the proper response for a loving wife to have towards her adorable, kind, big-hearted, and devoted husband’s offer of a shared snack. But frankly, I was not in a loving mood.

The fact of the matter is that 2015 has been one helluva tough year. Not without its inarguable highlights, both personal and career-wise, of course; but definitely challenging in ways that, well, challenged me in new ways. There was simply nothing “perfect” about 2015. The things I thought were going to work out perfectly did not, and the imperfect things that I assumed would never befall me, did, in fact, befall me. And hard. From family tensions to financial fears and crippling writer’s block, 2015 proved to be a year that I just couldn’t get anything right. Not even my urine was up to snuff according to the doctors and nurses monitoring me when I landed in the hospital this past Spring. Not only did I have pulmonary embolisms, but a urinary tract infection to boot! My own urine was miserably imperfect.

As it turns out, the only perfect thing about 2015 for me was how wildly imperfect it was. And apparently, I’m not the only one. Many of the people I care most about in this world had the same kind of crap year: relatives died suddenly, marriages faltered or crumbled entirely, careers floundered, financial pressures encroached, health issues arose , etc. As for people I don’t know? Strangers across the nation and the globe, well, it seemed that 2015 was a year replete with terrifying and painful incidents all around. Horror kept being redefined and so much suffering becomes, well, insufferable to watch the evening news. 

So, um, yeah, I thought to myself as I watched the cinnamon-flavored powder dust itself across my husband’s perfectly trimmed goatee, when the New Year finally has the decency to roll in, I will be more than happy to wave off the old one goodbye. And aim my pointy middle finger at it as I do. Goddamn perfect urine. Perfect, perfect urine. Must be nice to have perfect urine when the rest of the world is falling apart. Still though, I had to figure out what was irking me so much about the perfect urine. Was I jealous? Not at all. I want everything to be perfect in life for my husband. I’d rather me suffer than him on any day. But that word perfect. Hmmmm. On its best day, urine is icky, smelly, a weird hue of yellow that no one would want painted on their walls. So how can it possibly be ‘perfect’?

And that’s when it hit me…

There is a perfection to the simplicity of perfect urine. The fact that one can take such joy in something so seemingly irrelevant as perfect urine says something about the holder of said perfect urine. They get it. Regaling in one’s superior urine is not arrogance- no, no. It is a demonstration of the most basic key to happiness: perspective. The fact that my husband’s urine happens to be in a particularly good place right now should give me hope that other aspects of our lives and the lives of those we love- the less urine-y aspects of being- will also fall into place. Neither our bodies nor our lives will ever be perfect all the time. Duh. But with every dark cloud (or cloudy urine?) there can be a silver lining. We just have to look hard for it. 

If I had to do this very rough year over again, oddly, I think I would opt to ride out all the bumps and bruises again same at the first time because they rounded me out in a way that I could not have envisioned before the imperfect urine hit the fan. Am I a bit stronger for it all? Hopefully. Wiser? Definitely. More forgiving and less judgmental? Damn straight. Somehow, the losses can be twisted into gains- at least emotional ones. 

So, as the holiday season flutters in, and we all quietly assess the speed bumps we hit in the past year so we can improve our navigation skills in the next, let’s all agree to take joy in the tiny perfections this world still gifts to us every day. Whether it’s in the form of a perfect book we read, a perfect meal we dine on, a perfect vacation we take, a perfect chat with an old friend we haven’t spoken to in years, a perfect visit home to Mom and Dad, a perfect walk through a favorite neighborhood, or a perfect score on one’s urinalysis test, it is the unexpected and often overlooked joys in life that make the icky parts more bearable. 

Wishing you all the merriest and happiest of everything. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my bladder is feeling perfectly full…