After my angiogram I was wheeled back into my room where I couldn’t move or sit up for two hours because the artery in which the catheter had been placed needed time to heal and form a clot. I fell asleep and was awakened by my mother exclaiming “oh I hate the pigs with hard hats! They cheat!” To which my boyfriend replied, “it’s all about trajectory and timing. Here, use a bird bomb, they’re the most effective.” It took me a moment to realize my mom was learning how to play Angry Birds on my Ipad and Matt was her coach. I started to giggle at their exchanges which made me realize that the unthinkable had happened.
Before the procedure a nurse had warned me to go to the bathroom saying I wouldn’t be able to get up to go after the angiogram. I hadn’t had to go at the time because I was nervous but now I felt like I was ten again, trapped in the back seat of the minivan, my dad gripping the steering wheel and swerving in and out of semis as he tried to “make good time” while forbidding us upon pain of death to say the words “are we there yet?” or most importantly “I have to pee!”
I buzzed the nurse and sheepishly told her I needed to use the restroom. “Oh no problem honey I’ll be right with you. Don’t move” (where was I going to go?) She returned with two other nurses who on the count of three did a “team lift!” and rolled me to my side, placing a pee pad and a bed pan under my caboose. They shooed everyone out of the room and left me to it. In the now silent room I took a deep breath and tried to relax and just let it all go. Then I remembered this wasn’t a private room. Was there someone over there on the other side of that curtain that would hear me? I couldn’t tell. I couldn’t hear anyone breathing over there. What if there was someone and they had stopped breathing? What if they were over there trying to pee at the same time I was. I couldn’t concentrate. Should I page the nurse? What if I peed too much and overflowed the bedpan? I had visions of the nurses laughing about me, a grown woman, wetting the bed over cocktails at a bar that looked like “Joe’s” on Grey’s Anatomy when they got off work that night.
I had just begun to try and relax again when the nurse knocked on the door and walked in. “How are we doing?” and I immediately tensed. Back to square one. I told her I was having trouble “letting go” and she turned around and walked out of the room again. I don’t know if any of you have ever had to wet the bed on purpose but it is truly a strange experience. Most things that your parents told you not to do as a child ended up as guilty pleasures later. As an adult I consistently stay up past my bedtime, never eat my green vegetables, and eat the ice cream right out of the tub. Sometimes even for breakfast. Wetting the bed as an adult? There is no sense of defiant satisfaction to be had there folks, just an uncomfortable silence. I don’t want to be graphic but I remember the sound of the fluid hitting the bedpan and it seemed to echo through the room somehow mocking me. To make matters worse my kidneys had evidently decided to work overtime processing those IV fluids. I was like Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own when he stumbles into the locker room still drunk before the first game. Every time it seemed like I was finished there would be a little more left in the tank. I began to worry about really wetting the bed. How much could one measly bedpan hold?
Luckily it did not overflow and at the age of 28 I survived going number one without incident.