I had to stick close to home today. I was taking a test. A medical test. Not the infamously gross one everybody should do starting at 50 – did that one a few weeks ago – but a less well-known one. You’re regulars, and we share a lot of our lives here, so here you go:
It’s the Tankard of Pee test.
AKA, 24-hour urine, and it’s pretty much what it sounds like: You have to collect every drop of pee you make in 24 hours. It has something to do with my early-stage osteoporosis, seeing how much calcium I’m losing with every trip to the loo. It’s not nearly as gross as it sounds; they give you a bowl and a big ol’ bottle, the aforementioned tankard. You pee into the bowl, then pour it into the bottle, and then stick the bottle in the fridge. The fridge part is important. You could put it outside if the day is cold enough, but it was too cold today, and the nurse told me not to let it freeze. So I spent the day with my bowl and my tankard and the fridge, where I had a special place for it, next to the orange juice. I’m very careful, and have yet to spill a drop on either my hands or any other surface.
There’s something about this ritual — this is my third Tankard of Pee test — that makes you philosophical. You think: Now I have something in common with Howard Hughes. You think: I’m going to run out of space in this tankard; shouldn’t have had that third cup of coffee. You think: At least I can pee, right? I mean, the alternative is much worse. You think: I want to go to the gym, but what if I have to pee? I’ll have to run home. To my bowl and tankard. You think: I never knew 24 hours could last this long.
I also thought: No way am I watching the State of the Union tonight. I’ve had enough excretory functions for one day.
Read this New Yorker story on Jahi McMath, the 16-year-old girl who’s been in a persistent vegetative state for five years. It’s fascinating.
I see some of you have posted the Chicago Reader story that takes a look back at Bobwatch, which is full of linky goodness of Neil Steinberg’s career interlude writing the column of the same name. I spent an hour reading those 20-year-old clips. It made me happy and sad; such good writing, but such a bygone era in alt-weeklies. Hardly any are that good anymore.
OK. So. The speech has started. I’m going to the refrigerator one…more…time. Maybe two.