“Go ahead and slip into this gown, and the doctor will be with you shortly.”
My nurse, Katy, had her curly hair piled in a bun on top of her head, revealing her pierced cartilage. She reminds me of that girl in high school who smoked cigarettes on the football field and made out with boys with frosted tips. If I weren’t keeled over in pain, I’d be so stoked that I was finally hanging out with the cool girl.
It was my little introduction to the worst three letter combination in the English language: UTI. Urinary tract infection, or the time sword fighting fire ants made their way into my urethra.
I noticed that um, number one, was a little uncomfortable during work. Within the hour, number one had gone from “a little uncomfortable” to “I need to write my will really fast.”
I’m usually a “sleep it off” type of gal, but when you see a toilet bowl full of pink, you freak out a little.
…and call your mom.
Luckily, Mama is a level-headed lady who reminded me to “go to the hospital and get some medicine. You have insurance. Marry a doctor while you’re there.”
So I hopped in my car and drove my squirting-pee-blood self to the ER…crying the whole way. First of all, I hurt. Second of all, I’m by myself.
“I can do this. It’s no big deal. It will be done soon.” I’m trying to pump myself up into making this whole thing go away. People go to the hospital all the time! People go to the hospital by themselves…all of the time…right?
The waiting room is small, and the nurses are all exceptionally nice. They take note of the old mascara smeared across my face and the weird way that I’m sitting that looks like an ugly yoga pose using a chair. I’m pretty sure they sneak me ahead of a couple of people so I can, you know, take care of my kool-aid colored urine.
I have a phone in my purse…but I’m not gonna use it. I’m a strong, independent woman, goddammit! I don’t need anyone.
“It will just be a minute, hon.”
WHAT?! I have to wait?! Do you know what one minute is in UTI time? I’m dying here!
Then, I reached my breaking point. I don’t want to be here alone. I pulled out my phone and, shamefully, called my friend.
*sob*sob* “Can you come sit with me?” *sob*sob*sob*
My friend came to my hospital room, and held my hand while Katy gave me a shot of painkillers. We joked about how much of a turn-on it is to talk about urethras, and blood colored pee. He rubbed my back while I was in another ugly yoga pose, and I let him. Just having someone next to me made a world of difference.
When I finally made it home, I remembered a quote that I read in a philosophy book (or maybe someone’s Facebook status. I don’t know, man.) ”Asking for help doesn’t mean you failed, it just means you’re not in it alone.”
I don’t know why I was so ashamed of asking for someone to come sit with me in the hospital. Just like we’re all here for each other in this Stratejoy tribe, we’re all here for each other in the world away from the web. I can still be a strong, independent woman with someone holding my hand, and it only took a real life Grey’s Anatomy night to remind me of that.
[Photo Credit: Jim Frazier] PEA in a cup! Get it?!