Sunday, January 29, 2006

Adventures in Dynamic Tension

Propriety. Certain things are appropriate in certain places. Shouting "Fire!" when the Redcoats are coming = good. Shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater = bad. Things like that.

Call it a quirk, but I'm all for appropriate urination. I remember on Ross graphics jobs it was common to be far from a suitable facility when the call of nature arrived, and we had to make do in whatever surroundings we found ourselves. One morning the barely audible sound of flowing water woke me up (on the ground beside our camper) and I barely got myself out of the sleeping bag in time and out of the path of what was trickling downhill from the other side of the truck.

Bodily processes should not be a cause for anxiety. Once I was returning from Wyoming with friends and, despite feeling such a call as we crossed the Nevada California line, managing to hold it until we arrived in the Napa, several hours later. Ah, the powers of youth.

Just last week Bonnie was driving us back from Los Altos, maybe an hour and a half drive, and I forced her to pull off Highway 101 about a half hour short of Petaluma so I could run out in a field and release something that seemed more and more inevitable by the second. Ahhh... But my relief was tempered by a feeling that this event was a bad omen.

The very next night I was returning from a rehearsal at Jessel's. As I drove across town I felt a familiar urge. What? I'd just used the facilities at Jessel's! But logic had no influence on my bladder. Ten minutes after leaving Jessel's I pulled into the driveway of my folks' house. I dashed to the door and fumbled with my keys. Come on! Come on! I heard echoes of my dad saying the same thing at the door when, near the end of his life, he almost refused to go anywhere out of town for fear of being away from a bathroom.

The door opened. I didn't stop to take of my coat, but tore it off as I ran and threw it on the floor, along with my keys. Despite using my human imitation of a hoseclamp, a mere 20 feet from the bathroom I felt a growing area of warmth in a part of my pants that I much prefer to keep dry. Well, at least I could take my time now. There was still enough fluid left to dispose of that I continued with my plan to use the bathroom. After a few seconds the urine turned a distinct red. Hmmm. That's not supposed to happen.

The next day I spent hours on the phone talking to Kaiser information, appointments, day nurse, and, finally, my doctor. We agreed that the blood was probably a side effect of my attempt to hold back the flood, a flood that was probably the result of some sort of infection, which was verified a couple of days later at a visit to the urologist.

I'm now halfway through two weeks of Cipro, America's favorite anthrax remedy.

Meanwhile, I've been wearing my left arm in a sling after overusing it for months, trying to protect my right shoulder, which I blew out a couple of years ago. At the urging of my doctor I've been pumping ibuprofen for a couple of weeks. Pills, pills, pills. I'm finding new empathy for my mom. I was always giving her grief for forgetting to take her pills. Now it seems to be all I can to do keep track of what I've taken when.

(finished and posted 2/2/2006)


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