Blood and Urine

Whew! I am back and ready to talk more about bodily fluids!

 

You guys may be asking yourself what I have been doing for the past month and a half. Well… I finished my novel. Like, finished finished. I turned 31. I got a new job. I made some jewelry. I found some new blogs to creep on that fill me with feminist rage. In short, I’ve been busy.

 

Incidentally, if anyone wants to read my novel and give me feedback please email me. I would appreciate it.

 

And now, to the story!

 

When I was a kid, I shared a room with my sister J. But when I was even younger, like 7ish, I shared a room with J and my brother T. Actually, J and I shared a bed. And a pillow. That’s right, I did not even have my own pillow.

 

One night while we were sleeping (I always made her sleep on the inside because I am a bit claustrophobic) I had a lovely dream. I dreamt I was on the toilet, urinating.

 

Unfortunately, when I woke up, I found that I had peed the bed. The downside of sharing a bed with someone is that if they pee the bed then you get peed on. And J got peed on. A lot. She still reminds me of it sometimes. I imagine it wasn’t as funny to her as it was to me.

 

We had to change the sheets. And mattress pad. And take a bath. All in the middle of the night.

 

I have not peed the bed, or myself ever since.

 

Until recently. Because I had the Essure procedure last year I have noticed a weakening of my pelvic floor. It is actually very common as women age and especially after giving birth. But mine started a few months after my procedure.

 

Image result for essure springs

The springs all up in my tubes

Basically what happens is that when I have to urinate, it is an emergency. I don’t notice needing to go more frequently, just more urgently.

 

I have had a few close calls where I barely made it to the bathroom on time. And maybe a few times where a few drops came out on the bathroom floor instead of into the toilet bowl. (I know I am coming back strong and with my typical class).

 

Today I was on my period. And for some reason, using my Diva Cup tends to put pressure on my bladder, which does make me have to go more frequently. These two things were the perfect combination for disaster.

 

Image result for diva cup

The cup all up in my vaginal canal

I was sitting on the couch, rewatching Supernatural and minding my own business. I suddenly felt a warm wetness in my underwear. I actually thought my Diva Cup had overflowed and was leaking out into my underwear. It happens sometimes during heavy flow days.

 

I pulled my underwear down to check and saw that I was peeing. I didn’t even feel like I had to go. But there I was, actually peeing myself.

 

I ran to the bathroom. I left a trail of urine like Hansel and Gretel through the forest. Only that wasn’t a trail any woodland creatures would want to follow.

Image result for hansel and gretel breadcrumb trail

Only with urine.

I took a shower and wiped the urine up off my floors. Thankfully they are fake wood and not carpet. I fucking hate carpet, but that is a rant for another time.
Unfortunately,  I had also peed all over my couch. So I cleaned it as best as I could and am now sitting on a towel. Like a sick cat. (Thanks to Debbie for that hilarious phrase.)

Tiger Balm

Back by popular demand, more stories about my privates! Yay! I feel like I will just never run out of stories of terrible things happening to them. So here goes:

 

When I was a child I learned to read at a very young age. Like, before kindergarten. My mother homeschooled my older sisters for a year or two. I don’t really remember why. All homeschoolers are either super hippies or weird religious people. And though my father is a super hippie, my mother was just an average person.

 

At any rate, I had nothing to do during the homeschooling. I was too young for school, too young to be left alone, and we were too poor for daycare. So I spent homeschooling also being homeschooled.

 

My sisters are 8 and 10 years older than myself so I have no idea what they were learning. But I learned the alphabet and then how to read and then how to tell time on an analog clock.

 

Which is amazing because I seem to have de-evolved through sheer laziness and now have to actually pay close attention when reading an analog clock.

 

So I went into kindergarten already knowing all the material. Which made for an extremely boring year of school. Plus, I was an insufferable show off and know it all. As a result, I had exactly one friend.

 

But I didn’t need friends. I had books and my little sister, J, to torment.

 

One day J and I were playing in my parents bed. I was in kindergarten so she was about three. And we were snooping through everything, as children do. When we found a little tub of something.

 

Being older and literate, J asked me what it was. The label was covered in all kinds of funny symbols that I did not recognize. And then I saw the words Tiger Balm. Well, I knew what balm was. It was a salve, like lip balm. It went on your lips.

 

This was still a few years before my chapstick addiction, which I still have today. So I handed the tub to J and told her to put some on her lips.

 

I don’t know if you guys know what Tiger Balm is. It is like an Asian version of Icy Hot or BenGay. It smells terrible (that’s because of the menthol). It is also very strong when applied to sensitive areas, like the lips of a three year old child.

 

I remember her screaming and crying in pain and then, as usual, my mother came in and found us. And I was, once again, in serious trouble for doing something mean to J. But I swear, it was an honest mistake.

 

But that isn’t the end of the story. My privates were involved, remember?

 

So earlier this year, I had a little tub of Tiger Balm that I actually never use because I have very sensitive skin and it is just too strong for me. But I also didn’t want to get rid of it because nothing I do makes any sense.

 

I keep my Diva Cup on the same shelf of my medicine cabinet as the Tiger Balm. When I got my period, I pulled the cup out of it’s adorable little bag, washed it, and then inserted it.

 

It took a few minutes for me to feel anything. But then it started feeling…weird in my vagina. Like not good weird. Bad weird. Although I suppose there is rarely any good weird if it is taking place inside your vagina.

 

And then it started tingling, again, bad tingling. It started burning. I pulled the cup out and smelled it. Yes, it was just in my vagina. I don’t care. I know what my vagina smells like. But I could distinctly smell the Tiger Balm.

 

I remembered the story with J and felt a moment of pity for her. That shit must be really bad on your lips. Because it was really bad on my vagina. Hopefully, she will feel a bit of justice with this story.

 

I limped around in pain for about 30 minutes and cursed myself for being an idiot. No amount of washing helped and I didn’t want to upset anything happening down there (vaginas have their own flora and fauna going on). And after my period was over, I put my cup back in it’s little bag and back in the cabinet.


Now, I’m not a total idiot, I had thrown away the Tiger Balm and washed the shelf where it had been.But I am at least a partial idiot because I didn’t wash the bag. And the following month, when I got my period again? You guessed it. I put the cup in and my vagina started feeling all weird again. And not the good kind of weird.

Bursting of the dam

I haven’t posted anything about my period or my vagina in a few weeks. But brace yourselves, people. The shame is strong with this one.

My fifth and most recent heart surgery took place just over two years ago. It was noteworthy in several ways. It was my fifth one. I had been chosen to participate in a clinical trial for a new type of catheter that had sense receptors on it. They were going to burn through my right heart atrium and into my left for the first time. And I was in my first few months of a new relationship with A. We all know how that turned out.

It’s not like burning holes in your heart is serious or anything.

My other four surgeries had been some of the worst experiences of my life. This one would turn out to be my worst. Because of the added procedure and the sheer quantity I had had by this point, they stressed very heavily that I could die.

I was at a crossroads. I could take medication that controlled my heart, but the medication was newly approved and there had been no research into the long term side effects. There was an extreme likelihood that I would die from liver failure in about 20 years. When I was 47. And I’d be on very expensive drugs forever. Missing even one dose caused serious heart problems.

Liver, shmiver. Am I right?

I was taking so many drugs that I had to set up multiple alarms set throughout the day. Or I could choose the surgery. It might work. It might kill me. It might not work and I’d still have to take the drugs. I decided that I would rather die sooner than later.

I had been on my period for three other surgeries, and it was no surprise to anyone that I was on it for this one too. As mentioned here, I use the Diva Cup. It is a little tiny silicone plunger that catches everything. It is comfortable and clean and good for your body and the environment. (Still no endorsement forthcoming).

Best thing ever invented for periods besides chocolate.

When I was wheeled into the operating room at 5am, I told the head nurse that I was on my period, I was using the cup, etc. She said she would note my chart and if I was under for more than 8 hours they would remove it for me.

I thanked her and didn’t know anything else for a long time. I came to in the recovery room. I have a post waiting to be written about the recovery room, but let’s just say this: It is the last place I would feel okay for several days. And I wanted to make it last. I spent two hours in there.

But, finally, they had to take me to my room. When I got to my room, my mother and A were anxiously waiting for me. What I didn’t realize was that my surgery had taken 18 hours. Plus 2 hours in recovery. They hadn’t seen me in over 20 hours. They were frazzled. But to me, it was around two hours. That surgery time is lost forever.

However, while they felt fine. Maybe tired and anxious. I wanted to die. I am not joking when I say this. For the 24-48 hours after every single one of my surgeries, I seriously wish I had died during it. It is the most miserable and in pain I have ever been in my life.

After this type of surgery, you are not allowed to move the lower half of your body, at all, for 24 hours. Not even to shift positions to get more comfortable. Whatever position the nurses put you in on your hospital bed is how you stay for the duration. And obviously, you aren’t getting up to urinate. Bed pans all the way. In fact, you can’t even wipe yourself.

This particular surgery is when we found out that not only does morphine do absolutely nothing for my pain, it makes me extremely nauseated. But they couldn’t give me something for my nausea in case I vomited it back up. And they couldn’t give me something for my pain in case I overdosed on morphine plus a second pain-killer.

Also, they apparently thought only drug addicts are immune to morphine. Not so!

Cue 5 hours of intense agony and bawling pain. And a healthy dose of abject, helpless nausea. Finally, when it turned out I wasn’t going to vomit (5 hours later) they gave me something for my nausea.

I was feeling a little better and the pain wasn’t consuming my every thought. I finally thought to ask the nurse where my Diva Cup was. I didn’t feel like I was using a pad, but honestly, I might not have noticed.

The nurses checked my chart and found that the head nurse (despite saying she would) had left no notes. The searched the operating room, nothing. They searched the gurney I had been wheeled in on, nothing. They searched the room, nothing.

There was only one place left to search. My vagina.

The nurse came in and sent my mother and A out. She lifted the sheets and my gown and started probing around in my vagina. It was in there.

I was starting to freak out. For those of you bad at math, this was only supposed to be in for 8 hours tops and we were going on 26. Not to mention the fact that I was on blood thinners and the blood wasn’t going anywhere.

She reached in and tried to pull it out. But she couldn’t figure out how it worked. I tried to explain that you had to fold in the wall to break the seal, but she couldn’t get it. After a few minutes of fumbling around in my vagina, she called in backup.

A second nurse came in and they turned on the brightest overhead light ever. It was like an old timey police interrogation and my vagina was the suspect. They pulled good cop, bad cop on my vagina. But their efforts were a waste of time.

Where were you on the night of December 11, 2010?

They were just tugging on it, trying to yank it out. Not only was I in agony, but it felt like they were jerking on my entrails.

This is something I have done to myself millions of times, but I couldn’t move to get to it without opening my wounds. It was a serious issue because I had lost a lot of blood during the procedure. I had already heard mention of a blood transfusion.

They covered me up and called in my mother and A. They explained the situation and I explained how to get the fucking thing out for the third time. My mother rolled up her sleeves and offered to give it the old college try.

My mother has long fingernails. She reached up there and began probing around. I stared up into the light. Wishing myself into unconsciousness. Or at least hoping to blind myself so that I would never have to make eye contact with her ever again. But she also failed.

Finally, A stepped in. He is a very large guy with big lumberjack hands. He did a few quick warm up stretches and dove in like a pro. At this point, I was beyond pain, beyond embarrassment, beyond any sense of shame. This was the fourth person that had put their hand in my vagina in the past 30 minutes.

He finally realized what the problem was. For all the genius of the Diva Cup, they were meant to be removed while sitting or squatting, not lying down. My pelvic bone was blocking it’s passage. But he was determined to succeed.

He thrust and parried, trying to vanquish this worthy foe that had defeated so many others. Finally, with one great lunge, the cup was pulled out. It was like the demolition of a dam. Everything was now soaked with blood.

Brace yourselves!

They cleaned me up and changed my sheets through a long and arduous process. I was free.

And that is how, less than two days after their initial meeting, my mother and ex boyfriend both fingered me while in the same room together, at the same time.

Menstruation

Growing up, I was given to understand that the terrible experience of menstruating was to happen once a month for most of my adult life. It sounded like a pretty shitty deal to me, but whatevs, being a woman sucked sometimes. Or most of the time.

 

In my naive youth I had thought I was only going to get my period for one day every month. It still sucked. But I could deal with it for 1/30 of my life.

 

My parents never talked to me about it. Not surprisingly considering the sex talk I got. Not one of my four older sisters talked to me about it either. Also not surprising considering how much older they were than me and that we all kind of hated each other.

 

I didn’t get my period until I was 14. The same year my little sister got hers. I was seriously underweight and that probably delayed it. Also, I was pretty sure I had been delaying it through sheer force of will which was the same reason I never had a pregnancy scare before the procedure (at least in my mind). I may be overestimating my will here.

But seriously, I am all ‘mind over vagina’ over here.

I was wholly unprepared for the immense shame I would feel in getting my period. It didn’t matter that I rationally knew every woman menstruated. It didn’t matter that I logically knew I had done nothing wrong. It was gross. And bad, somehow.

 

I didn’t tell anyone for the first few months. I threw away my ruined underwear when it caught me off guard. Which happened very frequently at that age. I used up the feminine products my sister had left when she moved out. Then used the little money I had to buy my own. Then just used toilet paper for one awful month.

Also, we were poor. So it was this bullshit.

One day my parents were in my room. I don’t know why. But they went through my closet and found a bag of used feminine products. I would keep them in my closet until it was over and then sneak them down to the trash can outside. The perfect crime.

 

I was found out. My mother sat me down and tried to have the menstruating talk with me. I wanted to die. If it was possible to die from shame and humiliation I would have right then. I was nauseated by my shame. My face was burning, my heart was pounding. I just wanted to say whatever needed to be said to end the conversation. I couldn’t even hear her over the sound of my heart beating and the blood rushing to my face and neck. She could have literally said anything to me.

 

Besides,  I had already been menstruating for months and months by this point. She had nothing useful to tell me. Except that it would hurt and that I wasn’t allowed to wear tampons till I was 18. (I have no fucking clue why).

 

The thing was, it didn’t hurt. I was so thin that I hardly ever even got my period for many years. And even when I did, it was short and painless.

 

Little did I know, it was biding it’s time. Because I believe my period is sentient. And it hates me.

 

I know there is supposed to be a 28 day cycle. Bullshit. My cycle is: when do you have something important planned? Good. That day.

 

Going to a party? Have a date when I finally decide to sleep with that dude? Going out of town? Getting hijacked by pirates? Having heart surgery? I’ll be on my period for that.

 

Think I am exaggerating? I’ve had 5 heart surgeries. I was on my period for 4 of them. That is not a coincidence. I’m sure I will even be on it during my honeymoon (if I ever have one). Or if I am ever hijacked by pirates.

 

Once, during my heart surgery phase, I went up to see my mother. I was on blood thinners at the time. Yes, they do thin all your blood.

 

I was already having issues with my blood. I wasn’t building red blood cells properly. I was bordering on anemia. I kept losing so much during my surgeries. And I was a vegetarian.

 

I had planned to get my period up at my mother’s (which I did, thank you). By this time I was using the Diva Cup. Which is really going to be a wonderful story for another post coming soon.

 

Diva cups are awesome. I can’t recommend them enough. Blah blah blah. Read about them here. (And no, they aren’t paying me for that glowing endorsement, but they should. Maybe by the next period story).

This little guy.

But being on blood thinners meant I needed two lines of defense against the enemy. The cup and the pad.

 

My mother and I went out for a day of shopping. We went to one store and I “refreshed my defenses”. Then we drove to the next store. It was about a 15 minute trip.

 

As soon as I got out of my mother’s car, I suspected something was wrong. You know how you just get a sinking feeling in your stomach and just know? Like when you let your best friend cut your hair in sixth grade and even though you hadn’t looked in a mirror or seen the look on her face, you knew something was wrong. It was like that.

 

I walked straight to the bathroom. Dreading each step that brought me closer to my doom. Hoping I wasn’t going to find what I thought I was going to find.

 

In the bathroom, I pulled my pants down and saw it. The horror. I had bled through. Everything. It was like the final scene in Carrie. (Shoutout to Stephen King!)

Pretty much my exact face.

I took my pants off and then my underwear. I didn’t know what to do. I rinsed my pants off in the sink. They were beyond hope, but I had to wear them out of the store. Thank god there was a handicapped stall with a sink or the other shoppers would have gotten quite a show.

 

I threw my underwear away right then. They were too wrecked to even put back on. I didn’t want to put my pants on, but I had little choice.

 

Have you ever gone to the bathroom while wearing a wet bathing suit? Not in the suit, but in a bathroom? And then you have to pull this cold wet thing back on you. And it feels so gross and clingy. I hate the way that feels. And as you already know, I hate not wearing underwear.

 

I found my mother in the store. She looked at me horrified. “What happened in there? How did you get soaking wet?”

 

And I for a brief second, I felt that burning shame from all those years ago. My face began to flush and my heart rate increased. And then I thought, fuck it. So many worse things had happened to me by that point. This was nothing. This was fucking hilarious. I explained to her what happened and we laughed.

 

We ended up walking down the strip mall to a Bed Bath and Beyond to buy the darkest towel possible so I would have something to sit on for the drive home.

 

Everytime I use it, I think of this story and laugh a little to myself. Even more so when someone else uses it. So if you ever come over, now you’ll know why I have that one brown towel.