From Abby: The Pee Chronicles.
I'm en route to Los Angeles for the BlogWorldExpo conference, where I'll be speaking on a panel about what companies can do to support patient needs. While I'm flying the friendly skies, Abby has offered to share a few stories today, starting with the one about ... pee? Abby went in for routine labwork and learned a little bit about "that diabetes smell." Read on and you'll see what I mean ...
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Last week, I went in for my yearly lab work. You know, that visit where the little old lady asks which arm you'd like to use, and when you show her your pathetic excuse for veins in your left arm, she proceeds to stab some steel into your scarred up right arm where the only vein in your body lives? Yeah that one.
That visit where you have to drink 48 bottles of water beforehand because she's going to take out 18 gallons of blood to make sure every little thing in your body is still functioning properly, with the exception of that silly pancreas.
I suppose I should back up a little, and tell you about the part where when I walked into the lab (which is a floor down from my endo's office) the little lab lady was coming out of the bathroom in a hurry. I didn't ask questions, but this is important for the rest of the story.
After the antecubital puncture [Editor's note: Only Abby the RN would bust out a word like that one in a blog post], the little-lab-lady hands me a cup and says, "Here, please fill this. The bathroom is down the hall on your right." First, okay great - love peeing in a cup. Secondly, been in that bathroom plenty of time, but thank you none-the-less. I wander down the hall, ready to prove my kidneys are just fine, and walk into the bathroom.
I won't go into detail here, but the smell of that room made me almost pass out ... and that's saying something since I'm a nurse and I've worked in an advanced Alzheimer's wing of a nursing home. Thanks to 13-years of diabetes and a history of peeing-in-the-cup, I finished this task in record time and high-tailed my way out of that tiny smelly room.
So here's the point of the story ...
When I handed my perfectly filled cup wrapped in paper towels (pee is gross to look at) to the little-lab-lady, she said to me, "Does the bathroom still smell terrible?"
"Yeah, it's pretty bad," I replied.
"Sorry about that. There was a man in there before you from the hearing center. A diabetic ... you know how that smells. I've been trying to clean it up but that smell lingers."
Dumbfounded look on my face with absolutely no words, I replied.
All I could come up with to say at this point was, "Um, well, am I done here?" and I walked out.
And from now on I will always be self-conscious about how my pee smells - with or without asparagus.
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Do I even want to let my mind wander on this one? Abby, what does "that smell" smell like, and once you tell me, will I be able to un-hear it? Also, did this lady know you were a PWD? ;)