Its happened to us all; at least from the stories I’ve heard, but this is my story. So sit back and drink a tall cup of water while listening to the glorious sounds of water trickling down that little zen fountain . . .
It was a particularly warm day, even for a Southern California winter. The temperature in the High Desert was an astounding seventy-five degrees, which made me quite parched. I proceeded to drink two glasses of my alkaline water before hitting Baja Fresh for a taco and more water before trekking down to Los Angeles. I ensured I had emptied my bladder before the trip, as having three kids has destroyed any competency to be able to hold more than a Dixie Cup full of liquid.
The drive to L.A. was rather nice. Great music played on the radio, the temperature continued to rise to a staggering eighty-four degrees–mid-February mind you. When I arrived at my daughter’s school I proceeded to use the bathroom again: a safety measure more than actually having to go. Once we were all set and ready to go, I felt confident that we would make it home without incident.
What I didn’t plan for was heavy traffic on–what I forgot–was a four day weekend and Valentine’s Day friday. It seemed every few miles there was a broken down car, vehicle accident, or unexplained jam up. The CHP was in full force, and all I could think was, “thank God, I went to the bathroom before getting on this mess.”
One hour later, and not much closer to home, my belly began to fill full. Damn! I knew the feeling and knew it wasn’t good. I began to drive a bit more defensively and maneuver around traffic. This didn’t help with progression, but I was still okay so long as traffic eventually opened up. There was a light coming into view: my transition freeway was just up ahead and meant only thirty minutes to home. I was excited since my belly was now bulging over my low rise pants and a sharp pain was stinging at my side.
Of course, life isn’t always fair. A motorcycle accident occurred and slowed the on ramp. My phone rang with my oldest son scolding me for being late, as he had to get to school. Deja vu! I yelled back, a quick reflex from the urine burning in my bladder. I had no tolerance as sweat began to bead on my forehead. There was an exit up ahead, but I couldn’t get over in time to make it. The next exit was blocked with yet another accident, and I gazed up the long stretch of highway that split straight up the San Bernardino Forrest. I was in for the long haul.
We inched our way up, and noted it was three hours passed the time I originally realized I had to pee. Urine began to bead on my brow as sweat. It was now looking for any avenue out of my system, and my heart began to race at the prospect of having to pee in my pants. My eyes searched the van for anything that would afford me the opportunity to pee in, but all I found was a small bowl from the Baskin Robbins and a water bottle. I knew I wouldn’t hit the small targeted opening of the water bottle, and the small bowl wasn’t going to cut it either. I figured I could pee in the bowl, stop mid pee, and then empty the contents into the water bottle, and rinse and repeat, but I passed at the thought,knowing home was only fifteen minutes away–in theory.
Another accident! I made some evasive move and swerved around the cruel vehicles, all the while noting the look on the woman’s face as she exited her vehicle; looked like she had to pee too!
Finally! I made it out of the dreaded snail race only to hit a stop sign. For real? When did that stop sign get there? I got passed that and hit my second stop sign, and I recall feeling like my body was ready to shrivel up and go fetal. The pain in my side soon felt like a thousand double serrated daggers were digging into my flanks, while some alien being was reaching into my bladder and filling it with more fluid; a torturous burning, acidic fluid!
Next came the train tracks and the warning to slow to 35 MPH. But my brain was starting to turn on me, and before hitting the tracks I saw a fluffy jackalope taunting me. There was no slowing down! I hit the gas and yelled for the kid to hold on tight as the van put the General Lee to shame in its plight to reach new launching heights. The landing was rough and caused the fluid in my belly to press harder into its full line sensors.
Another stop sign! Is that three? Was that there? Oh my God! Is that a detour? I was detoured and trying to see passed the yellow fluid that had now risen to my eyeballs caused me to turn into the wrong lane. Some smart guy had moved the detour sign to point into oncoming traffic but I had to pee so a game of chicken ensued until I was able to get back into my lane through the cone. I looked in my rearview mirror to see others had also made the wrong turn. All the while, outside my driver’s side window the jackalope continued to taunt me.
Stop sign number four came and I felt a California roll was in order. I prayed there was no cop, knowing peeing in my pants would either get me put in jail or placed on a psychiatric hold. Petal to the metal, I hit the last stop sign and came to a complete stop, knowing home was only feet away. I made the left and California drifted a VW Routtan family van onto my small cul-de-sac while yelling at my daughter, “when the doors open, you run out. You run like the wind because mamma has to pee and she isn’t waiting for stragglers.”
Sure enough, we skid into the driveway, and I hit park, shut off engine, and her sliding door all at once. I yelled, “Go! Go! Go! This isn’t a drill. We are at defcon Yellow!” Of course she fell behind, conveniently distracted by some cuddly cute domestic. And I ran through the door, legs crossed the entire way, holding my nether regions like some Michael Jackson music video, bypassing hugs and hellos, straight to the sweet bladder salvation of the toilet. Except, by that point, I had to go so bad that my bladder quit on me and decided to punish me by holding out–or holding in. I cried a little. Then the strain and spasms of peeing came forth and my tears flowed just a little easier.
“Thank you, Jesus,” escaped my lips as a micro tremor of relief coursed through each nerve. So the next time I drive down to L.A.–next Friday–I will ensure there is a large bucket in which to pee, and I will not drink anything prior to my trip–or maybe the day before. Now to find out where those domestics took my daughter to…
Tania L Ramos, RN and Author with the World’s Smallest Bladder!
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