It is not drug testing, but I have to pee in a cup

Every time.  This little strainer thingie.  Just how many hands do they think I have?  And not that my weak bladder gives me much help.  It wants to just let go when it gets in the vicinity of a toilet.  much less wait for the disrobing, squatting, and straining.  This is one process that needs some serious design re-engineering.  

I have had a repeat of Wednesday post hospital discharge, probably only because I was stupid and thought I would wait to take meds until I “needed” them.  This is one crazy condition – the pain comes on suddenly, but it can be hours or days between attacks.  So either you just drug yourself up “just in case” and are blotto and nonfunctional and banned from driving, or you claim your functionality for awhile until the pain kicks you again, and then you writhe for awhile, until the meds take effect.  I had entertained illusions or delusions that I would return to campus either on Thursday or Friday.  Thursday was out, as i didn’t want to subject the same group of students to another episode of drama.  It turns out to have been a wise decision.  Thursday was not a good day.  FRiday might have been possible if the class had been later in the day.  I had forgotten to inoculate myself with my usual doses of caffiene WEd or Thurs.  Who needs caffeine when you have Dilaudid and Vicodin? This AM I woke up with a banger of a caffeine withdrawal headache.  And since I have been struggling with motivational issues, i thought ” what the heck” just scratch off the whole day.   Perhaps I am trying on the role of the flaky slacker the Dean makes me out to be, which has never been true.  Perhaps I am finally looking beyond the kneehigh horizon of DTCC.  

I am peeing in this little cup with a sieve in the bottom.  Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. and perhaps many tomorrows to come.  I have recovered a little crumblet of something, but I find it hard to believe that this is a kidney stone.  “Stone” signifies something much more substantial.  And I do confess, there has been more than a bit of urinary output that has not passed through the strainer.  And NO WAY is this gadget coming to work with me.  


I have noticed I have been hugely delinquent in blogging this academic year.  There is probably some cogent analysis that can be made of this.  However, I think I will decline the task.

I am now among those who can claim to have experienced kidney stones.  I wonder if someone will invent a little app that computes how many parts of your body has had ailments, like those maps of all the places you have been.  I added a new item to my list.  On Wednesday AM I awoke with a kind of burning pain on my left side.  Didn’t think much of it, as I have had a similar sensation for decades on the right side, which has been identified as a colon spasm, which is activated by anxiety.  As I have had cartloads of anxiety to deal with recently, I didn’t think much of the pain.  I thought “Gee the spasm has just switched side.  I drove on to school, I arrived at my 8:30 classroom, got the door unlocked by public safety, and logged in on the computer.  While waiting for my obese profile to load, I got out some routine paperwork.  BAM.  I felt like I had been kicked by a mule.  I then thought “Gee what WAS it that I ate last night?”  I made my way out of class to the restroom.

Now I would like to pose the question:  how many people take their cell phones with them to sit on the toilet?  I will note that until I got the iPhone, I was not one of them.  as a matter of fact, during class the cell phone is usually consigned to the handbag which is consigned to some relatively secure spot.  

I sat on the toilet in the restroom (sans phone) and this ‘gas attack’ was phenomenally stationary and intense.  It became so intense that it triggered a hot/cold sweat.  I was there hanging onto the grab bars in the stall to prop myself up.  It went on. and on.  After over a quarter of an hour had passed, I began to worry.   I had been gone from class for quite awhile.  There were no women in my class.  On Wednesday mornings, our secretary is out of office taking a class of her own.  There was no one else in our office area either.   The thought passed through my head “I could just die in here and no one would find me”.    Then I really began to worry.  not that I would die, but if my students came looking for me, the only place that they could go to ask what happened would be the dean’s office.  Unfortunately, I believe the dean would immediately believe the worst of me, before getting any facts, and would assume I was flaking off somewhere.    I realized, “Not only am I going to die in here, but I will be written up for dying in the Ladies toilet to boot and not delivering instruction on schedule”.  

whether the gallows humor of that thought revived me, or it was just the natural nature of the ailment, all of a sudden I felt immensely better.  “Gee I’m glad that’s over” I thought and made my way out of the toilet, down the hallway, toward my classroom.  If the first onset of pain felt like a mule kick, the second one was like being between a crash dummy and the dashboard in midcollision.  I collapsed on the sofa next to the HR office and stopped thinking about the class, the dean, my students, anything except the immediate present and how to ride out the wave of pain.  I commenced deep breathing relaxation exercises that improve my migraines, but I had a hard time relaxing … duh.  The sweats came back.  It was pure hell.   A colleague walking down the hall asked me “Linda, are you all right?”  to which I croaked “no”.   This lady is foreverafter to be known as my guardian angel as she just took care of everything.   She had HR call my husband.  When the third level of agony commenced (equivalent to obstructing the Space Shuttle during takeoff), compleat with involuntary vomiting and kicking the wall, it was decided that i was to go to hospital.  And as It was impossible for me to walk, the ambulance was summoned.  

I have had many moments of wonderment about this current group of students, and in retrospect I find it a little amazing that they waited over an hour before trying to figure out what the heck was going on, as I had yet to make a reappearance in the classroom.   One student came out to try to find me just in time to find Public Safety officers, my spouse, my guardian angel, paramedics all right outside the classroom, and me, moaning and vomiting into a waste receptacle.  It was quite a dramatic moment.  Equally dramatic was the exit atop the ambulance gurney, my face buried in the trash can liner as it seems the paramedics did not come equipped with a vomitorium.  or an equivalent.

I went to the closest hospital, not the one I usually go to.  It was a choice between 3 minutes versus 20 minutes travel.  I am going to append my commentary on how to get attention in emergency room admissions.  I have discovered that continuous projectile vomiting with sweats and trembling is as nearly effective as being covered in blood.  I sailed through triage and even before they found me a cubicle, I had been administered a healthy dose of Dilaudid.   Now that is one serious drug.  If that is what heroin or coke is like, well then I might see now a a wee bit more of why someone might be motivated to want to use it.  
Wikipedia says “a drug with higher lipid solubility and ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore more rapid and complete central nervous system penetration, with the result that hydromorphone is somewhat faster-acting and about eight times stronger than morphine and about three times stronger than heroin on a milligramme basis. ”   

If I closed my eyes I saw a brilliant halluncinatory world as vivid as the one I saw when I opened them.  I wasn’t exactly within the realm of a stately pleasure dome a la Coleridge, but it was a singular experience. Nine hours later, I had been diagnosed with a kidney stone [CAT scan], and sent home with Vicodin, antinausea meds, and a sieve.     

Magical Time

I went to NY Goofs Winter intensive.  It was sorta a rerun of Clown School only in fast forward…. psychologically and emotionally.  It was a Friday nite, and Saturday, Sunday affair.  Friday nite after the session, I went back to the B&B and went through the emotional loop I experienced at Clown School.  
“I want to do well”  “I want Dick Monday to think I do well”  “I want Jeff Gordoon to think I do well” and so on and so forth so much so that I was all wrapped up in self consciousness and anxiety to do well at all.  

I unplugged that loop of roof brain chatter in time to be able to be more open and receptive on Saturday.  I was able to work again with Dr. Molar Magic and I met some interesting new people too.  On Sunday in the middle of afternoon, Tiffany came back with a crew of some of the “most famous” in the clown world, and had the comment  “Look who I found skulking around Times Square”.  So not only was I working with Monday and Gordoon, but Christensen, Lubin and a few others were added to the mix.  I had the opportunity to suck in front of a whos who of clowns.  however ….. 

something wonderful happened for me. On sunday I had been doing much better than ever.  Nothing like a session of Slo-Mo pantomime fighting to just relax and break down psychological barriers.  Later we had been doing the hitchiker duo setup – where one person is driving, and picks up the other.  the “passenger” brings a mood, and the driver just has to go there!  I was beginning to find that place where improv can be allowed to happen.  Then we were doing the Caveman-Discover premise in which you work in a trio and are given the task of discovering something.   We were tasked with discovering “dancing”.   I was working with Dr. Molar (Bruce) and a well know hospital clown. The hospital clown was in the auguste role, and knew how to use it to help us other stumbler and fumblers out.  I fell into the contra-auguste role, and Bruce was the White clown role.   I had a breakthrough, and finally (FINALLY) found the rhythm of working with others …. relaxing and letting the flow …. flow.   I finally was not STiFF.  We played it out, and we had all those “famous’ clowns laughing.  

And Monday did notice that I had made a breakthrough.  The funny thing was, as I was getting ready to leave, I knew myself that I had done well, and the fact that he also noticed that I had was only gravy.  It probably is not possible for me to convey how significant this weekend was for me in my vision of myself, and my confidence for the future plans.

Mardi Gras 2008

After days of work on the froufrou for the ambiance, ViviAnn went to Mardi-Gras.  Not sure if I think this outfit works well as pure clown.  It worked well for Mardi Gras, as it is more a “person” in a costume as a clown in a mask, than a pure clown character.  Viviann at Mardi Gras 2008
Too many folks want to relate to me as “myself” at this event, which in the end left me a little deflated.  I don’t think I really had fun, either as myself or as a clown.  Certainly the clown didn’t get to clown a lot in a big way.  I had more freedome to clown when I was a more “pure” clown in appearance.  It is the hair I think – need more clowny and less natural looking hair.