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Breath & Shadow

Fall 2016 - Vol. 13, Issue 4

"My Cup Runneth Over-Not"

written by


Occasionally, I check out the selection of vessels at a drugstore for one large enough to collect and transport radioactive waste. Recycled Styrofoam cups or hot tea containers from McDonalds can be used, though a child proof drinking cup with a smooth lip works better to prevent spillage when peeing in a cup. I began the procedure as one solution for the obstacle course of my life. At a house I once lived in, my wheelchair didn’t fit through the door of the bathroom, so I peed in a cup and poured the liquid into a larger jug for transport. Periodically, I’d transfer onto my scooter which could go through the door, drive into the bathroom, and flush. Wearing a flannel night gown in the cold of winter allows me to sit at the edge of my wheelchair and relieve myself in a container. I inform concerned visitors who are thankful the cup doesn’t store in the cupboard. In Hawaii, I refrained from wearing underwear with my simple smocks, so I didn’t have to raise and lower myself so much. With limited energy and mobility, how many times I lift up and down is crucial. When I do stand up in transferring to the toilet in the bathroom, it can be an opportunity to elongate my body as a balance and leg strengthening exercise. Though dogs lift their legs in unscrupulous places, I practice this out of the public eye and then water vegetation that flourish on the elixir. Many a thirsty plant has been uplifted with the high powered metabolic urea fertilizer, while a band of this liquid excretion is known to keep deer out of a garden. With the amount of time spent irrigating thus, I could protect a good-sized plot from intruders. Whether parked in a handicapped spot, or stopped on the side of the interstate, my car door serves as a visual block if nature calls while out in the world. Quick as lightening, I grab my beaker from the cup holder, stand up while leaning against the seat of the car, lift a small section of dress, and whiz. Angling the container, there is never any dribble and the task is achieved cleanly and effortlessly. A small sprayer bottle filled with a mixture of water, soap and essential oil disinfects the vessel. In a restroom not handicap-equipped with bars to hold onto or a seat that is steady, a plastic coconut oil container services my need. What a balancing act I do when I need to take a leak when lying in the back of my car which has no rear seats. I’ll leave that one for your imagination. I always pee in a cup before walking with my walker or previously two sticks, since vertical movement stimulates bladder activity. One day, I opened the back door of my Honda CRV for privacy while parked in front of the busy Kilauea Post Office on Kauai. Leaning on the front seat with feet on the ground and right hand concealed under my dress, a man who had just retrieved his mail walked over and asked, “Do you need any help?” For a second my heart skipped a beat. “Yes, please,” I replied, while reaching across to the box key on the dashboard. The gentleman took it from my left hand while my right hand remained holding the cup under my dress. He didn’t even notice. Back when a walker supported me, I spent long hours in the segregated window box of a chiropractor’s office waiting for appointments. With no one around, quick as a flash I did the dirty deed and poured the potion down the center of a sink drain. Much to my surprise, one day the office manager approached me with a grin and a urinal. “I brought you a gift.” Though unsuitable for my purposes, from then on, I emptied my pee cup into a larger container until an employee had time to deposit it in the toilet down the hall. The idea of a catheter and a bag on my leg always sent shivers down my spine until I discovered I could pee in a cup. With the limited scope people see, it works for me to be out in the world and pee in a cup, and if they do watch, so what?

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