Maybe I am dying. It’s hard to guage reality vs. what is fantastical when you’r e a bit of a hypochondriac. I waited over a week for my urine culture to come back. Finally, I called and they said it looked like I had a UTI. This is when I inform the nurse I took the full course of antibiotics and still had kidney pain. I asked what sort of bacteria grew and maybe they could match an antibiotic to it. “I’ ll have to ask the PA,” she said, never to be heard from again.
A few days later, I get a call from a radiologist. The bastards at my doctor’s office referred me without saying a blessed thing. I don’t know what specifically they suspect, or if it’s in an abundance of caution. Do they think I’m riddled with cancer or my kidneys are failing? Luckily, my friend is coming with me and I’m going to take enough Ativan to numb me into a stupor. She can ask questions I’m too afraid to ask.
If I had to guess a reason for my problem though, I think I caught Monster E-Coli on New Year’s Eve…
New Year’s Eve, an apt time for bad things to occur. Unlike last year, battling the caprices of my best friend’s mood, this New Year’s was to be my own. I perused the after Christmas sales at Walgreens and Dollar General, and hit my friendly neighborhood ABC Store.
To those of you unaccustomed to living in one of the more God-fearing states of the union, the ABC Store is a state owned monopoly selling spirits. Alcoholic fascism is the southern American way.
I relish my twice a year trips to the ABC Store. I am in forbidden territory. We hope my mother if she watches me from above, averts her eye as I walk about the store fascinated by brands, flavors, price points. I almost relish defying my dead mother, in the occasional homage to my equally dead drunk father.
There were 3 things my mother drilled into my head:
Sex causes unwanted pregnancy, venereal disease, and a broken heart. Better to remain a virgin for life.
Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t go anywhere alone at night. You will be raped and/or murdered.
Don’t drink. You’ll wind up like your father once the liquid first passes your lips.
You think I exaggerate. Not much. Of these 3 things, the only one I’ve managed to not do yet is the first one. Walking alone at night sometimes is necessary and alcohol is a panacea for holidays.
I left the ABC with a bottle of orange vodka, alcoholic eggnog, and a 4 of those 50 oz. bottles. I went to McDonald’s to indulge in my other vice, overeating. They have the absolute worst service of any McDonald’s in town. After waiting literally 20 minutes for my food, it was going to be too late to take the bus home. Oh well.
As I was finishing up eating, I heard fire trucks . “There’s a fire somewhere down the street, ” said a customer. I hurried outside to make sure it wasn’t near my apartment complex. I could see clearly in my head the fire that tore through a building behind mine back in July, and I had thought then it would spread to my apartment. It hadn’ t, but I was still traumatized.
This fire mercifully wasn’t near my complex. It was across the street from the ABC store and behind a used car lot in some woods. I couldn’t see much, but there was a horrible plastic burning odor. A few days later, I found out a drunk homeless man had somehow managed to accidentally light himself on fire using his kerosene heater. I hope he didn’t suffer long.
I start walking home. It’s not horribly cold and I’m coming down from a full fledged panic attack. My heart raced and I had feared I would vomit while looking for the fire. Only now was I beginning to calm down as I walk home down another street…and then suddenly it hit, the overwhelming urge to shit. This area is virtually deserted at this time of the night, around 9:30, as it is just doctors’ offices.
I can make it, I keep telling myself, even praying. Oh shit, I can’t.
I leave my little shopping cart in the parking lot of a psychologist’s office, hurry toward the back fumbling in the dark. I pull my pants down, lean slightly against the building, and contort myself into an unnatural but necessary position. All the while, I keep fearing someone will attack me. Once more, I fumble in the dark, breaking off small leaves from nearby bushes to tend to myself. I feel overwhelming relief when I stumble back to the parking lot without someone jumping out at me.
And that’s how I think I got a monster UTI. Maybe it’s not cancer or kidney failure, but ever the optimist, I’m sure I’m dying.