Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mental scarring, teleporting doctors and a two litre bottle of urine

I have a bone to pick with the medical profession. (Yes I know I seem to have a bone to pick with just about everyone and everything. I am the Queen of the Bone Pickers).

Why is it that, in this age of organ transplants, micro-surgery and robotic prosthetic limbs, we can’t design a pathology specimen bag that’s not transparent?

During the week I had to provide some blood and urine for the betterment of mankind analysis. In the process I met Melinda the gorgeous, efficient and hilarious pathology nurse. She took the blood in a flash with little pain and NO BRUISING. Thanks Melinda, you are the Queen of Vampire Nurses. She’s also a good sort who likes a chat and a laugh.

Next was the urine sample. Along came the plastic cup, saline wipes, and of course the pointlessly embarrassing transparent plastic zip lock specimen bag. Deep sigh.

Off I trotted to the bathroom. Said specimen was collected without fuss. I’ve done this so many times that I am the Queen of the Mid-Stream Urine Sample.

This is not the real sample.
I did not take a urine-sample-selfie.
Does this mean I'm not a real blogger?
image by voodoostock -

Naturally, the moment I stepped out of the toilet, the universe teleported a male doctor right in front of me.

There I was, a 44 year old, overweight, scruffily-dressed woman, holding my still-warm jar of wee, displayed for maximum visibility and effect in the PLASTIC BAG OF SHAME transparent plastic zip lock specimen bag. The doctor smiled at me, started to say hello, glanced at the bag, and swiftly disappeared. I can only assume that he was struck dumb by embarrassment the sheer weight of my sex appeal.

I handed my sample back to Melinda. I asked her why, the moment a woman steps out of the bathroom holding a jar of still-warm bodily fluid an embarrassing personal sample in a ZIPLOCK BAG OF HORROR thoughtfully transparent bag, someone of the opposite sex suddenly appears in front of them. Why does the universe insist on taking the indignity of the experience to a whole fresh level of humiliation?

I told her about the repeated Mondays that I had to carry a TWO LITRE BOTTLE OF WEE to the hospital on the crowded peak hour tram, desperately trying to hide it. Apple juice. I really, really like apple juice.

Then Melinda told me this story, and I felt a whole lot better:

“I had to have some samples taken. I had to have a needle inserted into my uterus. It was incredibly painful and difficult and in the end they gave up, and washed saline up there instead. This was collected in a jar and popped into a BAG OF HUMILIATION transparent, plastic zip lock specimen bag. On the outside of the bag was written, in big, clear black Sharpie:


So there I was, at the hospital, in the lift, exhausted, sweaty, in pain, carrying my trusty pathology sample.

Naturally, the HOTTEST DOCTOR IN THE WORLD got into the lift, and, flustered, I immediately dropped my sample. As you do.

Oh no, I thought, please don’t pick up the bag, please don’t pick up the bag…

He smiled and picked up the bag.

Please don’t read the bag, please don’t read the bag…

“Here you go Melinda”, he said, “Here are your… (reading the bag)… endometrial washings”.

That lift ride was more mentally scarring that having the damn washings collected in the first place.”

So what can we learn from Melinda’s story?
  • That men have no idea how lucky they are. Any men reading this are probably wondering what the hell endometrial washings are. Google it, I dare you.
  • That even in the world of medical miracles, nobody has yet worked out that you can make an opaque specimen bag. Really. Someone really needs to get onto that.
  • That the universe has a bastard sense of humour.

So the next time I’m walking along with a random body fluid sample in public, I won’t feel so bad, because at least it isn’t endometrial washings.*

* Unless it IS endometrial washings, in which case I’ll remember that, in Melinda’s words, it could be worse, it could be poo.**

** Unless it IS poo, in which case I’ll just DIE. And then blog about it.  

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment involving a pathology specimen?


  1. Many years ago I lived on an island.I went to the one and only local Doctor,who was getting on in years,and was asked to give a urine sample to test if I was pregnant.That was ok till he came back into his office with...a bowl and I had to pee in it there and then!
    Never felt more embarrassed or more shocked.xx

    1. Oh Deb I would have been MORTIFIED! Never get away with that now... xxx

  2. Murphy's Law that you run into cuties when lugging about embarrassing stuff! Though at least those in the medical profession should be relatively zen about it!

    I had to carry a huge container of urine to my local pathology lab one day after 'capturing' a day's supply. It didn't seem that weird when they gave it to me - big plastic jerry can, funnel and funny looking plastic hat - fortunately ensconced in shopping bag. (BTW: Of course the 'hat' sat inside the toilet bowl to capture pee to then funnel into container.)

    Unfortunately I pee a lot so had filled the container before the 24hrs were up and had to rush to the pathology lab first thing the next day when I wanted to go to the loo.... so I lugged the now-full jerry can etc in the open shopping bag and had a pass a queue of people waiting for the bus and I had no way to cover the top of the bag. Rather I swung it about a bit so they didn't get a clear look at what was in there. (Though going into the pathology lab meant that it was probably a bit obvious!)

    I was gonna say men get it easy but guess they 'could' have to lug little vials of semen about. Maybe.

    1. Oh you had a hat? I just had to pee into a bowl and then funnel it into the bottle.

      Let then carry 2 ltr bottles of semen about and then see how they feel LOL

      Nice to see I'm not alone!!! xx

  3. OMG! I'm sitting here trying to laugh quietly so I don't wake up my daughter who is finally asleep and I must sound like a hyena with a sore throat. How freakin hilarious. Poor Melinda. I learnt while pregnant that the bigger the handbag the better coz then you can hide the sample jar in it's transparent bag until the very last minute that you have to hand it over. Which is of course when the hot guy there for his blood to be taken walks in!

    1. I like the way you think!!!! Handbags while pregnant also needed to hold digestive biscuits, water bottle and barf bag... xxx

  4. That is funny. But speaking of poo when we were emigrating to NZ we had to have a big medical check up and my hubby told me I had to take a poo sample which I did. When I presented it to the Dr. she looked puzzled and said:

    "What's that?" Where upon I had to explain then she explained that I had been pranked.

    I have always been gullible and my husband has always been mean!