Alicia Kwon

Peeing in a cup

In Uncategorized on March 13, 2010 at 5:47 am

Life is the process of spontaneously, and sometimes intentionally interacting with a series of unexpected situations. Whether those situations involve the unexpected joy of finding a new friend, finding yourself labeled the “outlier” of your class of interns, or discovering that your two-going-on forty daughter-year-old has an imminent need to pee, it’s what we do with these unexpected circumstances that makes life the most interesting 3-D, interactive adventure out there.  Each of the examples I’ve given are actual situations from our family’s actual life. The one about pee is the best to write about, so here goes.

Th two little ones and I are in the Whole Foods garage, in the middle of loading our box of supplements into the trunk.  I’m slightly out of my mind, trying to get over the outrage of the fact that after a purchase of over $700 worth of supplements, I was told that I couldn’t have three small chocolate bars on the house as a “Thank you.” Who says “no free chocolate bars” after you spend $700? I have had people give me free stuff just to for the heck of it, and it being Portland and all, I have to say, I was surprised. Another unexpected situation. I let the guy know I’ll be taking my business online in the future. Online retailers may not give me free chocolate, but they’ll offer deeper discounts and at least they won’t specifically NOT give me free chocolate bars — I don’t think  online vita-retailers even carry them.

Anyhow, the kids are hanging out, pretty chill while I clunk the trunk shut and then I spot it: a pee dance. Think of a cross between an Irish Step dance and a Native American tribal ritual, and then add a concerned facial expression and a little girl’s hand on her crotch. That’s the pee dance.

“Avsi, can you wait til we get inside, or is it an emergency?” I know before she answers, but I’m stalling for time, whatever time I there is to be had, for whatever it’s worth.

“It’s an emergency” she says earnestly. I look in the car with swooping mommy-on-a-mission radar and spy an old paper coffee cup. I pull down Avsi’s pink shorts and place the cup between her legs.

“Okay Sweetie, go ahead.”


“Ah. done,” she says.

I place  the fresh urine sample in the car’s cup holder, connect various buckles to secure the kids in their seats and off we go toward home.

Upon our arrival the parking garage of our apartment building, I help the kids out of their seats and pick up the pee cup to bring inside for disposal. On the way in, I notice a UPS tag on our mailbox, indicating a package. Getting packages, whether from myself or someone else hasn’t lost its charm since college. It is always nice to have something come in the mail especially for you or someone you love and to have the fun of opening it.

In order to pick up the package in this particular case, I need to find somewhere to set the urine down temporarily. It doesn’t seem appropriate to bring it in to the office, surely. So I set it on a metal ledge around the mailbox area and usher the kids into the office with a bright smile. George, one of my favorite people is working today. He’s one of those kindly older gentlmen it’s impossible not to like. Plus, he’s always liked our family too. We even had him over for my Love’s birthday last month, where he told us this great story about how he got through college while parenting six children. Yes, six. “I got this physician friend of mine to prescribe me some uppers so I could stay awake to study at night, you see. Only thing is, I could always fall asleep as soon as I close the books, so I wonder if he didn’t just give me little white sugar pills.” Occasionally physicians feel the need to get a little crafty for the sake of their patients. But where does it cross the line?

Last week, my Love was caring for a terminally ill patient who did not want to be taken off the ventilator. There had been hemming and hawing about whether she did or she didn’t, and at the end of the day, she clearly communicated that she wanted to stay on the vent. One of the attending physicians thought it might be a good idea to alter the settings on the ventilator to make her incoherent, then give her some morphine and take her off the vent. Was that physician thinking of preserving medical resources being a higher priority than respecting a patient’s last rights and wishes? Was that doctor imagining it was merciful to hasten the end of this person’s earthly life? Who knows. My Love hasn’t yet felt ready to ask this person “What were you thinking?!?” But he will, he says. In the meantime, while powers in white coats argued over her case, the patient went ahead and a died on her own terms, without being taken off the vent. Good for her, I say. If I see her in heaven, of in another life, I’ll have to be sure to tell her I said so.

But back to important things, like the outcome of that little cup of pee.

So after chatting with George for a few, I hoist up the package and herd the kids out the door. We tromp upstairs and just as we’re setting down backpacks and beginning to discuss snack options, it occurs to me that the little cup of pee is still sitting on the ledge downstairs by the mailboxes. While Gabe and Avs hold down the fort, I dash down and find, thankfully, that the cup is still sitting pretty and yellow on the ledge. No one apparently had the desperate urge for old lemonade. Like I said, thankfully.

I run upstairs with the cup (I don’t think I spilled any,) and with my two little kids gleefully watching, I pour the pee into the toilet and happily flush it down. Everything ended up where it was always meant to be, albeit through a diverted and clearly more interesting route. That’s how life seems to operate, from what I can tell.

Tomorrow my Love will have to pee in a cup and bring it downstairs, in a funny reverse of today. The life and disability insurance lady is coming and she is severely allergic to cats.  Although we don’t have a cat, we did and that’s enough, apparently, to make her sick for months. So we will be meeting this lady in the lobby.  Since I’m only applying for life insurance, she just wants my blood. My Love is applying for disability insurance (it’s actually far more common to end of disabled than dead,) and for that, you have to give urine.

Old lemonade, anyone?

  1. Your agility to creatively multi-task & to be able to write about it in a nuanced way is phenomenal!!! The way you brought back peeing in a cup from a child’s level to an adult’s level was poignant & unforgettable!!!

    WIth much love & admiration,

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