On Tuesday morning I headed straight to the medical lab with my requisition form. I had put this task off for about a week, hoping I could avoid it altogether.
No such luck.
I waited for my turn in the crowded seating area, wondering silently who the miserable sod was that chose the paint colours of this dreary place. Couldn’t they choose bright, cheerful colours? Maybe hang up some art? Anything to make it feel less like, you know, a medical lab? The mood of the room suggested I was on to something here. It was like walking into a veterinary clinic full of pooches anxiously awaiting their inevitable fate of poking and prodding. Sad faces. Tails between legs.
My turn. I handed the lab technician my form and health card and she handed me the plastic urine collection bottle with the orange lid. Seemed like a fair trade. On second thought, the lab technician took the bottle back, grabbed a red Sharpie marker and wrote my name on the label of the bottle. She then drew two red lines, one about a centimeter from the bottom of the bottle, another about two centimeters from the top. She explained that this urine sample required a total specimen collection somewhere in between the two red lines. A start line and a finish line. Stops and starts (as if I can do that trick anymore). She was issuing me a challenge.
This was the Olympics of urine samples. Everyone in the waiting room knew it. No secrets here. There was a goal. Failure was not an option. I saw it in their faces: relief. Suddenly a blood test didn’t seem so intimidating.
The lab technician pointed to the deposit box where I could leave my specimen upon completion and then pointed me to the dimly lit bathroom tucked in the corner. I set the bottle down on the sink and prepared myself to, well, you know. This was not the time for performance anxiety. I had to squint to see the thick red lines on the bottle, so I at least knew my target, but as I angled for position I realized I could barely see these lines. Did that lab technician think I was an acrobat from Cirque du Soleil? How can I hit a target I cannot see?
I cursed every man I knew because having a pointer would have made this easy. And then, in a pose I can only describe as vertigo-inducing, I went for the gold (medal).
I was determined not make a mess on the bottle or myself. This took an effort you will never fully be able to appreciate. It was nothing short of Olympic-worthy. I may or may not have cheered.
I exited the bathroom and everyone looked up (to be fair, the cheer may have created suspicion). Call me paranoid, but I believe they were checking to see if I made the finish line. I cupped the sample bottle in my hands, mouthed the words “look away,” and quickly discarded the bottle in the tray.
Gold medal win. A personal best. A podium for one. This was a good day. Hope the results are too.