Column: Peeing is not straightforward

The medical terms for urinating are micturition, voiding or uresis. Most of us simply call it peeing. I’ve been peeing all my life, and at my age I’m quite a practiced and talented peeing master. As a mother, I’m also a proficient ace in my ability to dazzle you with the hues of pee’s color.

Urine should be kept at body temperature (little joke) and the ideal color should be light yellow. If it’s too dark, you might be dehydrated. On the other hand, it could be from the food you’ve noshed recently. Rhubarb, fava beans (legumes) and aloe can all make your pee brown, as can some medications, such as those that treat urinary tract infections. Isn’t that a conflict of interest?

You could also have brown urine if you’ve recently undergone a urologic procedure because your innards didn’t like it much and they’re going to show you just how much, by dripping blood into your urethra. Kidney stones and a UTI can cause pink pee by leaking blood into your urinary tract. Side note: Why don’t we just call the urinary tract the pee patch?

Now for weirdness: Green and blue pee normally doesn’t mean anything crazy. It simply shows you’re an alien and that Men In Black haven’t caught up with you yet, but they’re coming. Actually, green urine is probably due to eating too much asparagus, which also makes urine smell like sulfur. Blue urine is most commonly caused from certain muscle relaxers, heartburn treatments or simply eating too many holiday cookies with blue food dye in the frosting.

Nearly everyone in the working world has been forced to do a urine drug test. If you haven’t, well, I’m not sure you can go to heaven. If you have peed in a cup, you are among some of us who wish it didn’t ever have to happen again, like Gar, the drug testing hater.

Drug tests can detect evidence of using an illegal drug like heroin or cocaine. It can also tell if someone has misused prescription drugs like opioids, depressants, stimulants or sleep medications. Gar and I have had drug tests multiple times as work requires and we have totally different reactions.

Gar has a shy bladder and when told he’s up for a random drug test, he cringes. Prior to, he tries drinking an abundance of water or tea. Then into the tester’s bathroom he goes, does a manly scrub and stands up tall, all pertinent appendages pointing in the right direction but … nothing. He does a jig and thinks happy thoughts … nothing. He turns on the faucets, goes back to the business end of the bathroom … nothing. Sometimes he has to close up shop, go to the waiting room and drink multiple bottles of water. Then, when he’s bursting at the seams, he prays nobody like him is lollygagging in the bathroom because he really has to go NOW.

I feel bad for Gar, mostly because I can’t relate. On any given day, I’m like a male cocker spaniel, marking my territory in every bathroom that presents itself. When I go to a drug-testing site, I have no problem with the actual event, but men, you don’t know how good you’ve got it. You can see what you’re doing.

I wash my hands, pull my apparel down, open the cleaning cloth, clean all things considered unclean, pick up the cup and then … the struggle. I start the clean catch routine, but only for a second because how do we know how much pee we have to give away? Put the cup under the stream. Is it in the right place? Too far forward, no wait, too far back, oh, dang, I peed on my fingers. I’m obviously in the right spot. Is the cup full? I can’t pull it out to check. If it’s not full, I have to put it back, starting over with positioning. Keep going, better too full than not full enough.

Done. I can’t sit the cup on the counter; it’ll spill over. I can’t pull my pants up until I put the cup down. Put the cup down. Pull up my britches. Attempt to pour a little out of the cup into the toilet, but it’s so full a tad dripped on the floor. Wash the counter. Wash the floor.

To prevent tampering, some places monitor the person collecting urine. For their sake, and mine, I’m glad I’ve never had that. After watching me, she’d quit her job and possibly life in general.

Trena Eiden     [email protected]




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