I’m used to doing a lot of stuff with low vision. Reading, cooking, dog walks…you know from my posts. Regular, routine tasks with low vision feel kind of regular and routine now. Sure, anytime I’m in a new place I have to get my bearings, but I’m talking about particular tasks. The longer I live with blindness, it’s less common to encounter a task I can’t compare to a previous experience and proceed on a hunch with a decent modification. And then, I am faced with one.
During an office visit to sleuth the origins of my chronic pain, one of my doctors ordered blood work and a urine sample. I asked for water, I wasn’t sure if my bladder was full enough. My doctor gave me two full dixie cups and told me it would be okay if we didn’t get a sample today. I nodded and sipped my water. I didn’t want to have to return.
The computer system which had been down all day miraculously reconnected and the staff hurried around to complete jobs before quitting time. The lab sits within the building so I walked down the hall and waited in a row of mildly uncomfortable chairs next to Stockton. My cane rested in the crook of my arm. Directly in front of me was a partitioned room. A bathroom was to my left. A patient younger than me took a seat while the medical tech talked to his coworker in a tired, stressed tone.
I leaned over to my husband and said, “It’s like we’re waiting outside the principal’s office.”
“You can take a seat here.” The irritated employee said to me. Here is not a place to these eyes. I saw a rolling stool behind him and a desk he stood next to.
“In here?” I said, pointing to his side of the room, not seeing another choice. “I have vision loss so I’m not sure.”
I walked forward, hoping a non-wheeled seat option would materialize and viola, on the other side of his tall desk was a lab chair with that fold down portion where you can rest your forearm. He asked which arm to use, which I appreciated. I’m a lefty. If I don’t speak up most blood draws seem to happen on my left arm. He deftly filled the required vials, placed a cotton ball over the injection site and taped it in place. Only thing remaining was the urine sample. He handed me a sample cup and a sterile wipe packet.
“You can leave the cup…” He paused, I imagined him visualizing the stall in his mind. “To the right of the sink.”
“Is there like a shelf?”
“Yeah.” He said as he slapped a silver square on the wall near him.
I entered the bathroom, making sure to fully close the door. This is when I realized I haven’t done a sample since I gained low vision. Oh boy. I considered the best method for collection. I investigated the area. Any additional lights? No. How much space between the sink and the toilet? Enough to squat awkwardly. I reflexively looked down at the cup I held under my body, but then the silicone oil in the back of my eye shifted. I remembered for the billionth time anytime I look down, my oil moves and further obscures my vision. That’s great.
I frowned. I held the cup close to my body and I prayed that I wouldn’t pee on myself or all over the cup. That would be bad enough, but then I would also waste my limited supply of yellow liquid. As I stared into space, I didn’t feel any moisture on my hand and I didn’t hear anything drop into the toilet. I figured if things went really bad, I could always yell for Stockton. Then I decided against that. No one wants to answer calls from a bathroom.
I was about to relax, but I realized I couldn’t tell how much of the sample cup I filled. Do I need to keep going? Am I holding the cup level or is it about to empty some of its contents? I didn’t know. Like I was on a warped game show, I let it play out a little longer before stopping. I carefully held up the cup to about eye height. I decided it was full enough.
I capped the plastic cup, washed my hands, and wiped down the cup with the sterile cloth. I didn’t see a shelf to the right of the sink, but there was a silver square in the wall. I touched it until I felt a handle and pulled. It was one of those pass-thru’s. I placed my cup next to two other samples and closed the silver door.
“All set.” I said to Stockton and we gathered our stuff to leave. That was definitely not regular or routine. But sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.
Do you have a funny story from the doctor’s office? What is the best thing you overhead in a waiting room? Tell me about it.