Being a Hostage to Your Bladder

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    Oh, the joys of a new nursing job: finding your way to the campus! Figuring out where to park! Hunting down scrubs that are the correct color! And finally, trying to provide the answer to the employee health "whiz quiz." Have you ever failed to produce under pressure?

    Being a Hostage to Your Bladder

    Cup of coffee: check.
    Bottle of water: check
    Jumping jacks: check check check!
    ED nurse bladder: sigh. Check.

    You know the scenario: you are hired into a position with a new employer, and one of your first tasks is a visit to Employee Health. If you're lucky to remember, you know that you're going to have to provide a urine specimen for a drug screening, and you don't urinate before you leave home. If you are unlucky, you forget and merrily empty your bladder before getting in your car; after all, as an ED nurse you know that a full bladder is more likely to rupture with trauma, and you are in the habit of peeing before you drive!

    You arrive at Employee Health, and the first thing the nurse asks for is - yes, that's right! - a urine sample. You frantically gulp down the rest of your coffee, picturing how your sacred morning sustenance could possibly reroute itself directly from the esophagus to the bladder, because guess what? You have a "q shift" bladder, the before-shift-and-after-shift bladder, the kind of bladder that must be very full before you even think about hitting the latrine. Oh dear. You take the cup from the nurse, who informs you that you cannot flush the toilet after you void, and that the bathroom has no running water at the sink. No running water?! I can't even turn on the sink for water noise? This is bad.

    But, you're game. You're hopeful. We always tell our ED patients that everyone usually has at least a smidgen in the bladder, right?

    So you sit. And sit. And try not to think about going, but thinking about going the whole time. You tell yourself that at least it's not like an Army "whiz quiz" where you have someone observing you the entire time - yes, the entire time. Eyeballs on you. Anyway, you push on your bladder, encouraging it to cough up just enough urine. You think you might ... wait ... maybe ... no. You feel a stirring in your abdominal region, but it's not the right kind; apparently the morning coffee has not failed to keep you regular! You realize that you can't flush the toilet, and you really don't want to leave that kind of gift for the nurse and make such an impression on the entire staff of Employee Health, all of whom seem to sit in very close proximity to this drug screen bathroom. You realize that any straining for urine is going to possibly result in urine, but definitely provide other products you'd rather not share with staff. It's a delicate balance right now! It could go either way.

    The nurse knocks smartly on the door and calls your name, and you give up for now. She tells you that's okay, you can try again after she goes over your immunization record and checks your blood pressure.

    Thirty minutes go by, and the entire time the back of your brain is asking, do you have to go yet? Do you have to go yet? Maybe? Hmmm? No? You ask for some water, and the nurse shows you to the drinking fountain and gives you a cup. Oh yum.

    You down about 8 cups of water, silently cursing your bladder that will undoubtedly ask for repeated bathroom breaks for the entire rest of the day after consuming all this water. You ask if you can come back later, and are told that no, you cannot leave Employee Health without providing a specimen. Seriously?! What is the point of that? What is going to change? But fine, you'll play along. You are directed to the waiting area, where you drink a few more cups of water and resort to jumping up and down, just to test the waters, so to speak.

    It's 0830 now. You have to be at HR across the campus in 30 minutes. Your bladder is blissfully unaware of this time crunch, despite repeated silent pleas from your mind. Jump, jump, jump, water. You repeat this process for the next five minutes. Finally you emerge from the waiting room and announce (to everyone and your bladder) that you are NOT going to be a hostage to your bladder any longer! The nurse applauds your enthusiasm and retrieves your empty specimen cup from a storage area, and you go back into the silent, no-running-water bathroom. You sit, and you're ready! Go bladder go! Is that an impulse? An urge? You push on your bladder, and hey ... maybe ... your bladder stirs to life, and says, yes? Oh, now? You position the cup, and hope ... and HOPE ... and ... yes! Just a couple of drops, but you know that once you break the seal, it's going down. You manage to fill the cup to the appropriate line, and then you keep going ... and going ... and going! Enough for three specimens! You complete your task, and almost flush when you realize that you can't! You come out and triumphantly hand your cup to the nurse, who remarks that you should drink more water on a regular basis. Yes, of course!

    Then you walk briskly across campus and arrive 5 minutes early at HR, which is great - because you have to pee again!
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 16, '18
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  3. by   AspiringNurseMW
    Lmao! Totally reminded me of my appointment last week for my birth control shot. I forgot I had to pee so they could rule out pregnancy before administering the shot. Of course I peed right before I left the house. No amount of water would My make bladder perform, even after an hour, and I had to return the next day.
  4. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from AspiringNurseMW
    Lmao! Totally reminded me of my appointment last week for my birth control shot. I forgot I had to pee so they could rule out pregnancy before administering the shot. Of course I peed right before I left the house. No amount of water would My make bladder perform, even after an hour, and I had to return the next day.
    At least you got to leave! I had to stay and perform. lol
  5. by   kbrn2002
    Too funny! Happened to me once years ago. There were drugs that went missing from work so they drug tested all the staff unannounced, and of course since I can easily go a whole shift without even thinking about the bathroom I couldn't for the life of me pee. At least it wasn't just me that day, another nurse was in the same boat and it became quite the contest as to who could produce enough urine first. We were there for about an hour, she manged first and about 10 minutes later I had success.
  6. by   amoLucia
    I am one of those people who cannot pee on command. I always wondered about how those military people managed. Way back when I got my BSN, several Armed Service recruiters would actively contact graduates to discuss possible opportunities in the Service. I really wasn't ever interested, but little did the recruiters know that one thought in my mind was my ability (or non-ability) to pee PRN.

    And to make things even more difficult, I have problems peeing in public restrooms if there is someone else in the room. Sometimes even if I know that someone is outside the room, within earshot, I may not be able to void. I believe there is a real urological diagnosis/condition called "shy bladder".

    I used to drive long distances without having to void but there were times I needed to stop. I used to know how many stalls were in each Ladies Rooms along the southbound NJ TPK. And I've hit just about EVERY Turnpike or truck stop restroom on the interstates. I worry about if I ever got stuck on the Turnpike in a big traffic jam what would happen. I think about all those poor people that have been on the news recently with those big traffic shutdowns in the bad weather. Yes, I do think about it!

    Way back, I must have had a bladder capacity the size of the Atlantic Ocean. It was always a joke to my family that I "pee and brush my teeth" before going out somewhere. Had to. It has gotten a bit better as I've become older. But I am a hostage to my bladder.

    Gotta go, gotta go!

    to Pixie - I'm an addict to high heels.
  7. by   Tenebrae
    Hee hee hee

    I had this exact experience when I had to go for a drug screen prior to starting a new job. When I went back I hadnt peed since getting up that morning and had several red bull along the way.

    Finally managed to get a decent sample on the second try
  8. by   firstinfamily
    It is nice to know that someone else runs the water for stimulation. I also have the no-demand, shy bladder and seeing how every break room has the closest bathroom I am forever running water in the sink to drown out noise and encourage my bladder!!! We are too funny!!
  9. by   LadyFree28

    Reminded me of my meeting with employee health for my new job.

    I drank this morning, but not enough to stir; my bladder was virtually empty...somehow my body willed enough to make plenty in the cup, although I was thinking that it would not be enough-the fill line drawn on the cup was crooked, so I wasn't sure if was enough!
  10. by   Pixie.RN
    Ironically, I got called to an Army urinalysis this morning. I am standing around trying to gauge if I have 30ml to offer! If I go too early and it's not enough, I will be here all day. Lol
  11. by   No Stars In My Eyes
    Water, heck! Give me two cups of coffee and I can fill multiple specimen cups to the brim every twenty minutes for two hours!
  12. by   flutist
    I often pee so often during the day that I know exactly where the restrooms are just in case. A long trip where bathrooms are few and far between make me nervous (and then I think I have to go more often). I think I could give a urine sample even if I have just been.
  13. by   VivaLasViejas
    I got bashful bladder the first time I ever did a UDS for work. It was awful--- I couldn't pee, I couldn't leave, and the place was closing for the day in half an hour. Talk about pressure..... At least it wasn't an observed test, or I'd probably still be there trying to pee. Thankfully I finally accomplished the thing after two cups of water and a few bounces, and with only minutes to spare. Whew!
  14. by   Pixie.RN
    I am happy to say yesterday's random drug screen sample for the Army was submitted without incident. But once I broke the seal, I kept having to go! Lol. I am just glad I was not called in on my day off, because that happens - and no matter what you are doing or where you are, you have to drop everything and report to the designated whiz quiz location.