A big jar of pee

“It’s not apple juice.”

That one never gets old. Well, yes it does, but, like wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day and being disappointed by the Oscars broadcast, it’s kind of a tradition. If there’s a jar of urine in the fridge, you have to warn your family not to accidentally drink it.

Why is there pee in my fridge? What, there isn’t pee in your fridge? Weirdo!

Thank you, Google Image, for continuing to make dreams come true.

Thank you, Google Image, for continuing to make dreams come true.

There isn’t always pee in my fridge. But four or five times a year, my youngest daughter has to travel to Montreal for regular medical appointments that include blood work, sometimes an ultrasound or other peekaboo tests and urine analysis. Abby has tyrosinemia, a rare metabolic condition that involves her inability to process the protein tyrosine and is far too complicated to explain here.

Because she was born in Quebec, where there is a higher incidence of the disorder than anywhere else in the world (vive la maladie!), Abby was diagnosed at 9 days old. She’s 11 and a half now. That’s a whole lot of pee.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about how we’ve collected the urine through her childhood because she may read this someday, and the vague infant memories of plastic bags and surgical tape may already be cause enough for future therapy. But over the years, I have never gotten over the unsettling nature of a big jar of pee. And it’s not just because of potential fridge-related confusion.

We like our precious bodily fluids inside our bodies. As soon as they are outside the body, we dispose of them or clean the sheets. We don’t want to see what’s inside us because it reminds us that we are essentially liquid and fragile and gross. This is why we close the door when we go to the bathroom, or in my house, “CLOSE THE DOOR WHEN YOU GO TO THE BATHROOM!”

Even when I have to go to the clinic to have the bilipsiosis* checked on my deuteronomy, there’s something so weird about watching people walking out of the washroom carrying their little bottles of urine. All I can think is, “That person just peed in a bottle,” and “I hope they washed their hands.”

“Don’t forget we have to collect your pee, Abby,” I told her this morning in preparation for her appointment tomorrow. I scrounged beneath the sink for an old spaghetti sauce jar, washed it out and, when Abby came out of the bathroom with her little margarine container, filled it with urine and stuck it in the fridge. There it will sit until we drive to Montreal and hand her big spaghetti sauce jar of pee over to a stranger who will in turn send it to a lab where someone will test it, which raises the question: how do you get that job? And is stool-sampling a promotion or a demotion?

The big spaghetti sauce jar full of pee in the fridge. It’s just one of the many strange realities of Abby’s condition, a sickly yellow reminder of how unique and delicate she is, how grateful we are for the medical attention she gets and how hopeful we are that she won’t test too high for tyrosine or oregano.

* Bilipsiosis: (n) Fake but real-sounding all-purpose medical term that can be used to impress colleagues and/or get a day off work

Want to play Fictionary? Visit Kylie.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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45 Responses to A big jar of pee

  1. Kylie says:

    You’ve set the bar high, very high, indeed!

  2. Kylie says:

    Also, the link for the ‘precious bodily fluids’ was broken.
    It’s a fractURLidemic.
    And for the record, I’m a big fan of fluoridation 🙂

    • rossmurray1 says:

      OOOO, that’s a good one.

      Thanks, we’re stevened now. (adj. equal in a hurry, too quickly to even say ‘even-steven’).

      • Kylie says:

        ooohhhh! Another one!

        I’m going to share your post on FB.

        Thanks again for letting me know about the URL. So weird, since I swiped it from the browser window. Then was I was editing the post, the images disappeared for awhile. The whole game started to come crashing down!!

        • rossmurray1 says:

          Look at your post date. Somehow it says you posted it January 1. Weirdpress (when WordPress does things you can’t explain).

          • Kylie says:

            It’s because I started drafting it way back then. I must have had version control issues or something. I went back and forth about how specific to make the instructions–most bloggers know how to hyperlink and deal with badges, but I sure didn’t in the early days (all of a year ago) and so the health educator in me went overboard with the details. Always a bad idea 😉

            Oh well–glad you found it early!

          • Kylie says:

            And, also, ‘Weirdpress’ ha!

  3. letizia says:

    When I read the title of your post, I was wondering what it was going to be about! And, well, it was exactly that 🙂 As odd as the routine may be, it’s wonderful that she’s getting the care she needs and that you are such a wonderful father.

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  5. vyvacious says:

    Oh goodness. What an interesting post to read after your Teen Edition one! Abby sounds like a very strong, sweet girl. So glad she’s been good so far!

  6. The Hook says:

    Thanks for the “slice-of-my-life” post.
    It was delicious.

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  9. Kylie says:

    Reblogged this on The Life of Kylie and commented:
    Fictionary entry from the always Rosstastic Ross Murray at Drinking Tips for Teens.

  10. I love that fellow bloggers always seem to make me thankful. Now I’m thankful that I never had to collect pee from my little girl! The mechanics of trying to get it from a toddling girl is making me dizzy. I’m glad your daughter is doing so well!

  11. tomwisk says:

    Kylie, I’ve Adult Onset Diabetes. My doc usually needs a sample. I get the little jar go into the men’s room and freeze up. Before, Niagara Falls, after a trickle. Your post though on a serious subject has the potential for a bit of gentle humor.

  12. I hope your little girl Abby is found in good shape on her tests. Best wishes to you and your family.

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  14. We should have matched our kids up – Abby’s big jar of pee with my son’s bodily fluids from his stomas that were collected and refed (via a machine) thru his other stomas to his intestine! We’d have had gross out contest – of which, us as parents, would not be phased about.
    I’m glad to have read that Abby is doing well – and gets good care! Viva la healthcare! My french is suckage – sorry.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      It’s the thought that counts. And that’s no joke.

      • Much good thoughts. I admire you that much more after learning about Abby and that you can still see the humor in things. I think that’s what helped me from going crazy when Dorian was in the hospital. He had jaundice (not the kind that lights can fix – but from complications with his liver and other things) and we’d spike his hair with gel and put him in bright yellow onesies b/c he looked so cute extra yellow! And all the other stuff that was going on – being able to see the humorous side to something possibly fatal worked wonders for my mental health.
        I think you’re so fabbo, Rosemary!

  15. “Even when I have to go to the clinic to have the bilipsiosis* checked on my deuteronomy”

    Is that Russian for ‘descending colon’?

    I always say that if you don’t want someone to steal your lunch from the fridge at work, put it in a tupperware and label it ‘stool sample’. You could probably also trap a work fridge thief by pouring pee in an apple juice container and waiting to see what happens.

    …Too far?

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