By Nicole Cater
So you’re in the pen. There’s really about five million things going on in your head… Like “Dude, I really just did this?” or “When’s lunch?” or “Um, how do I brush my hair?” You’ve got a lot of concerns. Many concerns are automatically addressed. Here, you can have a tiny bottle of baby shampoo and a comb, circa 1952. Really? Did you nurses look at my hair? Do you know it’s going to take an hour just for me to comb it with that stupid back-pocket greaser comb? Other concerns have more of a delicate nature; such as going to the bathroom your first morning in the stir and finding a very unpleasant surprise.
I’ll make this clear because:
A. I do so much dumb crap I no longer have a sense of shame
B. I have a clear medical necessity. I have an IUD, an intrauterine device that blocks any fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall. Why do I have a birth control device when I don’t have any chance of getting laid? Well, because my Rheumatologist wouldn’t give me my spine-saving Enbrel unless I was on a serious form of birth control, back when I was married. Condoms were not acceptable. So, my lady doc, being the awesome progressive doc that understands that I’m not a simple cut and dry patient, allowed me this form of birth control, that usually (in the US) you have to have children before obtaining. But I’m cool, so I get one. And then I get my Enbrel. And I’m sorry, but divorce is no cause to start ripping things out of your uterus, it’s just not.
The point, and I do have one, I swear, is that many women, including me, with IUDs do not get periods. Yeah bitches, go ahead and get jealous! But stress on the body is still stress and nothing in this life is certain but death and taxes. So there you are, in the bathroom, cramping and freaked that you’re going to bleed all over your medically issued jim-jams. This is a mind boggling situation for someone who hasn’t dealt with a period in six years. Seriously? Now?
Also, because I’m in a digressing mood, I should explain the bathroom in my cell. You can open the door and walk fully in. Then you have three options for shutting the door. You can climb behind the toilet, you can get in the shower, or you can sit on the sink. I have a five-foot wing span. I know this for fact because I just measured, so there. I can still touch both walls. So yeah, this bathroom is small. A five-foot cube with a toilet, a sink, and a shower. Oh, and an unbreakable mirror. This is not a lot of room to accommodate your necessary transactions, let alone a mild freak out because of an unexpected one. And I feel like pacing while I think over this new situation. But that’s no good, because there’s no room to pace in the bathroom. And I can’t pace in my room because gravity happens and it would be a bit odd for a check tech to pop in while I’m pacing with no unders on. That’d be a bonus week add-on guaranteed.
So I make the furtive trip across the hall to the nurses’ desk. Miss Karen, don’t fail me now. And there are supplies for this situation, there are, after all, a number of crazy women. But the supplies are kept at the other desk, on the other side of the line. Huh? So just go down there and ask. Ummmm…
Now this is my own personal issue. At a junior high sleep over, I was scarred for life when a stain was discovered on my jim-jams. I have never been comfortable with what the Victorians termed ‘crushing a flea in my petticoats’ ever since. So this is just a very awesome situation that I have to walk to the other side of the ward and beg supplies from foreign nurses in hushed tones so as few people as possible will suspect that I, as a woman, actually menstruate. In response, I am handed a draconian looking absorbent object roughly the size of a cinderblock and appears as if it may have been able to save the Titanic.
Having procured my one, count it, one, pad, I try not to waddle back to my room. I also try and figure out the ways a tampon could be used to commit murder or suicide. I come up blank on that. But I don’t make the rules here; I just have to suffer them. But I’ve only gotten the one, and it’s quite apparent I’m not going home this afternoon, so we’ve got trouble people, with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for Period.
But aha! The joint has these fabulous robes. They are a baby blue that clashes horrendously with the sea green of the jim-jams in a way that I find aesthetically disturbing to my psyche. But they DO have nice big, deep pockets. I must get a robe! This turns out to be much easier than getting my diaper. The linen closet is right next to my room, and they have to give you clothes. Because they won’t let you leave to get your own. Adorned in my new robe, I set off to cross the deadline to procure more cinderblocks. Because who knows how long this fresh hell is going to last.
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This is our new Wicked Short Stories page with submissions from various Authors. Please look for bio-snippets about the Author at the bottom of the various pieces. Enjoy!