2/11/2011

Thelma: Edna and her Broken Waterworks

It's amazing, the synchronicity. I've been dealing with a similar issue and can relate. Oh, if only I'd had a Thelma. Although I went by myself, I wasn't alone. Give technology its due; texting means we don't ever have to be alone. I behaved, though, and, unlike Edna, there were no scenes, other than the ones playing in my head. And for gods' sake, if you do google, don't google images because there are things you do not want to see. Seriously. You don't want to see. Oh, and there was no drunkenness, either. Just an uneventful return to work. Sometimes the issues are biggest in our head, you know?

Thelma shares her adventures with her nemesis, Edna:

Been busy here, what with the regular book club meetings going on, and the emperor's had to take to chucking his books at the snoring citizens of Stink Creek. There he'd perch on top of his stack of tomes, speaking in an unintelligible language to the hard-working but unedified folks about lofty and grand ideas and then make us poor saps read Anne Bradstreet and Christopher Columbus and other folks that explain why so many folks think literature is a thing that stinks. I tell you, for damn true, that even Mamma H looked ready to wap him with her purse at one point.

I didn't want to hurt my sweetheart none, cuz I could listen to him drone on for an eternity, let the words flow over me like waves on a beach as long as I didn't have to act like I had nary a clue bout what he was talking so long on. But when Edna, my arch nemesis, came to me whispering and all dart-eyed, asking for my help, how could I not? I was getting tired of hearing the emperor practice his lectures on me at home, standing astride me after a soft, sweet moment of loving, when he had me all mellowed out, the raccoon wrapped around my head, snuggled in tight for warmth, gesticulating like mad and droning on about Cotton Mather and Thomas Jefferson. I was beginning to agree with my nemesis that Harlequin romances are at least easy to read and leave you with a warm spot in your heart.

Edna's been out of sorts. Now Louise'd pipe in and argue there ain't been a damn day since our youth that Edna ain't been out of sorts, but what with her best bud Willa up at the Sisters, the days are off for her in a way that I can rightly feel. It's how I feel when my Louise gets a wild hair and lights out on me to Vegas, leaving me alone with Mamma H and the raisin and their endless supply of getitup pills.

Downright lonesome and feeling like a part of her is missing, that's how Edna's feeling. Add to that, she's been having a hell of a time with her waterworks acting up on her, and the local doc done sent her to Lexington to see a special waterworks doctor. It takes just about everything Edna's got to go to the plain old doc here in town, so getting Edna to a waterworks doc to look at her parts, well, that required me, I guess: I'm big enough and just mean enough to pick that grumpy old woman on up and carry her there myself. So when Edna came whispering to me at the end of the last book club meeting, with the doc staring daggers alternately at Edna, shooing her my way and towards the emperor who was looking glazed and dazed up at the lectern at the books strewn about the meeting room as people ran for the bar, I had a feeling my special skills were gonna be required. I just didn't know how far in I was gonna be pulled.

See, Edna has some mighty damn big issues, and there weren't enough happy pill in the world that were gonna get her to the waterworks doc and through the tests that might have to be run without some mighty interference on somebody's part. Besides, even if Willa were free to take her, she wouldn't make Edna do it; they'd end up in a craft store buying up all the yarn instead.

I told that Edna I'd show up at her trailer to get her, give her the happy pills, and I'd be delighted to drag her ass on up to Lexington, but that meant I got to tell the tale. We are too damn shy to talk about our waterworks issues or our feminine parts issues, and it's time that stopped. Lord, first off, we all got parts. And them damned parts are faulty. Shouldn't matter about what the parts are; we should be able to talk about them without feeling shame and embarrassment. Some issues we can get ourselves over.

I tell you, straight up, that being in a car with a mellowed Edna ain't much easier than being in a car with the regular old gal. She'd swing back and forth between acute anxiety bleeding through those happy pills like they were nothing and an odd sort of loopiness where she'd look at me and grin all cross-eyed. And there I was, trapped, sober. Louise had just laughed at me when I suggested she take the drive with us. Said she had some senior citizens to train on the pole dancing and she sashayed off, laughing her ass off. Ain't right.

We get to the waterworks doc and get Edna signed in. She goes on back by herself, all calm like, although she was eyeing the door like she was gonna make a run for it. I stood up and she went on, though, temporarily behaving herself.

About five minutes passes and there's this noise from the back where the exam rooms are, stuff flying, and Edna moaning about a pee torture chair. I just looked at the ceiling, ignoring all the little old ladies and men with messed up waterworks looking at me in sympathy. Apparently, they knew all about pee torture chairs, and I'm guessing a great deal more.

There was some more crashing, and then silence. The nurse came out and beckoned to me. I just looked at her. I done my piece. It was her turn. But she wasn't buying that. Nosirree. So back I went. Edna was crouched in a corner of this large bathroom. It had a regular toilet and next to it there was this fixed commode like you use for folks who can't make it to the regular bathroom anymore. Only this thing wasn't like that at all. It had a funnel instead of a pot, and at the bottom, underneath the funnel was a measuring cup like you'd use in a kitchen, a big one, and it was sitting on a metal stand. And godamighty, there were wires leading from that device. I looked at Edna, who's been known to hold her pee until there's no one anywhere around her own damn house, and who won't pee in town, nope. And I looked at that fancy get up that she was moaning over and over again was a pee torture chair, and I looked at the nurse. And then I reached for my flask of Wild Turkey, but it wasn't in my jacket. Louise had taken it from me. Damn it. Sober and with an Edna that had done gone over the hill and looked to be on her way to joining Willa with the Sisters. Shit and shinola. We were in a pickle.

The nurse explained they needed to know how well Edna peed. I cocked my head and told her not well or what the hell would we be here for. She sighed, looking like she was the aggrieved party and said they needed to know precisely how not well that was. How, exactly, am I to help with that, I wanted to know.

Wrong question to ask. The nurse told me and walked out the damned door leaving me with Edna and what looked like an instrument of potential torture. Or serious discomfort, as it was up too high, so Edna's feet would dangle, and Edna's a bit plump to put it kindly, so she wasn't gonna fit too well in the chair, and then to know that they'd know all about her peeing. They might as well filmed it. It wasn't gonna be easy to go.

I picked her up, stood her up and looked straight into her eyes. I ain't got no whiskey and I ain't got the comfort of them damn happy pills, neither, I said to her. So I am outa patience. Sit on the damn contraption and go! She shuddered, and made me wanna smack her, but I have powerful restraint and I was already planning dropping her off at the Sisters and considering a stay myself.

Add in the measuring cup and metal holder and you got yourself the pee torture chair.


I picked Edna up and walked her over to the chair. I put her down. I told her to buck up. Ya can't get any help for the issues we were here for if ya won't pee. And I walked out that bathroom and took up guard. I sighed loud outside the door so Edna would know she was stuck in there till she did her business.

It took a godawful while to get there, but that Edna faced her inner demons and gave the doc what he needed. I was in the exam room with her when he walked in and told her she didn't pee right, just like that. Shoulda seen Edna's face. She's either gonna hate me more or love me, I tell you true. You can't be a party to this kinda stuff without it either bonding you for life or separating you for good. They did a little ultrasound thingy on her bladder that can tell them to the ounce what she's holdin. Ain't that something? They had a parts catalog there on various stuff that waterworks docs need to test folks or torture em or get kinky with. Some of the stuff looked right similar to the things I've seen in Louise's catalogs on sex aids. It's a frightening overlap, is what I'm sayin.

I asked the doc, as I was thumbing through the catalog, ifn he was gonna be doing some of these things to my nemesis, Edna, who at this point just wanted to pass out. I could tell. Her eyes were pressed tight and she was whispering to herself.

The doc said he held them things off, tried meds first and handed me a scrip for Edna, and then said I'd need to bring her back in a couple of weeks to redo the test we'd just been through. Edna and I both started moaning, then. And that's the easiest test. Lordamighty. 

We thanked them and got the hell out of there; grabbing the appointment slip on the way out. We decided, to be quite honest, that we both needed a drink. And a drink meant no driving. We stopped at the nearest pharmacy/liquor store we found, got Edna fixed up and enough libations and checked into the nearest motel room, where we commenced to bonding. It was that or kill each other on the way home.

Listen here, I'll take her, sure enough, to these things, cuz, well, you need someone to be with you for the indignities you experience as you age. It wasn't really that bad, not when you know all that could be done, all that might be done. And gods, I got to tell you that the internet is not always your friend. We drank and we googled. We avoided the nonsense sites and went right to the good medical sites. And we found out things about the waterworks that would make you blanch. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong that make a little leaking look like nothing, and there's all sorts of things the docs can do, replacement parts for your parts and more. Until we are becoming a patched up thing, you know? With plastics and metals and silicon and all sorts of things inside us that aren't of us, but that maybe make our lives better. Maybe notsomuch sometimes.

Attitude, I reckon, is gonna be key to gettin Edna through the insults and vagaries of aging, of parts failing. And Edna ain't never had a good attitude, and she's got a measuring cup full of issues, to add to that. And there ain't enough happy pills in the world that can right a wrong attitude.

So we drank and we googled. And we had some pizza, too, because what the hell. And we worked at reshaping Edna's attitude with the knowledge we found on the interwebz, that even if it were serious, there were things that could be done, and if it were just something she'd have to live with, well, that was okay, too, because she knew now more about how some folks had to get through more. Enough liquor and a nemesis to tell you to quit being a wuss, I reckon that might help. Don't for a minute think it was the drinking, though. It was having someone to share with, who made the issue not an embarrassment but something matter-of-fact, that made it okay. It was in finally being able to laugh over it, the craziness of the way things work and don't, that made it bearable.

Now, is she gonna be thrilled to go back time and again to sit in that contraption? No, she ain't. She done told me that. But she knows she can. And so do I. And hell, I'll be honest, I may spring Willa to take her the next time.

Only so much bonding a gal should have to do with her nemesis.

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