Friday, July 19, 2013

Bathroom Psychosis

Preface: My son has Crohn's Disease, and every 8 weeks we go to the local children's hospital so he can sit on a bed and play video games for 4+ hours while I try to find ways to keep myself busy and not go stir crazy or get stiff joints from sitting for so long. The purpose of the 4+ hour visit is so they can stick a tube in his vein and pump him with meds that keep his body from tearing itself open from the inside. Good stuff. 
Good thing they outlined it in black. 

In hospital bathrooms, there is usually a thick, metal bar near the toilet (I can only assume that some people have a hard time lifting themselves up from the toilet. I really don't want to know.), and below or adjacent to the bar is a long, cord with a knob at the end. At our hospital, it's red, and where the cord comes out of the wall are three words: PULL FOR HELP. Whenever I'm in there, I have to control a compulsive impulse to yank that cord. Sometimes my hand actually twitches toward it when my eyes inevitably land on it.

Of course I don't need help and, frankly, I would collapse and DIE of embarrassment just knowing the I had lit up the nurses' station with the "Someone needs help in a bathroom" alarm. (Of course, then I would need help. But I would still be mortified. And dead.) 

If I didn't collapse, they would hurry down to the room only to find it empty and me bolting down the corridor, hiding behind my hair, (like the little girl in that scary movie I can't watch-- "The Ring", I think) never to return again.

I don't really understand this phenomenon. Why do I feel like I have to pull that cord? Is it because, on the whole, I always follow instructions? Is it because the print is in red and the cord is red and there is some level of authority that comes with the color red that makes me want to obey? I have to remind myself that it's not a command. It's NOT THE BOSS OF ME!

The double room. The bane of social anxiety sufferers.
My social anxiety is such that, when we have to share a room with another patient's family, I won't use the bathroom in the room. I will walk out of the treatment center, into the hospital at large, and use the public restroom in the hall. I just can't stand the thought of someone knowing that's what I'm doing on the other side of that wall. Especially since it involves both nudity and private parts, which are fine and dandy, as long as no one acknowledges MINE. I'm blushing just writing this. And I think I've forgotten the point of this paragraph...

Oh, yeah. The point is that I'm sure glad I've developed a massive amount of self-control over the years and I hope it never fails me. Because the world is just packed with buttons to push and boxes to open and signs commanding me to do all sorts of things that I don't actually want to do.

And that's just one small way I'm crazy, boys and girls. 

The End


Jen said...

You are hilarious!!! Thanks for the laugh!

Chris said...

Funny stuff, Steph. Nicely written. Should I be feeling guilty for some of this?

Steph said...

Ha ha, probably not, Dad. I'm my own brand of looney.