Here is your “pee hat,” she said.  They would measure my “I’s and O’s.”  The In’s and Out’s, what comes out as urine. The collection hat catches and measures it.  I was a little kid.  My mind went to work.  A. “Pee Hat.”  Wow. 

At some point, many, many hats later, the playful terminology lost its whimsey.  The magic ran Out.  Of course, a “Hat.”  To regularly collect 24 hours of every drop.  For me, the question was stopping mid-stream to get another hat to fill, as I do in pausing life mid-stream to attend to illness.  As one leads to another, medications to medicate the effects of medications, a disease the result of a surgery to treat a disease.  After a car crushed me on a sidewalk, then learning to hold my leaky “pelvic floor.”  Meds lists, diagnosis lists, medical alert “jewelry,” syringes, handfuls of pills…what a pisser.

We each at times wear many hats.
Sometimes my “hats”
hold just pee,
others – different facets of me

 Thankfully, written in between check-boxes on countless clipboards and portals, lives a woman with thirst for the world.  I do not try on hats as if they were costumes to approximate.  Rather, each hat in my collection touches on the gem of an aspect of myself.  They are prismatic, faceted, and reflective of the many “me’s” that I can be in the world.  I want to be a whole person, not just a patient. I want the neurology doctor to ask me about my horseback riding when he quizzes me on my “gait mechanics.” They are great, thanks. My canter is like flying. This is the whole self, often goofy, sometimes glamorous, and definitely not always medical.  Now that’s a lot of hats.  I am a woman of many hats. 

Due to illness, I have a bladder that holds much more than the 1 L hat can contain.  I am careful, then, as possibly my urine overfloweth.  Into my hats I go to such efforts to contain and record my urine to the drop.  It chills in my fridge next to my milk and eggs while it waits to be analyzed.  I’ve learned that I am so much more than the cc’s in my scan, or the hats I fill and refill.  I’ve done a lot of things, worn a lot of other hats, and keep collecting vintage ones.  For the In’s and Out’s of a life that’s remarkably full, those collections are immeasurable.

Anything but medical:
I play in cones and have a ridiculously growing closet of anything in a hi-visibility color.

I worked for a residential construction contractor one summer. I did mostly demolition. The owner had been a smoker and had shag-carpeted all his walls. I only lasted one summer.

I went to school for Halloween in 8th grade dressed as a witch. Nobody recognized me and I was temporarily marked absent. I’m a good witch.

I currently have two characters under my nose. MayDay is a hypervigilant, antsy safety nerd who gets flummoxed easily in her hyped “crises.” Whoopsie Daisy is clumsy, funky, and dopey. She likes to dance, and secretly enjoys a taste of the risque. Neither character is far-flung.

I make a mean spaghetti. I should say, angrily overboiled. I might as well eat it raw.

I was crushed by a car. I am resilient and have a wildly untethered imagination.

Last semester I rode on the U-M equestrian team. I got a lot of help with the saddle, but they were truly a team.

I have a hidden elegant diva in me. Best way to put it. Question that and face the consequences.

I swim like a torpedo. My parents let me “sink or swim” in the Long Island Sound. I was an infant. I still had amniotic gills and a natural tadpole wiggle. Given the chance I would live in the water.

[to be continued…]