"Ooh ooh ooh," Dr K pants as she scoots past me. "Oh, it's 4:30! I finally get to pee!"
Apparently her latest fertility tome has informed her that 4:30 is the magic time of day to test your ovulation. She has been holding her, um, fluids since early morning and informing me every so often that she has X number of minutes of Kegel force squeezing left until she can pee. Now the blessed moment has arrived and she is off to the bathroom.
Ahh, thank God, I sigh, knowing that she will be locked up with her pee stick for a good ten minutes, staring feverishly to see if a second plus sign appears. (Before I get a hundred e-mails from hopeful parents-to-be, no, I don't mean to portray women struggling with fertility as desperate, loony, or sad. I just advise you not to share the intimate details of your pursuit with your employees, who don't have any way to escape your Font of Too Much Information.)
I settle in for a happy rendezvous with Medical Arts Press, hoping to finish some orders for the office, when the front door opens and a patient walks in.
"Hello!" Tammy waves. "I know I'm early for my appointment, but I don't mind waiting till she's ready." She grabs the latest issue of People Magazine and starts speculating as to whether K-Fed will get the kids or not.
I hear a flush in the restroom. A moment later, Dr. K rushes out and ducks behind the front desk. "Hello!" she greets the patient merrily, then turns to me.
"Here," she whispers. "I think it's negative, but I didn't have time to wait the whole ten minutes. Will you just watch this for another, oh, three and a half minutes and tell me what it says?"
I look down to see her waggling her pee stick at me. I feel myself grimace as my subconscious mind grasps what my sense of propriety cannot accept. She wants me to babysit her pee stick.
"Don't worry," she assures me when she sees my eyes widen and my lip curl back. "It's clean." Before I have a chance to speak, she drops her pee stick on my desk and hustles out to the waiting area. "So, how have you been?" she asks Tammy, enveloping her in a big hug and escorting her back to the adjusting area.
Meanwhile, I turn and stare at the pee stick. What am I supposed to do? The pee stick stares back from the countertop, winking its lopsided | + at me. I imagine that it can speak.
Me: What am I going to do with you? This really isn't my day.
Pee Stick: You're telling me. I spend all that time in the factory learning chemistry, then I finally land my first big job and they wrap me up in a tiny capsule, ship me off to a darkest corner of the pharmacy, and ignore me until this afternoon, when I get a face full of . . . "
Me: Okay, okay, I get it! So we both got the short end of the stick!
Pee Stick: Cute. That your idea of funny?
Pee Stick: And all the boss cares about is results, results, results. I mean, I have a life, you know?
Me: Oh, you have family?
Pee Stick: We're trying.
Pee Stick: Not as easy as if once was, you know. Production levels at the factory are down. Something about all the manufacturing jobs getting shipped to Malaysia.
Me: Well, you could always adopt. Overseas adoption, very fashionable these days.
Pee Stick: [Sigh] I just thought there would be more to life than this. I'm looking at retirement now, boss says I'm all used up, and have I made any plans? No. I never though time would go by so quickly. Maybe I should just end it all.
Me: Hey, you're tottering too near the edge!
Pee Stick: Might as well go out in a blaze of glory . . .
I watch silently as the pee stick flings itself into the trash can, a bright golden spray arching poetically behind it.
I shake myself. Back to reality. Resolving not to touch the pee stick, I scoot my chair a little farther into the corner and continue working. Tammy comes up to pay. I can see that her eyes are fixated on the pee stick but I ignore her stare, get her rescheduled (dang I'm good), and go back to work.
A few minutes later, Dr. K wanders up to the desk. Seeing the pee stick still perched where she left it, she snatches it up. Brandishing it at me like Perry Mason with a smoking revolver, she can't keep the panicky yelp from her voice.
"Hey," she cries indignantly. "You left this here!"