In this post I will be talking about urinary tract infections (UTI's), so if that isn't what you want to read about, just move along.
Shortly after Cliff and I got married, I began to have strange symptoms: a burning sensation when urinating, abdominal cramps, etc. I went to the doctor and found out I had an ailment that is quite common with women: Cystitis, otherwise known as bladder or kidney infection. In my case, being a newlywed, the doctor informed me it's usually called "honeymoon cystitis". You can perhaps figure than one out.
Over the next couple of decades, long after the honeymoon was over, I continued to have recurring bouts of bladder infection. I'd take a round of antibiotics, I'd get over it, and eventually it would recur. I even went to a specialist about the problem once. He found no particular cause, so that was money wasted.
Once I reached my forties, the problem ceased, except for a rare case once every few years. Usually I could fix it on my own by drinking gallons of water for several days.
Now, this is where you may want to move on. But I think this story will give you a chuckle if you stick around.
A week before my knee surgery was scheduled to take place, I went in for pre-tests. A couple of days later I received a phone call from my orthopedist's office telling me I had a UTI, and that they would call in a prescription for me. I couldn't have knee replacement surgery if I had a UTI. I thought it strange that I didn't have the usual symptoms of a UTI; I know them so well.
The antibiotic worked and my surgery went on as scheduled.
Now I'll back up: For about a year, my urine had a strange smell. That's all. I didn't have the discomfort associated with bladder infection. I went to Google and you can imagine the phrases I typed in; they all led to UTI problems. Well, with no symptoms I was sure that was not what I had. I decided the strange smell of my urine must be age-related. It's amazing the weird things that happen to you as you get older.
But after taking that round of antibiotics before surgery, my urine started smelling normal again, for the first time in months. So I made a mental note, and also mentioned to Cliff, that I was going to see a doctor next time my urine smelled funny.
A few days ago I noticed the smelly urine again and I made an appointment. Cliff and I are now seeing the new, younger doctor in Dr. G's practice, since Dr. G is our age and won't be there forever.
I've had lots of experience with UTI's, and I remembered that back in the old days the doctors wanted me to get a urine sample as soon as I got up in the morning. There were some rules to follow to collect said sample, and I followed them to the letter. I don't have a lot of small containers around, so I used a pint mason jar. I'm such a hillbilly. I sealed it tightly and slipped it into a freezer bag and carefully put it in my purse. I wasn't about to have another urine spill like the one we had on our camping trip. By the way, I noticed the urine in the jar looked a little cloudy.
At the doctor's office, the nurse checked me in and asked why I was there. I proceeded to tell her about my stinky urine and about my experience before the knee surgery. No, I told her when asked, I did not have any other symptoms.
I swear she may as well rolled her eyes; I can tell when somebody thinks I'm a danged fool.
I told her I had brought a urine sample from home, but that I'd be glad to get a fresh one for her if she'd rather. She preferred the latter; I collected it and delivered it to her, telling her that it was probably pretty diluted, since I'd been pouring down water all day.
Pretty soon the doctor came in with a student doctor at his side. Once again I went through the story of the stinky urine.
"Well," he said, "the sample we tested shows no sign of a problem, and I wouldn't want to give you antibiotics for it if there's nothing wrong. I'm curious about this "odor" you're talking about."
"I can help you out," says I. "I happen to have some in a mason jar in my purse."
He backed up, holding his hands out in front of him as though he had been attacked, saying, "Oh no, no! That might upset my stomach this early in the morning!"
And he calls himself a doctor?
Actually, I think he was performing a bit for the student doctor at his side.
Then he asks, "Has your urine been discolored or strong-looking?"
At that, without saying a word, I pulled the jar out of my purse and said, "Here, you decide."
Taken aback, he said, "Well, it does look rather dark-colored."
He didn't even mention the cloudy appearance.
Finally he said they'd send off the sample I gave at the office and "see if anything grows".
I joined Cliff in the car.
"How'd it go?"
"I don't have bladder infection."
"Just as I figured."
I pulled the mason jar out of my purse and said, "Does this look cloudy to you?"
"Yes," he answered. "It does."
I worried no more about it and simply resolved to do the two things that will best clear up a UTI: Drink a lot of water and make sure to empty the bladder completely on every visit to the bathroom.
Today I got a call from the doctor's office. The lab results showed that I have a UTI, and they've called in a prescription.
I certainly hope this humbles the young doctor just a wee bit.