Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Murphy's Law of Nature

Upon my first night in the campo, I was getting myself tucked into bed after a long day of trying to comprehend Spanish. My room is on the second floor via a ladder of an adobe house.  I asked for cold weather. I got it. I don't think the adobe is insulated nor does the heat from the fire stove below rise to my room. So, not unlike the coldest nights in Minnesota with heat, I doubled up on pants, socks, a hoodie and gloves.  I have slept in my bra for eight straight nights because I can't bear the thought of getting undressed.
I bury myself under five blankets on my mattress that feels like in iron patio chair with a seat cushion.  Turns out, also have fleas. Fleas like me like mosquitos and flies like me. Great.  A new rival.  My scarf works as my pillow atop this sundae of sleeping comfort. I put on my earphones to try to escape the cold.  Music doesn't actually affect temperature I found. However, as I was drifting off to Bonnie Prince Billy, I had a thought. There's no bathroom or latrine in the house. In fact, my latrine is about a quarter mile away across a field and it's the rainy season. And pitch ass black. Due to my small bladder and affinity for warm drinks, I panicked. What the hell am I going to do tonight when I have to get up to pee like I do every night?

Shit. A litany of options ran through my head, none of which sounded appealing:
    A.  I have a dirt floor. It'll dry, right?
    B. Hold it. Painfully hold it and have dreams about how much it sucks to hold your pee in for
    C. Make it down the ladder and pee next to the house. Better than the room, right?
    D. Use the flashlight on my cellphone to navigate a new, very dark place to pee in a new, very dark

Or better yet,  I wish I had a motherfin' bedpan. I didn't have that on my list to bring from Lima yet. I'll add that. 

So night one, I hold it. And it's miserable. I reposition my body in the freezing cold to alleviate the pain in my bladder.  Turns out the positions that keep you warmest also put the most pressure on your midsection. Balls.

Day two, I had an idea. Dehydrate myself. No liquids after 4pm. Shit, soup is mostly liquid. New plan. I'll wait to see if I even wake up in the night before I worry.  But like always, it happened. Peeing on the house sounds like a good idea. Yep. I have my cellphone/flashlight in my mouth as I descend the ladder.  Aah, yes. That was much better than holding it, but I bucket would have been nice. And it's not exactly the model of perfect health, which I am promoting. I wonder where my family pees? I've never seen anyone use the latrine. Hmmmm.

Third night. Dehydration totally worked. I feel dry and scale-y but didn't have to pee.

On my last day, I decided to play volleyball (Peruvians love volleyball) with my brothers, sister and uncle. I was wearing my 'rain boots'* and I dove to hit the ball, landed on a rocked, twisted my ankle and collapsed to the ground. I am in pain. It's somewhere between Nancy Kerrigan and Peter Griffin pain. My face contorts in lieu of sound.  Everyone helped me out and was so very helpful, it's hard to describe. But this story isn't about how ridiculously awesome my family is.  It's about my sprained ankle and urinating. I know it's not broken, but everyone is freaking out except me. After a few phone calls, it was settled that I didn't need to go to the hospital. Thank the baby jesus. I sat with it elevated on a tiny chair and drew all afternoon. When it came time to have to pee, I loked at my host mom and asked, "Do you have a bucket for me?" 

Yep. The bucket's the best idea of them all. It takes a different skill set than the latrine which I will master, I'm sure. The bucket came at a hefty price but it came nonetheless. I rested well that night.


  1. It always amazes me how your sense of humor is so resilient that even when crappy stuff happens you find a way to make people laugh. Not that I'm laughing at your misfortune... ah you know what I mean. Hope your ankle feels better soon. Bladder, too. Office ladies are sending love your way :)

    (Random side-note: I start boxing/kick-boxing lessons this weekend! Got any tips?)

  2. yowza, but some ice on that ankle! wait, don't...that will only make you colder.

  3. Yeah, there´s no ice in Peru. Anywhere. :(

  4. You have no ice...we had so much snow yesterday the Metrodome collapsed (seriously).