So many awful thoughts flooded into my mind at once. Like a dam had burst and all the water rushed out. Except that my brain put up a 2nd barrier that had just enough of an opening to let my sense of reason out so that as my tongue felt the texture it screamed (it would have if it could have) to SPIT THIS SLIMY,THICKISH and GROSS THING OUT!
The brain really is amazing. Aside from spitting and thinking OMG - WHAT is this? At lightening speed I simultaneously felt repulsion, panic, fear, anger and shock. The image of the unfriendly man who gave me my coffee appeared. I was sure he sabotaged my coffee and that a crime had been committed. I felt violated! I was thinking semen! I was thinking phlegm! I didn't know what to think! I was thinking disease. I was thinking T.B. and Aids! ( I knew the aids virus is fragile, but still!) I was thinking hepatitis! I was thinking this isn't good! I thought I would vomit! The moment was surreal. Everything happened quickly, yet was simultaneously in slow mo.
I didn't utter a sound. I quickly put the lid back on the cup containing the mystery mass. I gathered my shopping bags and my purse, got out of the car and locked the doors. As I was walking to the door, every thought that was jammed up in my brain wanted to burst through, announced 1st with a primal scream that probably would've reverberated off the mountains.
Instead, I stepped inside and smiled , saying "Hi Honey" to my husband who was sitting in the family room watching TV. I turned away from him, packages in tow and laid them on the kitchen table. I then (while in total silence contained my emotions) proceeded to get a small metal baking strainer. You know, the kind you might use to sift some powdered sugar. I took the strainer along with a disposable plastic cup and the cup of whatever and headed for the bathroom. On the way I smiled and said hi to my son who was watching TV in the living room. I was on a mission and I was scared. I was afraid of what I was going to see.
I closed the bathroom door behind me. I took the lid off the cup and poured it's contents into the strainer which I had sitting over the plastic cup. I really thought I would be ill when I saw this collection of something, but I couldn't make it out because it had taken on the coffee color.
I went back out to the kitchen to get a toothpick, still in silence not letting on to my family what I was feeling. When I got back in the bathroom, I proceeded to poke at the "mass of whatever" and it was slimy. I could stretch it a bit, like bodily secretions can be stringy, sort of. I wanted to run water over it but I didn't want to compromise it in any way. So, instead, I obsessively (and feeling queasy) tried to figure out what it was by letting it slide back and forth between the cup and the strainer. I gave up. I threw the strainer in the garbage, picked up the sealed mystery cup and brought it with me into in our bedroom.
I proceeded to make a phone call. I wanted to get it analyzed by a lab. So, I called a local hospital but not the one I was working in.
I loved the people I worked with. My coworkers would be empathetic and the lab would help me if they could. However, they also have wonderful senses of humor. So do I - says me! But this event was ripe for the picking. They would not be able to resist teasing me. I am someone that can always see humor in all kinds of situations. I get the black humor when things are going really bad at work. If you don't crack a joke to break the tension - you'll crack. However, I was in no mood whatsoever to be teased and I knew the jokes would fly and so that is why I called a different hospital.
The lab tech said they couldn't do anything and that I should call the police or my doctor. Normally, I would've known that the lab can't just do a test because someone off the street requests it - that they need an order, but I was thinking crime and I wanted to get it analyzed! Ok, maybe I had seen one too many CSI's - but I wanted to know!
So, I called that town's police department, which happened to be the town that the Kentucky Fried Chicken was located in. The officer listened to the whole story but then said I would have to call the State Police Because the business was under their jurisdiction.
I called the state Police barracks and after listening to the whole story (everyone wanted to hear what happened) that officer told me to call the county Public Health Department.
I was still containing my emotions and every vile thought
I called the Public Health Department. After a couple of transfers, I finally get the right person, a nurse, who after hearing the whole story (which is now building because I am now relaying the order of people/agencies called.) tells me I should call my private doctor.
I called my PMD's office and thank God I got them because it was the end of the day and they were about to turn their phones off. I now relay the whole story to his nurse, who then has me hold for the doctor.
(It was not helping me when after telling the story, that everyone recoiled at the thought(including the men) and I could easily visualize the look of disgust through the phone based on the intonation of their voices.
No - their collective rxn was causing my internalized horror to exacerbate to the phobic side of the fearometer!)
My PMD is wonderful and I am blessed to have him for my doctor.
As I began to tell him what happened - I broke down like a little girl, sobbing. I was desperately trying to tell him everything through my tears and wavering sobs. He is a patient and reassuring doctor and he didn't react with repulsion, which helped me immensely. He's one of those doctors that you know really cares and he looks out for you. His British accent doesn't hurt either. Although, believe me, at the time I wasn't thinking about his British accent!
He told me to refrigerate it and to bring a sample in to his office the next day and he would send it out.
Still in the bedroom - I was able to regain my composure and I decided to call our lab - the lab in the hospital I worked in. I had to know about this thing that was in my mouth. Maybe they could at least rule out SOMETHING, ANYTHING!
After AGAIN telling the entire story, the wonderful tech said to bring it in, call him when I got there and they would take a look at it and they would do it on the side and no one would know.
(Even though I am digressing a bit, I will say that one of the perks in working in the hospital has always been getting pregnancy tests and Ua's for free or finding out about lab results before even the doctor's knew. My OB Dr. called my house one nite for something and he asked me for the results of my glucose tolerance test when he heard that I had my own printout. Of course, now the rules are more stringent since from even a few years ago - so I don't think that could happen anymore.)
I had regained my composure and I took the now specimen - evidence back out to the kitchen. I divided it up, placing each half in separate zip lock bags and refrigerated them. I took the cup (Thinking forensics could always analyze the cup if they had to - seriously!) and put that in a bag and stashed it in our bedroom closet.
Next, I went out to the family room to tell my husband. In retrospect, his expression was both priceless and alarming! He tried to reassure me, but I could see by the look on his face that he didn't believe what he was saying, so he didn't help. (Maybe if he had a British accent! Just kidding - I really was not thinking about accents at that time.) The truth is I couldn't be consoled. If you had that stuff in your mouth - you would understand! I had rehashed the entire story and it would've been ad nauseam if it were not for the fact that I HAD to get dressed for work. My eyes were puffy and I was totally drained, but you have to do what you have to do.
After getting ready for work (make up is a gift from heaven) I grabbed the specimen, stashed it in my purse and drove up to the hospital.
To be continued....