How I Came to Wander the Halls of the Hospital Carrying a Tupperware Full of My Own Pee (or: The Spinach is a Lie)

So, you all know that I had a rather unfortunate run-in with some kidney stones last January/early February. Had to have surgery, had terrible post-op pain, you know the deal.

So, anyway, I had a whole bunch of followup procedures and stuff (such as collecting 24 hours’ worth of my urine – twice), which culminated in an appointment with a nephrologist (kidney specialist) today.

Our preferred hospital (wherein the nephrologist is located) is rather … sprawling.

A multi-building campus, with a crap ton of levels and divisions within those buildings … it’s big. It’s a little hard to navigate, especially if what you’re looking for is the extremely obscure pediatric nephrology suite.

This is what you need to know for this story.

So, the nephrology people sent a letter ahead (first of all, it was a letter. Who even uses those anymore?) that said they needed a collection of all of my first-thing-in-the-morning urine on the day of my appointment.

It need not be in a sterile urine container, they said. Just put it in something and bring it.

Um … okay?

So, I did. This morning, I peed into a tupperware that we were okay never seeing again.

I then put that tupperware into a brown grocery bag. Because, yes, I may have to carry my pee around in public places, but the public didn’t have to know that I was carrying my pee around.

My mother and I parked in the parking garage for pediatric specialties. Because we were going to pediatric nephrology, which is, in fact, a specialty. In pediatrics.

Firstly, we got turned around and ended up clear in the wrong wing, so we asked for directions – much to my dismay – and got headed to pediatric specialties. We’re already late at this point.

But once we get into the pediatric specialties wing, it turns out pediatric nephrology doesn’t even live there. It lives in the Doctor’s Building. Across campus.

So the nice receptionist in pediatric specialties draws us a map.

As soon as we get into the hall, my mom and I immediately started arguing about which way the map was really telling us to go. So, I commandeered the map. Because I was really super sure that I was right.

(For the record, I was. I navigated us right to the right place.)

So we took an inadvertent grand tour of the hospital. I think we legitimately walked to every single place in the hospital before we got to where we were going.

We were half an hour late to our appointment.

I would like you to keep in mind that throughout this whole odyssey, I was carrying a brown plastic bag. Within that bag, there rested a tupperware. Within that tupperware, there was my own urine.

I don’t know if you’re picking up on my mild disgust at the situation.

Anyway, we had the appointment.

It was fine. Apparently I make calcium-oxalate kidney stones. To help prevent them, I need to drink water, which we already knew. But I also need to reduce my salt intake, because when the kidney processes sodium it excretes an equal amount of calcium, and I need to not eat oxalate foods. These foods include:

-Tree nuts



and, wait for it,


Spinach! I know, right? Here’s this “superfood” that my household (and society) has been pushing for years because of it’s high-fiber and high-vitamin K levels, and it’s been causing me intense pain!

The timeline for when spinach has been involved in, like, all of the dinners in my household and my kidney stone history is pretty dang parallel, too.

So, no more spinach.

Don’t eat spinach.

It is a lie.

You think it’s good for you, but it will only hurt you.

Other greens are fine, though. It’s only spinach that’s a heavy-hitter in the oxalate field.

So, that is all.

I hate collecting my pee.

And spinach will betray you.

2 thoughts on “How I Came to Wander the Halls of the Hospital Carrying a Tupperware Full of My Own Pee (or: The Spinach is a Lie)

  1. Ooh, the spinach IS a lie…but so is the rhubarb, which is kinda depressing, ’cause rhubarb, man.


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