Re: Stories we Tell by Storywriter - Full & Complete (52 chapters,)
Chapter 10 - [November 15, 2001]
The week and a half following her doctor visit and the Fred Meyer fiascos, time traveled rapidly for Jordan. She knew the deadline for the story competition was approaching quickly and she spent essentially every free moment at home editing and re-editing her story on the desktop computer in her bedroom. Mr. Johns had offered a number of specific instructions and tips on how to improve her work before submission and Jordan had taken his advice to heart. The girl wanted to win.
According to the contest rules, entries had to be printed – double-spaced - in courier font – on single sided white paper – not stapled (but clipped) with a large spring-type paperclip that her mom had to specially pick up at Fred Meyer on another trip. The story was required to have a cover sheet depicting the title and Jordan’s full name as well as page numbers at the bottom of each page. These instructions she had followed perfectly. As she slid the 25pg (or so) document into the crisp yellow envelope, her heart beat with anticipation. The requirement stated that it must be postmarked that day – Thursday, November 15.
I wonder what will happen? Is this the beginning of something big for me? Will they really like it? She thought.
Another deadline was upon Jordan that Thursday afternoon as well. As soon as she and her Mother were to drop the thick envelope off at the post office, the very next stop for the pair was the sleep lab at the University of Washington Medical Center.
“Jordan…are you all packed for the night?” Sally called out from the living room.
“Mom! I’m fine.” She hollered back neatly placing the envelope on the bed next to her black duffle bag.
The envelope was truthfully the only neat looking item in the room – she had scoured the place for the fanciest pajama set she could find as well as her only school uniform set that wasn’t wrinkled – and the aftermath looked like World War III. Jordan might’ve been an introverted bookworm and a bedwetter, but she was still a seventh-grader and didn’t care to look frumpy in front of the medical staff at the hospital. The instructions from the sleep lab said that she was to bring pajamas, her typical toiletries, and clothes for the next day along with any necessary medications. After the night, she would be able to get ready for school at the hospital and head off for her day from there.
Jordan’s two sisters were going to be spending the bulk of the evening with their Dad (and presumably Melissa) while Sally accompanied Jordan to the facility. She would then return to spend the rest of the night at home with the girls while Jordan remained alone at the hospital.
The tall pre-teen wasn’t terribly thrilled with this plan but she didn’t know of another way – Dad certainly isn’t gonna volunteer to come along (and I’m not sure I want him anyways); and I doubt he’s gonna volunteer to help out with the girls all night either. Ugh! I hope ‘nothing’ happens!!
The primary bad news was that as the soon-to-be patient rifled through her room for the best nightwear, it was already 4:15pm, the post office closed at 5:00 on the dot, and her Dad hadn’t yet bothered to show up.
He was supposed to be here by 4!! Jordan fumed. How am I supposed to get my story postmarked in time if we can’t leave?
Completely ready to go (which was unusual), she was also completely anxiety ridden. After years of being let down by her Dad, she didn’t trust him to keep his word – to follow through with promises – to leave work when he said he would – to show up in her life as indicated. Moving her bag and envelope into the family’s tastefully appointed living room, Jordan sat by the door. Waiting. She would’ve counted ticks on the clock had it not been for her siblings joyful play and invitations to join them in their romp around the house. She clearly wasn’t in the mood however.
Minute by minute – second by second – the pre-teen feared her goal of winning the competition was slipping through her fingers. Moment by moment her anxiety grew, fearing all her work would be for naught.
Finally, at 4:41 (exactly), Dad’s black Mercedes pulled up to the curb, Jordan called for her mom and jumped up, dashing for the back door. Almost knocking Mindi over and actually knocking Jen to her padded rear, the girl was on a mission. With one baby crying, another child hollering “foul”, a third begging for her to 'drive!", Sally was flustered as well. She had the added irritation at the slowness with which her husband was moving: still sitting in his fancy black car during the pandemonium inside.
Waiting in the minivan, Jordan was sweating with nervous anxiety – this is gonna kill me I swear. 4:43 now. 4:44 now. It takes at least 10 minutes to get to the post office too; probably more in traffic!
Finally Sally came marching out the back door with tears in her eyes.
“…bastard…” she mumbled almost incoherently as she slammed the door to the weathered minivan.
As they peeled out of the driveway, Jordan didn’t bother asking or speaking. She knew her mom was as frustrated and stressed at her; maybe more.
The two screamed South through Ballard traffic toward downtown Seattle – luckily it was against rush hour so traffic was much less of a concern than Jordan had anticipated. They entered the lot of the Post Office at 4:56 and when all was said and done, the timestamp on the young girl’s envelope read November 15, 4:59pm, Ballard WA.
A flood of relief rushed over her body as she saw it plop into the full mail cart.
I’ve done it. I can’t believe it. I made it. It’s over.
But little did Jordan know, the excitement and festivities for the evening were only just beginning.
That day at school, Jordan had let it accidentally slip to Alex that she was getting tested that night for sleep apnea. The mishap had come when she was explaining how she would be mailing her story right after school. Alex had followed up with a plethora of questions about the details of the mail delivery – and then why exactly Jordan would be getting such a test (she had never heard of the condition before – or of that kind of testing). Jordan had made up a generic excuse that she hadn’t been sleeping well as a cause for possible diagnosis; that she had been waking up a lot during the night and her doctor was concerned that her brain wasn’t gonna develop right. Alex had accepted the explanation and dropped the subject to Jordan’s relief; however she had offered to call Jordan that evening at the hospital to talk. Jordan had negotiated into being the initiator of the call but she still felt super nervous about her friend having any part of this aspect of her life – and the thoughts of it brought her new waves of anxiety as she and Sally worked their way East through traffic toward the “U district” and the hospital.
It was a cold wet evening as usual for this time of year in the northern city of Seattle. When they arrived at the facility shortly after 5:30pm, the sun had been down for almost an hour; it felt like nighttime. Sally parked in the underground lot and the two made their way into the modest but pleasant lobby of the sleep center in the basement level of the hospital. It was a cheery space decorated with lightly colored furniture and fleshy plants – lit with natural looking florescent lights. It almost seemed as though they were outside in the light of day. An unspoken surprise to the pair was how full the waiting room appeared; almost a dozen other people were present conceivably for the same testing as Jordan.
Walking up to the receptionist’s desk, Sally said “This is Jordan Reynolds, she’s one of Dr. Yepp’s patients; she’s here for a sleep study…?”
“Oh yes! Jordan – we’ve been expecting you.” The receptionist smiled. “May I see your hand?” The middle-aged woman held out a patient armband awaiting Jordan’s wrist. The pre-teen girl nervously obliged the request. Two snaps and Jordan’s fate for the evening was sealed; hospital patient for the night.
“As you can see, we have quite a gathering of lucky participants tonight – but not to worry, several new rooms have just been completed and we’ll get you going before you know it. Just take a seat – and Mom,” looking at Sally the receptionist pushed forward a clipboard, “would you fill out this paperwork while you’re waiting?”
“Oh. Sure. No problem.”
“Thank-you. Just bring it to me when you’re done and a technician will call you when we’re ready.”
“Ok.” Said Sally.
The two found a place to sit on a khaki colored leather bench in between a fichus tree and a rather overweight man who sounded as though he was snoring while wide-awake sitting next to them reading a book. Jordan thought he must’ve weighed over 350lbs. As Sally filled out the forms, Jordan’s mind went back to the events of the previous couple months.
She remembered the way her Mom and Dad had treated each other and yelled about her Dad’s work schedule – it had stressed her incredibly and led her to feel totally powerless. She thought about her Dad’s numerous failed promises and the many many many hours spent away from home or at the office – now that she knew he had been spending time with this woman he now was choosing over Mom, the thought of his career made her feel sick to her stomach.
Jordan thought about the way her mom had leaned so hard on her to help with her siblings, clean the house, cook, and well, just grow up – it had made her feel quite alone and unsteady. While some aspects of growing up were enjoyable, adulthood was frightening all-in-all and she still longed to be cared for and nurtured in other ways.
This led her to think of the attacks on 9/11 and how the following night she had wet the bed for the first time. Mom had been so gentle and empathetic with her; almost like she was when she was little. It had been embarrassing to be naked in front of her and everything but it was dreadfully comforting to know she was taken care of at the same time.
She thought about the pride in her work as a writer and the high praises and attention Mr. Johns had given her – it was quite a stark difference from the kind of interest her own father had shown and Mr. Johns wasn’t even related! As Jordan’s mind started navigating down the path of what it would be like to accept the award for ‘best short story’ and read it aloud on the radio, she heard her name called.
“….Reynolds?….Jordan Sandra Reynolds…?” Jordan’s Mom was at the counter handing over the paperwork and had missed the announcement.
“Oh! Right here. I’m here.” Startled, Jordan stood to her feet and looked around the room. She was the only one left in the waiting area. With a slight wave to the technician on the other side of the lobby, she headed in that direction.
The woman smiled but was clearly in a hurry. “Right this way Ms. Reynolds” she said in what sounded like an Indian accent.
“Mom!” Turning, Sally followed her daughter and the technician through the doorway and into a long corridor with large framed pictures of flowers on one side and a series of doorways on the other.
“This is our sleep center. As you can see, we now have 15 labs available on any given night and you’ll be in our newest room this evening – in fact everything in it from the bed to the electronics has been fully remodeled, and you’ll be the trial run. It’s all brand new; state of the art.”
“Wow!” Jordan looked at her Mom genuinely impressed.
At the end of the hallway, the technician pointed to her left and said, “Here we are, room 15. This will be your place for the night. Go ahead and put your things in here, get changed for bed as you normally would and I’ll be back in 10 minutes or so to take you back and get you all wired up for the night. As you can see, you have a TV in here as well as a phone, and the bathroom is just behind the door in here.” The woman was young and of Indian descent with a heavy accent. She pointed out each item and the two saw that the room was indeed brand new – it even smelled it. Rather than appearing like a normal hospital room, it looked much more like a hotel room with thicker carpet, an ordinary looking bed with bedspread, bedside tables, lamps, and all in very trendy décor.
“Oh, by the way, my name is Margaret.” She smiled and shut the door as Jordan plopped onto the bed, back down, feet on the floor.
Hands on her hips, Sally said “Jordan you heard what the lady said, get your PJs on!”
The young girl reluctantly sat up and began rummaging through her bag and then traipsed off to the bathroom to change. Just before she emerged, the female technician returned knocking on the door and popping her head in.
“Hi is she ready yet?”
“Just about…” Sally rolled her eyes and the two smiled warmly.
Just then Jordan emerged from the bathroom in a cute snugly fitting cotton pajama set featuring tiny pink and blue flowers all over and simple satin bows, one each on the neckline and waist. Her feet were clad with pink fleece slippers and she had put her long hair into a loose braid.
“All ready to go Jordan?” Margaret asked.
“Now – one more thing before we head back to wire you up for the study. Your chart says that the reason we’re doing the study is because of some sudden but unresolved Nocturnal Enuresis is that correct?”
“What?” Jordan asked.
“You’ve been wetting the bed…correct?”
Taken aback and embarrassed now, Jordan said, “…Um…er…yeah…I guess…”.
“Well we usually don’t say anything about this but I need to ask – you are wearing your…protection…right now…yes?”
“…w…w…what?” she said, turning bright red.
“Your notes say that you’ve been using absorbent pads to manage it at night – are you wearing one right now – for tonight?”
A bead of sweat formed on her forehead. She fidgeted in her fancy pajamas. “…um… n…n…nooo…I…I…I…didn’t th…th…think I…I needed to…s…since we…since this…was a hospital……y….y…ya know….D….Dr. Yepp s…s…said…you see this kinda thing…a…a….all the time….”
Jordan replied mortified. Please don’t let this be happening right now – Please – please…
“Well normally you’d be right dear. Many many people who get evaluated in our labs struggle with the same kind of issue you’ve been having – kids, adults, big, small, you name it. And our facilities are each prepared for this kind of problem – beds are all outfitted with protective covers and the like. However, the problem is that we’re completely packed to the brim tonight and they’ve got you assigned to this brand new room that has just been completed today as I said – and the maintenance people haven’t had the mattress and pillows fitted with the proper protection yet. I’m sorry to have to be so blunt with you… But we’d like you to wear your normal sleepwear from home, just to protect our new furniture. Is that alright dear?”
Margaret was honest and forthright in her request – and it made sense. A flicker of hope danced into Jordan’s shame ridden mind however. Maybe I can get out of this then…
“…W….Well…that makes sense I guess Margaret…B…But ya see…I didn’t know and so I…I didn’t bring any of my GoodNites with me…”
“Oh I see. Hmm. Well that shouldn’t be a problem. We have many of the very same products here available at the hospital. I’ll get you something for tonight and then we’ll get you wired up. Ok?”
Jordan felt defeated. I have to wear…a GoodNite…In front of all these strangers?!? And I picked out my cutest pajamas to wear too! There’s no way people are not gonna notice that thing! They’re thick!
Margaret exited the room leaving mother and daughter alone once again.
“Mooom!! Do something!” The twelve year old whined.
“Jordie what do you want me to do? This is what we’re here for and I wouldn’t want you to wreck our furniture at home either. You should’ve brought your own stuff. I asked you several times at home if you were all packed…what do you you think I meant? I’m sorry but this is nothing to be embarrassed about. Really. Margaret or the doctor or any of the medical staff aren’t going to be talking to or telling anyone you know about your condition – in fact, you probably will never see them or hear from them again. They’re professionals and they will deal with this professionally.”
Tears started welling up in Jordan’s eyes as it became clear that her Mom wouldn’t save her. She sat on the edge of the bed awaiting her fate.
Just five minutes later, Margaret returned with a couple rather large looking plastic diapers in her hands. They were purple in color, appeared very thick, and were two different sizes. Looking more at Sally the technician said, “Typically our patients down here bring their own supplies but the hospital stocks pretty nice quality incontinence products. I grabbed one of each size, small and medium, because I don’t know what she wears but here you go.” She handed the diapers to Sally.
“Well she usually just wears a Pull-up, not a full blown diaper. Don’t you have something a little less…” then whispering, “…juvenile?”
“Look Mrs. Reynolds. I’m really sorry you forgot your own supplies at home but we need to get this show on the road. No one cares what patients wear around the hospital. Half of them are wearing gowns with no backs and their rear-ends hanging out. We’ve literally seen it ALL before. Please get one of these on her so we can get the probes hooked up.”
“Ok. Sure. Can you give us a minute?”
“I’ll wait outside the door.” Margaret exited a second time.
“Alright Jordan, I think I need to help you with this – you haven’t had one of these on since you were 2 ½.”
Turning to her daughter holding the size small (but quite substantial) purple adult diaper, Sally noticed it had some kind of odd double-blue taping system and very soft plastic as opposed to the cloth outer cover all her kids’ diapers and pull-ups had at home.
Already crying steadily, Jordan sat completely frozen at the end of the bed. She could hardly process what was about to happen to her.
Sally gently walked over to her twelve year old daughter clad in flowers and bows and touched her shoulder, “Lay back dear.”
Red faced and sobbing, Jordan slowly leaned back and her mother helped her. “Ok scoot back up on the bed a little bit honey…”, Sally whispered tenderly near her daughter’s ear. Jordan slowly pushed back, eyes still blurry with tears and barely open.
A knock came on the door. “Just a second please!” Sally barked.
From the side of the bed, Sally leaned over and reached around Jordan. Grasping the waistband of the girl’s pajama pants and panties she said, “Lift your bum Jordie.” The distraught girl obeyed and sally pulled the clothing down to her fuzzy slippers.
Exposed now and vulnerable in a way she hadn’t been in a decade, Jordan continued to softly cry. The level of shame for what was happening to her was at the top of the charts. Yet – at the same time – the gentle way her mom touched and tender words she spoke to her were calming. A strange part of Jordan that she never could’ve verbalized or even understood at the moment – didn’t want the moment to end.
Standing now at the foot of the bed near Jordan’s feet. Sally began unfolding the purple diaper. She stretched it out, “Ok baby lift your bum for me.” Eyes closed and hands at her sides, Jordan was truthfully paying rather careful attention to the sensations around her privates. Sally slid the disposable garment under her teenage daughter and centered it. “Honey mamma needs you to spread your legs apart a little more,” Sally whispered.
A look of shock formed on Sally’s face as her daughter obeyed. “Oh dear Jordan, you’ve got a really bad rash developing! Why didn’t you tell Momma about this? We need to get this taken care of tonight…poor baby…this is gonna get bad…haven’t you been hurting down there?”
Fresh tears poured out of Jordan’s cheeks as fresh waves of shame emanated through her body. She had been feeling more and more burning and discomfort over the past few days in that area and every time she had felt a sting it had reminded her of her secret. The more it had hurt, the more she had felt bad about herself. The immature girl had simply assumed that the rawness was just the normal plight all bedwetters suffered.
Laying the front flap of the diaper on Jordan’s crotch and tummy, Sally called for Margaret to come back in. “Margaret I’m sorry to delay this any longer but can you by chance get me some kind of diaper rash cream?”
Noticeably frustrated, Margaret replied “Mrs. Reynolds we are really pushing it here – let me check with the nurse and see if we have anything down here in the lab. If not, we need to move on.” She scurried off.
This left mother and daughter alone again with Jordan still in tears.
“I’m sorry honey – I just want to make sure we get this cleared up – we don’t want you to walk around in pain do we?”
Her mom was being beyond sweet – and it had been really hurting her. As she lay there on the bed in such an exposed state, Jordan once again began thinking about the recent events in her life: the fighting, her dad, the attack, the pressure to grow up, the bedwetting… She couldn’t quite put her finger on it but the weirdest sense of peace began to creep over her as she thought about her Mom. Somehow being cared for in this way – somehow the diaper laying underneath her – was…calming?. Of course she couldn’t have put any of those feelings into words or even accepted them as hers at that moment; but they were never the less there, hidden or not.
Margaret was back after what seemed like 30 seconds. “I found this.” She said handing a white tube to Sally. This not leaving the room but just standing by the bed and waiting.
“Oh thanks.” Jordan’s Mom opened it and dispensed a liberal amount on two fingers on her right hand. “Honey I’m going to put some of this on you down there ok? I’ll help you feel better but it might sting at first.”
But quickly the cream turned to soothing on her delicate skin. The odor was strong – distinctive – yet curiously full of memory as it took her back to another time and another place. Still quietly crying, Jordan was hardly aware of time.
After washing her hands, Sally was back to finish the job. Pulling the purple diaper up between her daughter’s legs, she snugged each lower edge around each leg and taped the tapes before moving to the upper ones across the helpless girl’s midsection. Jordan continued to lay there splayed out, pajama pants around her ankles, diaper snugly in place, head rested on its side, and eyes closed.
“Ok Jordie,” Sally said as she pulled on Jordan’s hands by her sides, “Up we go.” Jordan perked up a bit, opened her red puffy eyes. Looking down, she didn’t respond to the thick purple diaper between her legs. She scooted off the end of the bed and then standing up, allowed her mom to pull her panties and then pants up over the generous soft plastic diaper. They just barely stretched over it.
So much for cute pajamas, she thought, zapping out of her trancelike state.
The diaper was much much thicker between her legs than the GoodNites she had been accustomed to over the past dozen nights. As she swayed a bit standing in front of her mom, it made her feel strangely but ineffably safe.
“Alright sweetie, I need to go home and take care of your sisters, I’m already late. You’re gonna be just fine tonight and I’ll be back first thing in the morning.”
Almost like a toddler, Jordan’s soft crying began once more.
Hugging her daughter she said, “Listen Jordie, you’re gonna be just fine ok?”
Hugs and kisses continued before Sally patted her on the padded rear on her way out the door.
“Alright Jordan. Let’s get to work.” Margaret finally said as if waiting to say it for 10 years.
It was a little after 7 by the time Jordan’s mom had left for home and it was a little after 8 before all the wires, monitors, diodes, and glue were properly attached. Jordan had been shocked by the complexity of the process – and also continually embarrassed by its invasiveness. Margaret had to run leads through her pants, right over her diaper, brushing against it in the process. She had run them up through her shirt, brushing against her developing chest as well. She even had GLUED leads into her hair (!?!).
The long walk from the setup room to her sleep room #15 was rather well traversed in the middle of the night and Jordan had felt as though her crinkly rear end was echoing throughout the universe. The snug pajamas accentuated the outline of her diaper and her top was designed to allow the cute waistline of the bottoms to be seen – thus allowing the top of her diaper to be relatively easily visible to passers by.
With dozens of wires hanging from her head, neck, chest, and waist, Jordan was instructed back in her room to lie down on her bed and await further instructions. Margaret had said that it could be up to an hour before anything happened: she could watch TV or make phone calls in the meantime.
Jordan used the opportunity to keep her promise to Alex.
“Jordan is that you?”
“Hi – yeah – it’s me. Sorry I’m calling so late.” Jordan said.
“Oh it’s ok, I was beginning to think you weren’t gonna call…”
“Yeah…we had some…um…complications here and so it took a little longer than expected to get me ready for the test.”
“Oh – like what?” Alex asked with genuine curiosity.
Crap – that was a bad thing to say… she thought. “Um – well they put me in this brand new room; they’re kind of like hotel rooms and so it took a little bit longer…”
“What? It’s like a hotel? I thought you were in the hospital? And why would a new room make it take longer?” Alex wasn’t trying to dig Jordan into a hole – she was simply trying to talk to her friend about the experience.
Oh no…crap…! What should I say now???…. A long silence ensued…. What should I do? What should I say?…think think think…
The pregnant silence simply grew…
“You there Jordan?” Alex asked…
Should I just tell her? I guess she’s probably gonna find out at some point anyways… AAAAGHHHGH!!!
“Yeah I’m here Alex…Ok –- so this is hard…” Her heart was now beating out of her chest once again.
“What’s hard Jordan? I just asked you about the room you’re staying in… You’re not gonna tell me you have cancer or that you’re dying or something are you? Because if you do and you tell me over the phon—”
“ALEX!!” Jordan interrupted, “I don’t have cancer… Just let me talk please…I haven’t really told you about why I’m here because I’m embarrassed; and I’m scared. And I want to tell you because you’re my friend but I’m still afraid that if I do, maybe you won’t want to be my friend anymore… And I don’t have that many friends… And I don’t know what I’d do if you didn’t want to be my friend and it’s so scary and I j…j…just don’t know what I’d do…” She began crying again.
“Jordan – Calm down. We’re best friends. Think about how many secrets I’ve told you about my life. How can you possibly tell me something that’s gonna make me wanna ditch you? Relax Girl!”
She has a point I guess, Jordan thought to herself.
“Well…I have to take this test here tonight because I’ve been…I’ve been…I…I…well…I…I…wet the bed….”
“…that’s it?…seriously?! I wet the bed til I was like 8! Half the boys in our class still wet the bed. Jordan – if that’s your only secret, you’ve got smooth sailing ahead. Seriously. That’s it? Really?”
“That’s not all, the last few weeks, my mom has made me wear a pull-up to bed.”
“Oh my! A Pull-up! Ain’t no one ever worn one of those for bedwetting…!!” Alex began poking fun at Jordan’s intensity…
“…And tonight – they made me wear this big thick purple diaper here in the hospital and I had to walk down the hall with it under my pajamas and everyone saw it…!”
“Really?! I wanna see that sometime!”
“KIDDING – I’m kidding Jordan. Seriously though – everyone who wets the bed wears pull-ups or diapers. It’s just what happens.”
“Ok listen. You know how I was telling you about how bad my Dad has been to my mom and I?…….Well I’ve actually had to go to the hospital quite a few times after that stuff – not like for stuff he did to my physically or whatever – for my head…”
“Oh?” Jordan hadn’t known about this.
“Remember how I like freaked out after 9/11? Well that was minor compared to some of the other times it’s happened. And when I’ve had to go to hospital, they take me to the psychiatric area and they give me these drugs that knock me out and I always wake up wearing a diaper and I’ve peed everywhere… I never can remember anything that’s happened but I know I’ve had to go to the hospital like 3 times so far and every time I wake up the same way.”
“Really Alex?” She thought she may have been lying to help her feel better.
“Jordan why would I make something like that up?”
“It just feels so embarrassing to have this problem – and to be wearing this…” Jordan instinctively put her free hand on the front of the diaper.
“I’m really sorry Jordan. I’m sure it isn’t fun – in fact I know it’s not – but I’m sure it won’t last forever. AND YOU’RE NOT ALONE!!”
“So do you still wanna be my friend?” Jordan sheepishly but honestly asked.
“Jordan! Of course! How could you ask me that?”
“Just checking…and thanks…Oh – the nurse is coming back; I gotta go.”
“K – night-night sweet pea.”
Jordan was a little irritated by that term of endearment even if it was spoken in jest. This is not a funny situation – and I’m not a baby!!!