By Samantha Wassel of Between the Monkey Bars
A mother of four in Piston, MS was recently admitted to the psychiatric ward of a local hospital after suffering an existential crisis when she found herself peeing alone in the first floor bathroom of her two-story suburban home.
Gina Trichel was perusing Facebook while sitting atop the porcelain throne when she became suddenly aware of “an eerie, unnatural silence” in the bathroom.
“I could actually hear the tinkle,” she said, making a hand motion like the one that accompanies the words “down came the rain” in the Itsy Bitsy Spider song. “And when I looked up from my phone, I was completely alone. Not a single kid in sight. Not even a pudgy little hand wiggling at me from the crack under the bathroom door.
“I even checked behind the shower curtain and inside the vanity: NOTHING. I did find some fruit snacks, though, and they were in pretty decent shape. Just a couple hairs to pluck off, and you could barely taste the mold.”
Once definitively certain that her children—all under age five—were nowhere in the vicinity, Trichel said she sat back down on the toilet to get her bearings and “to finish what [she’d] started.”
“At first I tried to go about business as usual. But then I reached for the toilet paper, and there was no one there flushing while my back was turned. When my ass wasn’t splashed with cold toilet bowl water, it really hit me: I WAS ALONE IN THE BATHROOM.
“I was so shocked I dropped my phone in the toilet. It somehow switched to camera mode on the way down and uploaded the shot to Facebook. So now my profile picture is an empty toilet bowl, which I suppose is appropriate since that’s how I feel inside now—cold and empty. And maybe a little shit-spattered.”
Approaching a state of panic, Trichel ran out to make sure her kids hadn’t been kidnapped, “or worse—found the secret Girl Scout cookie stash.” Unfortunately, she tripped before she made it to the toy room where she’d left the kids when she initially went to pee.
“I didn’t even pull my undies up first,” she said. “They were still around my ankles. At that point, it was just like, who cares? Not this lady! Hell, this lady pees alone! This lady doesn’t give a shit if the neighbors see her overgrown bush through the living room window. So I just left them there—the panties—on top of my feet. Luckily, the kids had been building a massive pillow fort earlier that day, so it was a soft landing when I fell.”
Trichel said she did pee a little on her way down, “because Mom Bladder,” but luckily sustained no serious physical injuries. When she finally got to the toy room, she found her oldest two children sitting on the floor reading while the others napped on a nearby recliner, holding hands.
“That was the final straw,” she said. “I mean, they were quiet. They were behaving. Two of them were NAPPING, for f*ck’s sake. I lost it. It was like: Where am I? Who am I? WHAT am I? Surely not a mom, because what sort of mom ever pisses in peace while her kids quietly entertain themselves?”
Trichel doesn’t remember much of what happened next, but her husband told us he came home from work later that day to find her curled up in the fetal position in a corner of the toy room, humming the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song while the kids pelted her with Duplos.
“I asked what was wrong, but she wouldn’t even look at me,” said Richard Trichel, a bathroom contractor who runs his own private business. “I figured it’d been a stressful day, so I offered to watch the kids while she went downstairs and poured herself a glass of wine. Then she looked at me—REALLY looked at me—and asked, ‘Do I like wine?’ At that point, I knew she needed professional help.”
Doctors in the psychiatric ward of the hospital* where Trichel was admitted immediately diagnosed her as “suffering from a major existential crisis.” They’ve been working diligently to reassure her that she’s still the same person she was before the incident occurred. In addition to intense therapy sessions, she’s also been undergoing “extensive re-potty-training, complete with a Minnie Mouse sticker chart.”
(*Name of hospital is being withheld to protect the family’s privacy.)
By the time of our interview, Trichel was entirely lucid and able to recount details of the event with no outward signs of trauma. However, doctors are continuing to monitor her closely, particularly during bathroom trips.
“Sometimes, she still forgets who she is,” said Dr. Mike Yusane, the lead doctor on Trichel’s case. “She often asks the nurses to accompany her to the bathroom so they can pull her hair and switch the lights on and off while she pees. But we are definitely making progress. In fact, just yesterday, she managed to change her tampon without anyone asking if she was dying or questioning what happened to her ‘peenits.’”
As of press time, Dr. Yusane did not have a projected discharge date to report. However, he was adamant that when Trichel does come home, her husband is to take extreme precautions in order to prevent a relapse.
“We can’t have him doing anything crazy, like wiping toothpaste splatters off the mirror or replacing the toilet paper roll,” he said.
About the Author
Samantha Wassel is a Stay-At-Home Mama to the cutest twin toddlers in the history of all Toddlerdom. When she’s not running her borderline-offensive mouth, she’s running masochistically long distances, often with the aforementioned toddlers in tow. She enjoys reading, writing, baking, marathoning, complaining, photographing, playgrounding, and Ghirardelli Midnight Reverie chocolate bars. Her writing has been featured on Scary Mommy, Club Mid, In the Powder Room, Bluntmoms, and Mamalode. Follow her on Facebook and check out her personal blog, Between the Monkey Bars.