WARNING: This is a super gross story that will make you barf if you have a weak stomach. It has to do with periods and maxi pads and small, enclosed spaces. And Carl’s Jr.
Think you can handle it? Put down your lunch and read on, my friend.
OK, I come from a very conservative family. When it came to “having talks,” my mom was very reluctant. I remember asking her what a douche was (I was 18!) and she said, “Oh, don’t worry about that now, you’ll learn about that after you get married.” She said that to everything dealing with “down there.” I swear I thought after you get married, you get a handbook on how it all works.
She made it seem like once you slip a wedding ring on your finger, a huge manual falls from the sky onto your lap that explains all those secret, juicy details. You know, they stuff we were forbidden to speak of as kids…and teens…and even 20-year-olds.
Yes, I was 20 when this happened.
So one sunny cheery day, my mom took my younger sister & me to Carl’s Jr to eat lunch. My mom LOVED Carl’s Jr’s, especially the burger that included a giant, crispy onion ring. My period had arrived and I felt queasy, sick and gross. We ordered then slipped into a booth and my mom gleefully set the number sign at the edge of the table. I could practically see her mouth water from the anticipation for her favorite savory lunchtime treat.
I clenched my abdomen and left for the restroom.
I gasped at the sight on my pad. A large gooey glob of… something. Solid. Large. I concluded it had to be a vital organ that had somehow dislodged within my body and slid out. I knew my period involved ovaries, so I figured – OH MY GOD, ONE OF MY OVARIES JUST CAME OUT OF MY BODY!
Frantically and in a state of panic, I slid the entire pad on the floor behind the toilet. I felt severely ill, I could hardly breathe. How many minutes did I have left to live? I managed to drag my wilting body, clawing the walls across the bathroom to make it to the door. I used what little strength and will power for my young life to pry it open. I knew I would pass out any second. Thank God my parents had good health insurance. Who would come to my funeral? What a way to go! I felt like I was going to pass out any second.
I made it out the door to find my mom right there, waiting for me.
“Mary Kathryn, our food is ready, what’s taking you so long?” she said, her face now tense with worry.
“Something came out of me…I think it’s my ovary…” I whispered solemnly.
She shook her head and tried to hide a smirk. “You can’t lose an ovary.”
I patted the sweat from my forehead. “Well, I just did!”
“An ovary is like an arm or a leg,” she whispered shouted, scanning the dining area to see if anyone could hear our weird conversation. “It doesn’t just come off, it’s attached to your body! It’s physically impossible!”
My bottom lip quivered and I begged her to please come in the bathroom so I could show it to her.
Right then, we both watched the perky Carl’s Jr. waitress slide our lunch on the table. Little Theresa grabbed a fry, popped it in her mouth, and waved us over to eat. My mom glanced longingly at the steaming delicious food, then back at me. She asked if I could please wait until we finished eating.
I broke out in a sob. Really? Were the onion ring burgers that good? To choose over your dying daughter?
My mom let out a loud, annoyed sigh. “Ugh. OK, hurry up, come on, let’s go look at it!” she said. Her concern for my health had turned to the all too familiar frustration with me, her dramatic middle child.
We entered the bathroom.
“Please come in the stall with me,” I pleaded.
You know in the slasher flicks when the soon-to-be victim face turns white as they walk unsurely to a door they are not supposed to open? Every ounce of their gut is telling them STOP, but they go anyway? That was my mom. She reluctantly followed me into the metal bathroom stall, her hand pressed on the door, releasing a slow and cryptic creak.
You have to know that my mom and I are not exactly super model thin. In fact, we’re plus size. Both of us managed to squeeze in that tiny stall – almost touching noses. I carefully scrunched down, reached my hand to the floor and felt around the back of the toilet until I found “it.”
I carefully pulled it up the side of my leg and presented it to my mom right under her nose for her to examine it closely.
She took one look, her eyes bulged, and she gagged.
“GET ME OUT!” she screamed as she spun around and grabbed the door’s lock. “LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT! I’m going to throw up! Are you crazy? What the hell is wrong with you?”
Meanwhile, I held the pad over my head with one hand so it wouldn’t touch her. I had no idea what to do next. She screamed and fiddled with the handle until she finally freed herself and bolted out of the bathroom for fresh air.
I contained myself, washed off my tears, fixed my hair and went back to the dining area too. There sat my mom at the table holding her hand over her mouth and staring out the window. Her food, unwrapped on the tray. Untouched. My little sister, Theresa, chowed on her kids meal without a care in the world. “What happened, you guys?”
“Nevermind,” my mom said. She could see that I was sincerely scared and I think she felt bad. “Did you wrap it up?” she asked me.
“Yes” I said shamefully as I hung my head down.
“OK,” she said, pausing. “I guess, just take it home and we’ll have your father look at it, just to be safe.”
“Sorry,” I said.
That night my dad came into my room and told me everything was OK, it was not an organ, and that my mom would explain the business of the inner workings of the female anatomy to me. He exited and my mom shyly arrived next. She sat on the edge of my bed in her hair rollers and polyester bathrobe and served up a long and loving (but still very vague) talk about the female reproductive system. She apologized for freaking out the way she did.
The next morning I did not waste any time. I immediately researched and surveyed all my friends for the dirty details of EVERYTHING. And I vowed if I ever had kids, I wanted to be upfront and honest with them about body parts and how they work.
Different generation, right?
To this day, my poor mom has never stepped foot in a Carl’s Jr! You can’t even mention the name, I don’t think she can even look at the company logo without gagging. But whenever this story comes up, we shake our heads, put our hands over our face and laugh so hard!