What Would You Do if You Got a Bladder Infection …in the Middle of the Night …in the Middle of the Desert …on a Train?

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Ok, the women (and married men) may appreciate this story a bit more than others..but, I think, only slightly.

What would you do if you got a bladder infection …in the middle of the night …in the middle of the desert …while on a train?

If you know anything about bladder infections, you know that they can come on fast and furious, and put a woman in agony within a few hours of hitting if they aren’t nipped in the bud.

Get one in the evening and if you are unfortunate enough to have to wait until the morning to get some medicine, you are unlikely to sleep much, and by morning you may be doubled over in pain.

My prospects were even worse. On a train bound for Denver – in the middle of the desert in Nevada – in the middle of the night, it hit me.

We were 24 hours out from our destination.

With absolutely no rest stops, let alone layovers, on the way.

The only option was to either be put off at one of the way-stops which would (hopefully) have a pharmacy, and catch the next train 24 hours later, or…to not.

But, getting off at the next stop …in the middle of the desert …in the middle of the night …in the middle of nowhere, wasn’t actually an option – even were I alone, as I’m on my way to co-lead a workshop, so I need to arrive on time, not a day late. And with our son along, it was completely out of the question.

I gritted my teeth and gamely put our son to bed, all the while dreading the storm ahead of me, wondering if I could possibly ride it out until morning.

You women know what I mean.

You men? Well, imagine getting kicked in that certain sensitive area. Hard. While laying prone. Every 5 minutes. All night.

As soon as I tucked our son in, I frantically messaged my husband, who is flying out to meet us in Denver.

“SOS,” read the messages, “please bring my bladder infection medicine with you.”

“And a stretcher.”

Because, by the time we got to Denver, I knew I would barely be able to move.

It was 9:30pm, and my husband wasn’t answering. Probably packing for the trip, or already in bed.

My mind numb with worry and increasing pain, I barely heard the conductor making some announcement about how it would be the last announcement of the night before all the crew went to bed, and..something about a fast smoke break in Winnemucca (Nevada) in about 45 minutes.

“Hmm..,” I thought, “I wonder what the odds are that there is an all night pharmacy in Winnemucca?”

I immediately dismissed the thought from my mind, as even if there were an all night pharmacy in Winnemuca, unless it was right next to the train station, I would have no way to get to it. Especially during the five minutes that the train would be there.

And if you’ve ever seen an Amtrak station, you know that they don’t tend to be in the same parts of town as are the all-night pharmacies.

So I dismissed the thought from my mind.

And then my bladder bludgeoned it back in.

So I thought about Winnemucca some more.

“What if I could convince a taxi to go to the pharmacy, pick up an over-the-counter bladder infection remedy, and meet me at the train?”

“Do they even have taxis in Winnemucca?”

“I’m sure they won’t have an all night pharmacy.”

I begin to Google pharmacies in Winnemucca.

I thank God for my Macbook, my Cingular phone with the unlimited Internet access and for the bluetooth which lets me use the latter as a modem for the former. And for the fact that I miraculously have signal in the middle of the night, in the middle of the desert, in the middle of a train.

Googling pharmacies in Winnemucca turns up exactly one pharmacy (closed), an Albertson’s, and a Raley’s supermarket.

Now my mind is racing. I’m already in a lot of pain and it’s only been an hour since this thing hit. 3 hours from now I’ll be in agony – what 24 hours from now will be like is too horrible to even contemplate. I’m a desperate woman.

I Google the address of the Amtrak station in Winnemucca.

I Mapquest how long it takes to get from Albertson’s to the Winnemucca train station.

Three minutes.


I dial the number for Albertson’s.

The number has changed. Oh, great.

I dial the new number.

“Hello, Corey’s,” says the voice on the other end of the line.

Great, just great. I’ve reached someone’s house.

“Hello, uh, this isn’t Albertson’s?”

“Oh, it used to be, but now we’re Khoury’s.”


“Oh, great. Uh..how late are you open?”

“We’re open until 11:00.”

Now I realize I have no idea what time it is, because we are either just about to be – just in the middle of – or just finishing – crossing into another time zone.

As I said, I’m a desperate woman.

“Ok, this is going to sound crazy, but can you please tell me what time it is?” (Oh please oh please oh please don’t think I’m some drunk raving lunatic.) “You see, I’m on a train,” (Oh yeah, for sure..raving lunatic) …”and I’m not sure what time zone we are in, but we are near Winnemucca.”

“It’s…uh…hang on..hey Cees, what time is it?”

“Wait!” I say, “It doesn’t really matter..just..” (I look at my watch – it’s either 9:55 or 10:55 right now) …”are you closing in a few minutes, or in about an hour?”

“In about an hour.”


I am a desperate woman, crazed with pain.

I fully formulate the plan.

I take a deep breath.

“Uh..ok..uh…I know you’ll understand because you’re a woman..umm…do you carry the over-the-counter medicine for bladder infections?”


“Bladder infections – some stores have over-the-counter medicine for that.”

“Let me get my manager. It’s ok, she’s a woman too. So she’ll understand too.”

Great. Pass the raving loony lady on to the manager. I’d do the same.

“Hello, this is Cici.”

“Hi Cici, do you have the over-the-counter medicine for bladder infections?”

“For what?”

“Bladder infections..you know..” (Think, Anne, think…) …”urinary tract infections! It would be where the other stuff for..uh..female problems is.”

“Oh, right! Yes, those little red pills.”


“Yes! Yes! The little red pills!”

“Yes, we have those.”

Ok, that was the easy part, now to get them to me.

“Ok, this is going to sound completely crazy, but you see I’m on the train headed to Denver,” (Oh, please don’t hang up) …”and I just got a bladder infection, and I really need this medicine, and we’re about to pull in to Winnemucca..but I only have five minutes, and…” (Ohmygawd what if when they became Khoury’s they moved???) …”and, uh…do you know where the train station is? Are you close to it?”

“Yes, we’re just a few minutes away.”


“And..and..um.. ..if I could call a taxi, and they could pick it up and maybe bring it to the station…or..I know you’re closing soon and if you are really close maybe one of your employees could just bring it by..I’d pay them..I mean, extra for making the delivery and..”

By this point I am absolutely raving because I’m not only a desperate woman crazed with pain, but I actually think maybe there is some hope that this somehow, maybe..could work…

“Sure, I could have someone bring it to you.”

“You can???”


(That’s actually what I said.)

“You will?? Ohmygosh…THANK YOU!!!”

..”And could you maybe have them bring a gallon of cranberry juice too?”

And, they did.

Pretty amazing story, huh?

Khoury’s of Winnemucca, and Cici, and the guy who delivered it whose name I didn’t get but to whom I was happy to give what I hope was a generous tip…


Manna from Winnemucca


Two months later, our son and I drove from California to the Denver area. On the way, we made a pilgrimage to Winnemucca, where we stopped and bought flowers, and delivered them to Cici at Khourys, to thank her for saving the crazy lady on the train. She looked touched – or perhaps she thought that I was.

1 thought on “What Would You Do if You Got a Bladder Infection …in the Middle of the Night …in the Middle of the Desert …on a Train?

  1. Well GOOD! Very ingenious! You succeeded!

    Your comment style reminds me of a certain Willie Nelson song…

    “On a train bound for Denver.
    In the middle of the desert,
    In the middle of the night”

    Sorry, not trying to make light of it. But there is some truth to the sound…

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