Sela Miller was perplexed—and so was I. She had just emerged from our clinic restroom, specimen in hand. But her urine was far from the bright yellow most people produce.
“So this is what it looks like,” she said, staring at the milky sample. “For weeks I thought something was wrong, but I couldn’t tell for sure.” Then Sela, a Polynesian woman with long, dark hair—the wife of a custom car builder and mother of several youngsters—gave a tiny shrug as if to say, Oh, well.
For a moment I remained quiet. Like Sela, I had never seen anything quite like the opalescent urine now sitting in a sterile screw-top jar on my desk.
Sometimes doctors are secretly grateful when patients underreact. Over my years of practice, specializing in tropical medicine, I had certainly seen patients at the other end of the spectrum. Creative people with fertile imaginations seemed especially prone to panic. Sela—her sci-fi urine notwithstanding—was different.
And so I focused on the job ahead. “I’ll walk this to the lab,” I said, holding the jar in one hand while reaching for a requisition slip with my other.