What Lies Within

toilet 2

After months of completely neglecting this blog I suddenly feel compelled to write about stools!

You know you’ve hit a truly marvellous stage of life when you have to be concerned about what’s coming out the other end. Couldn’t I just skip this part? (At my own peril, I suppose) It now seems that the annual physical at the doctor will require a sample. Oh, for the blissful bygone days of anonymous movements!

The last time I had to care about anyone’s bm was when one of my children, as a toddler, swallowed a penny. The doctor wanted proof that it had passed. It was my job to forensically find the buried treasure. I did, but I’ve never been the same.

Naturally, nobody wants to dwell on doo-doo. Once it’s out we want it gone..as soon as possible. No toilet flush is strong enough. No outhouse drop is deep enough.

If you haven’t faced the prospect of this most daunting harvest let me tell you how simple it’s become. In fact, I’d like to nominate the individual or laboratory team that has pared down the process for a Nobel prize.

When you go to a lab they give you the ‘kit’. This consists of your data sheet, a piece of biodegradable paper and a small vial containing a little plastic sample stick. The lab technician explains how it works…which has to be one of the most awkward seminars in history. Basically, they want the tiniest scintilla of stool. Just a little dab’ll do ya. The people who have to test this stuff as part of their job must have had a big party when they saw how little they now had to deal with. I can’t imagine what it was like before. Like a scene out of Borat, I guess. Technology has truly saved the day.

Despite the fact that you get a stool lecture and a complete instruction sheet (featuring anthropomorphic, cartoon-like humanoid figures who are sampling their stools)  you just know that there are many people who will screw this up. Too much. Too little. It get’s contaminated if it hits the water in the toilet bowl. I wonder what the world record is for negating a stool sample.  Do they cut you off after the 5th ill-fated attempt? If you can’t handle an allen wrench this might be a challenge.

It is possible for your sample to expire. You have to get it back to the lab within a week…but, don’t worry, they recommend keeping it in the fridge to preserve its…what? Goodness? Stoolability? What section of the fridge would be most appropriate? The cheese drawer?

The best part of the kit, for me, is the list of Frequently Asked Questions. I’m sure, people who work in medical labs sit around at cocktail parties and regale each other with what they heard this week. The FAQ’s generally centre around quantity and quality but there is one that is my true favourite : Can the test be mailed back by Canada Post?

Not unless you’re trying to make a statement.


8 Responses to “What Lies Within”

  1. Funny post Dave! Thanks for the laughs:) Nice to see you blogging again.

  2. Your precise and gross description of this procedure has today, made me chuckle and actually put a smile on my face. (Much needed)….. Thank you for your, always funny blog entries !!!

  3. Sandra and Grier Goldsby Says:

    Dave, On Monday I saw an ad for a recliner covered in camouflage fabric (and wondered if it came with a pocket for a gun) and thought that was my big laugh for the week. And then…I read your last blog. Definitely one of my favourite so far.
    Grier and I have missed you on CTV. Hurry back.
    Shouldn’t you and Angie join us again this year on the lanai at H107 in Maui?

  4. Hi Dave:

    We have been long-time fans, since we worked in Kitchener and you were with CKCO TV.

    Both of us are lab techs and we read your latest blog with glee. You are correct. We do talk about these things but not so much at cocktail parties as at meal breaks. I have to tell you that you got off easy. There is a test that involves a paint can and three days. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks. When our son was in elementary school he rejoiced in the fact that dad worked with poo and mom worked with pee. It’s not so bad and it puts food on the table, so it may be stool to you but it’s bread and butter to us.

    Thanks so much for the laughs over the years. Keem ’em coming.

  5. I’m going to West Montrose today to see the only covered bridge left in Ontario – no Maui for me today, although I’m sure that would be wonderful – I think it is kind of funny that it took this “test” for being compelled – makes me wonder what you’d be thinking about mammograms, if you had to be subject to that – I know, I know, there are other tests that men are subject to, but still, your take on a mammogram would probably make me laugh so much, that it would make my next test seem not so much to handle – You’re THE BEST (!!!) Dave, imho – laughter is the best medicine, as many of us know.

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