It’s important but you hate to deal with it….

Depending on your gag reflex this may be a topic you just don’t want to read about: Collecting stool samples. I had to deal indirectly with it last week. My 91-year-old dad went to his doctor and she was concerned about his hemoglobin levels so she requested the old fecal matter inspection. That means you get a lovely little kit in a plastic bag that contains a tube. In the tube is I guess you call it a dipstick. There is also a sort of gauze in the bag so that it will absorb any collateral damage. You are required to….there’s no easy way to say this….poop…then plunge the dipstick into your poop, put the dipstick with the poop back into your tube, then put the tube back into the plastic bag, seal it up and Bob’s your uncle. Have you been grossed out yet? I understand if you are.

Moving on. Of course the first question one asks is what do you poop into? On the directions they say you can put some plastic wrap or a newspaper across the toilet and do your business that way.

Here’s the issue when it comes to my dad. While he is totally capable of all this he has some vision problems. I totally get that it becomes a little more disconcerting to go through the whole process when your depth of perception is off. You are concerned about doing it all right because you don’t want to go through the indignity of having to do it again.

While I brought the kit to him and explained everything I got a call from him later in the day just to go through it one more time. I said, I’d come over to your place to help you but I won’t. There’s almost anything I would do for him but I draw the line on fecal collection. (Am I a bad son?)

The next day he completed his morning constitution opting for an old newspaper. (It was The Lethbridge Herald. This is not an editorial comment, it’s just what was convenient.)

He did everything he was supposed to do but I did notice there was some extra excrement in the plastic bag but outside the collecting tube. Nonetheless I delivered it to the lab and to my dismay they said, “Sorry, this do-do won’t do. It’s contaminated.” Arghhh!!. This time they said, here take this “hat.” It’s a little easier to use than a newspaper. Basically it’s a plastic receptacle that you can place in your toilet and it’s much easier to complete your task. I brought the new kit to my dad. He was disappointed that he had to redo number 2. I told him, maybe you can put a bulls-eye in the hat and make it more fun. And maybe you can watch an episode of Schitz Creek before you go to bed.

The next morning he repeated the procedure. All systems were go. Sample was totally confined to the tube and brought to the lab and I was given the thumbs up. Mission accomplished.

While these types of tests are necessary and can be lifesaving I often wonder, who gets up in the morning when they’re thinking about career options and they answer with, “I really want to be a scatologist. I want to take human waste and sift through it looking for bad things.” Thank heavens there are wonderful people who aspire to do just that.

You are appreciated. Let me just send out a big Poo poo pee do to you..


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