I put my poo in the mail yesterday.
But perhaps I should begin at the beginning.
My eye's widened in horror. There sat my Doctor handing over to me an envelope and instructing me on how to take a small wooden stick and take samples of my poo. There is a technique to taking poo samples and smearing them on a designated piece of paper and, disturbingly, my doctor knew precisely what it was - without looking it up in a book. I had the envelope in my hand and nodded dumbly as the doctor went on to talk about the poo test. Joe, who comes in with me to see the doctor - Joe says it's for support, I think it's because our doctor is hot - looked at me with a 'you're on your own with this one, baby' look on his face.
The envelope sat on the vanity beside the toilet for a couple of weeks. I felt it looking at me, hungrily, when I went poo. I finally hid it under the books we have there for bathroom reading. Then, one day, I decided to take a closer look at the process. I was sitting there anyways. The envelope included a thick paper folio where you could tear off three different tabs. Under each tab is two squares. The intent is, as I read it, to smear a bit of poo onto a stick and then apply it to the first square, then to take a bit of poo from a different part of the 'stool' and smear it in box two. After this lovely bit of 'art' is done, you simply fold back down the tab.
Also included in the envelope are three little wooden sticks. I note that in several places the instruction 'please do not place sticks in envelope for return' is printed. One can only imagine the story behind that instruction. The sticks are much smaller and flimsier than Popsicle sticks, though that's what they look like. OK, no more fudgesicles for me. I look through all the stuff and figure I can start the process next week.
Next week comes. Alright. One more look at the instructions and I find that once you start the process it must be done in 10 days. With a shock I learn that shit has a shelf life!! That poo has a 'best by' date. I can now never 'not know' that fact again. The pressure of the 10 day, three samples schedule, is almost too much. I figure I have to check the calender first. What if we are travelling. I can't take poo samples back and forth across a border can I? How would I explain that to a border guard, and would I be charged for cleaning vomit off his uniform?
Better wait for a review of where we are. I explain to Joe that we have to map out a ten day plan for poo collection and processing. We find the 10 day window. I mark it on my Ipod by leaving cryptically, "Take the number two bus" on our proposed start date. I did not die before that date so I went into the bathroom determined to go hunting for poo samples.
I know we all turn around and look at our poo after we go poo. I didn't realize that I had also imagined what the consistency of poo was in my head. I only knew that because I thought to myself, 'Hmmm, I thought it would be creamier' as I took the first sample. Then I realized - Eeeewwwww. I smeared the first box. For a second, I froze. I still had to get a sample from another part of the poo. I couldn't see where I'd taken the first. I didn't know if I was supposed to use the other end of the poo stick or wipe of this end of the poo stick and use it again. I decided on the latter.
Day one was done.
Day two, a rousing success.
I can't tell you how much I wanted to celebrate the sixth and final smear.
I dutifully threw out all the poo sticks, each after one use of course, and stuffed everything back in the envelope. Joe picked up the envelope to go drop it in the mail. As he did he called to me ... 'You know how you lick envelopes to close them ... um ... where's the scotch tape.'
So, my poo is in the mail.
And let me tell you this. The next time you think to yourself that you have a shitty job, just think about the mail guy who works at the lab where my poo will arrive -- without sticks.