It’s one of those things that you hope you never have to do in life, but I have twice had to give a stool sample for the doctor and they have been the most traumatic experiences of my life. Firstly, they give you a tiny sample jar, which I think is the same as the urine sample jar, which also has a little spatula built into the lid. When the Doctor gave it to me, I couldn’t hold back my horror as there is no way you can poo straight into it. So I asked her if she had any tips on how to use it? Then she had the look of horror as she was quite young and I’m pretty sure no one had asked her that before.
The Doctor told me that the easiest method is to defecate into another receptacle and then scoop the faeces from there into the sample jar. Why do Doctors talk like that? Is there a class at medical school called ‘You can’t say shit or poo to a Patient’? The first stool I had to give was the most traumatic as I was dreading it and put it off for nearly a week (note: I did actually poo during this time, I wasn’t storing it up or anything). When providing a sample, you want to do a good poo and I figured a solid poo would be easier to deal with in an el fresco situation.
My sample kit consisted of the sample jar and the bit of cardboard that Amazon wraps DVDs in when they send them to you. They are actually ideal as you can slide them under the toilet seat and they will reach to the other side of the toilet easily without risk of falling. So all you need to do for Step 1 of the process is do a poo like you would normally. In practice, it doesn’t feel normal though, it feels really weird.
Step 2 of the process is the most traumatic as you have to get some of the poo from your Amazon DVD cardboard to the sample jar and it makes me sick to even think about it again. The first thing that strikes you as you take a pause to mentally prepare yourself for what you need to do next, is that poo, when not in water, really does stink quite a lot. The second thing that strikes you is that the ‘handy’ spatula they provide is utterly pathetic as you push, probe and cut your own poo so it can be placed into the sample jar. I wretched several times before getting enough poo into the sample jar.
Step 3 is the disposal of the remaining poo and the Amazon DVD cardboard. The first is flushed and the second must leave your place of residence immediately!
Step 4 is to take the sample down to your Doctor or hospital. Handy tip here is to have already written your name on the sample jar. Trust me, you don’t want to have to write it on the jar with your own shit inside! By this point you feel good as all the traumatic stuff is out of the way, but Step 4 is actually quite traumatic too, much more than you realise. You have to carry your faeces whilst walking down the street and with other people around. You can’t carry it in your hand so you put it in your pocket and you can still feel the warmth from it. Your poo is really quite warm!
If steps 1-3 weren’t shameful enough for you and you’ve managed to cope with walking down the street holding your own excrement. You then have to hand your shit over to someone else. I had to do it at the GP Surgery reception. I was called forward and the guy said hello and I said I had a sample and very sheepishly handed it over, as if I was passing him drugs, and he held up a plastic tray for me to put it into as he definitely didn’t want to touch it.