So I had my first colonoscopy right on schedule a few years back, and evidently I passed it with flying colors. Lord knows something passed with flying colors. And now they’ve started asking me to take more of a personal hand in my routine testing. This is why I was sent home from Kaiser with a small envelope containing everything I would need to collect my own stool sample and send it through the mail. I’m always getting shit in the mail, so it’s sort of a novelty to send some back.

The thing is, this is one of those areas I’ve always preferred to leave to others. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been a mom or a janitor, and I have been a baby–but if someone has to deal with what lands in the toilet, I’d rather it were someone else. The colonoscopy, for instance, didn’t require all that much of me. My only role was the night before, and that wasn’t really any big deal. You just do what comes naturally, only louder and with more pep. Once you’ve gotten to the clinic and have your gown on, your part is pretty much over with. In my case, I did come to, at some point towards the end of the procedure, and was able to watch some of the goings-on on a TV monitor and recognize what I was looking at. But I could tell I wasn’t entirely back to normal because normal people do not blow “Oklahoma!” out their ass in a crowded hospital corridor. I recognized the opening note right away, and I discovered that if I exercised a little sphincter control–I believe trumpeters refer to that as “embouchure”–I was able to replicate the tune pretty well. I held onto the “O!” for as long as I could, and by the time the wind came sweepin’ down the plain, I’d like to think I had everybody’s attention.
The home stool sample kit comes with instructions that are pure literature:
Unfold and put the large collection tissue paper inside the toilet bowl on top of the water. (Don’t use the small absorption pad included in the return envelope–you’ll need that for something else later.)
Gripping! See how that keeps you on the edge of your seat? It’s a page-turner.
Have a bowel movement so that the stool (feces) falls on top of the collection paper.

The paper takes up the entire interior of the toilet bowl. If you miss it, you were way too close to the edge of your seat.
Take a sample of your stool (feces) before it touches the water.

Fortunately, they don’t mean in mid-flight. But frankly, seeing your stool plated up like an entree and twirling a spoon in it sort of cancels out the entire beauty of having indoor plumbing. The instructions go on to say you can flush, and to (“please”) wipe off the sample bottle if some sample has gotten on the outside. As a former mailman, I can endorse that request.
Dave got a kit at the same time I did, but he’s just practicing for now. He’s doubtful about the collection tissue paper and is pretty sure he can sink it in one shot. I think he can, too.