Monday, July 9, 2007

It's All Fun and Games Until...

someone has to collect a stool sample.

My cousin has an intimate relationship with the English language. Words roll off of her tongue the way that autumnal trees shed their leaves. They gracefully float in the air until they come to rest in a yard of soft grass or pool of water or a listener's ear. The mastery of which she spins these words from thin air is akin to the making of the cobwebby magnificence of cotton candy.

I have always been envious of the way her artistry in words and in various mediums tend to come so easily. No struggling, just a cool, serene confidence and VOILA! a masterpiece!!

That is why it made me laugh when I read the Giardia story. Who else, other than Kris, could turn a gross parasite into an entertaining story. I lightheartedly read, and reread it to my husband as we mused about country living.

Then the phone rang....What? The Health Department wants me to go and get checked since I had stayed with them about the same time as the water problems? Well, I guess I feel ok. Yah, some stomach issues but nothing major. Ok I'll call the doc Monday.

Now, I admit, we have mental health issues, anxiety disorders and the distinction of having some of the first relatives to try electro shock therapy. So I can't be totally sure that the prospect of having parasites doing a conga line in my intestines didn't trigger a little hypochondria. Suddenly I felt weak, clammy and crampy. Sunday night it continued and appeared to have spread to Burt. He too, felt abdominal pain and gas. What about the kids? the dog? Oh my GOD, it's a pandemic. Should we notify our Health Department? The CDC in Atlanta?

I began to chastise myself. Why, oh why, did I have to brush my teeth so much at her house? Couldn't I have had the drink warm, without the ice cubes?

After a quick dose of Xanax and a Tums, I felt back to normal. Monday morning arrived and after a brief phone call to the doc, it was decided that a stool sample was necessary. "We have to know what we are working with here." Doctorese for "I won't make any money unless we run tests and I can claim an office visit."

With sunglasses and a baseball cap on I went to pick up "the kit". I prayed for an expedited exit but of course, as the cousin with bad luck, it was not in the cards. The kit was not ready and waiting at the front desk as promised. The receptionist promptly yelled to the back that I was present and needed "THE STOOL TEST FOR PARASITES." Thanks...thanks a lot. I quickly grabbed the HIPPA Confidentiality brochure that they force you to sign, and tried to look up whether an idiotic receptionist was covered. As I suspected, it wasn't addressed.

As I lay it back down, I caught the eye of an 89 year old women (I know this because the receptionist had yelled out her address and birthday for confirmation only seconds earlier.) She gave me a look of sympathy and mouthed the words "Don't worry, it's ok."

Now I sit here at home, looking at the kit. It looks more like the chem lab from college than the simple test they explained over the phone. Four bottles with various colored fluids and lines of measurement. Now comes the technical questions. What the hell am I supposed to collect and spoon it with? Seriously, I can't store this in my refrigerator.

Burt keeps asking me if I have finished it yet. No, I reply. I never was good at doing things on command.
Like a spoiled child whining in lament I cry out, "How come Kris didn't have to do this? She just had to sit by a chick flossing her teeth! SSHHHHEEEEE got the medicine without the kit!" It's not FAAAAIIIIRRRR!"
As an overachiever my only solace is that maybe I can have even more parasites in my stool than her.
Hey, it's something.


Anonymous said...

You should send a copy of this to the receptionist.

Anonymous said...

Hey, College of the Redwoods is having their Wood Fair this weekend at Redwood Acres. There will be many makers of fine furniture there. I would bet you could find a very fine stool sample there.

Kristabel said...

For the record, my dear cousin (who also got willowy legs, a long neck, beautiful bone structure, a juicy booty and oodles of talent in many areas,) I DID get the kit. I just also got the medication.

My strategy? "Yes, I understand I'll have to do this test to make sure, but the fact is that my fiance' has giardia. And we've been in very close, very intimate contact. I can give you the details if you want." With a horrified look on her face, the doctor said, "Um...that won't be necessary. I'll just give you a presumptive diagnosis and a prescription."

Have I done the test? No way. What are they gonna do...try to get the medicine back out of me?


I wish we could share in the joy of intestinal parasites together. Thank god for blogs. Sorry, everybody else.

Jack Durham said...

I had something resembling giarda exactly 21 years ago.

The only thing worse than the symptoms was collecting a stool sample. You cannot complete that task and maintain your dignity at the same time.