My Week 267: Testing Myself

A few months ago, you may remember, I was at my doctor’s. He has the worst bedside manner ever, but during this particular conversation, he got very animated; in fact, he got more excited than I’d ever seen him, because I had asked about a colon cancer screening kit:

Me: I’m really sorry but the requisition you gave me 3 years ago expired. I know I should have taken care of this sooner but–
Doctor: No! Don’t worry about it! Because there’s a new kit, and it’s EVEN BETTER than the old one!!
Me: So I can get one of the new ones?
Doctor: YES! Call the office on Monday!!

Well, Monday came and Monday went—in fact, many, many Mondays came and went—but I finally called the office last week and asked for one of the new kits. The receptionist said it would arrive in a couple of days, and when I came home on Thursday, there was an appropriately brown envelope waiting for me. I opened it up and Ken and I examined it:

Ken: There’s only one test tube! Aw, you’re so lucky!
Me: Um, why?
Ken: My kit had 3. I had to do it three days in a row.
Me: Ugh! As if one day isn’t bad enough.
Ken: You could do it tomorrow.
Me: No, I’ll wait until the weekend when I can be sure that I’ll be in my own bathroom, and not in the bathroom at the train station.

And on Friday morning, I WAS in the bathroom at the train station, and it seemed like a real missed opportunity. But then on Saturday morning, it was time. The brown envelope contained the following: a folded up piece of tissue paper, a little ziplock bag containing a vial that had a tiny spatula attached to the cap, an instruction sheet, and another pre-paid return envelope, this one yellow. Ken and I have been binge-watching Rupaul’s Drag Race, which is an AWESOME show, so when I said, “OK, it’s time”, Ken’s immediate response was, “Good luck. And DON’T f*ck it up.”

So I went upstairs and looked at the instructions very carefully. They were absolutely bizarre, and a little juvenile, but easy to understand, as you can see:

When I came downstairs later, Ken asked, “Well?”

Me: It was really stressful.
Ken: Why? Did you put the paper in the toilet first like it said?
Me: Yes. And then I went. It was a really good one. Almost too good.
Ken: Because?
Me: Because you have to swirl the spatula around in it, and then put the spatula back into the vial, and the opening is REALLY narrow, and there was a lot on it, so I had to keep trying to wipe off the excess so that it didn’t get on the outside of the container.
Ken: *laughs hysterically*
Me: I didn’t imagine I would be spending Saturday morning leaning over a toilet full of a steaming pile of poo, worrying about offending some unknown lab technician with my clumsy vial-handling skills. Also, the instructions were very unclear about where the wiping took place in this whole process, so I had to improv that part. I can’t believe you did this three days in a row.
Ken: No wonder your doctor was so excited.
Me: And now I’m worried that I did it wrong because my poo didn’t look like the one in the picture, and I just did kind of a whimsical swirl in it but this picture shows the person swiping from side to side, and maybe I really did f*ck it up.
Ken: Sashay away.

And quite possibly I AM overthinking it, but 23andMe sent me a SECOND DNA KIT because I hadn’t done the first one right, and all that involved was spitting into a test tube. I don’t know what it’s like where you all live, but I’m in Canada, so this is free, and there are some poor lab techs out there who must have to deal with hundreds of poo vials a week and I just want to make their lives a little easier. Maybe I’ll spray some perfume on the envelope as a goodwill gesture.

Last week, my niece was very proud that she was good in math, and this week I was also proud of my math skills (until I talked to Ken):

1) My director called me in to discuss my budget. “I know it’s right,” I said, ‘because I used a calculator”, and she said, “Good job.”

2) I was on the train, sitting with my friend Max, and he was mad because all the stores are now decorated for Christmas, and holidays are just an excuse to sell stuff. “Did you know,” he said, “that yesterday was National Sandwich Day?!”

Me: Did you have a sandwich in honour of this special day?
Max: No, I did not.
Me: Personally, I prefer Pi Day.
Max: What kind of pie?
Me: No, like 22 divided by seven. I think that’s on July 22nd.
Max: (*looks it up*) It says here it’s on March 14. That’s a Saturday.
Me: Ooh, then it could be a whole Pi weekend, because Pi is 3.1415. What’s Pi for anyway?
Max: I think it’s to calculate the area of a circle.
Me: Why would you ever need to do THAT? Just buy enough floor tile to make a square and trim stuff away. Is it some theoretical bullsh*t thing, like Schrödinger’s Cat?
Max: No. It’s probably for things in nature, like calculating area in the ocean.
Me: Like what, how big is the Bermuda Triangle? Oh wait, that’s a triangle. I think you use a different formula for that. It’s the Pythagorean theorem.
Max: Are you sure?
Me: Andre! Andre! How do you calculate the area of a triangle?
Andre, The New Train Car Attendant: You use the Pythagorean theorem.
Me: See? I told you I was good at math.
Max: Happy National Vinegar Day, by the way.

3) And then Ken read the above and said, “What are you talking about?

Me: It’s the Pythagorean theorem. A squared times B cubed or whatnot, and some other stuff gives you the area of a triangle.
Ken: No, it doesn’t! That’s what you use if you don’t know the length of the hypotenuse of a right angled triangle. And it’s A squared plus B squared equals C squared. Your whole train car sucks at math.
Me: Then how do you calculate the area of a triangle, if you’re so smart?!
Ken: Height times base divided by two.

Me: Shantay, you stay.

56 thoughts on “My Week 267: Testing Myself

  1. I had to give myself an enema once to prepare for an x-ray. That was a couple of years ago…I recently came across the report from that x-ray and was disappointed to learn that there was some remaining stool which obscured the x-ray view….truly I had some shame over that and lamented my wasted efforts. Then I got angry because seriously WTF – this happened 2 years ago and no one had me retake the x-ray….and that pretty much sums up healthcare in America….nothing gets done properly because everyone is full of shit.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. First of all, I’m trying to make breakfast biscuits while reading this, laughing my ass off at Max’s comment about Happy Vinegar Day, then got a migraine because of all the talk about math……because yuck, double yuck! Lol. I’m thinking I agree with Max thought, Pi Day is on March 14th because all the Med Students where I work make a big deal about it. Selling all different kinds of “Pi’s” for fund raisers and stuff. 🥧🥧🥧🥧

    Liked by 2 people

  3. How did Native Americans figure out how big to make their teepees? They used pumpkin Pi.
    What was Isaac Newton’s favorite dessert? Apple Pi.
    What did Vlad the Impaler call Emmett Szchitt after he shove a sharpened stave up Emmett’s asshole?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You’re the first person I know who’s done the kit. I wish this had been available several years ago when I had to go in. First I had to drink this horrible drink to flush out my system. Then I had to go to the hospital where they knock you out and then they go places that I had to give them permission to go under pressure from my doctor. It was injury upon insult. Or vice versa. {Probably both. The good news is that I don’t remember anything but the good soft rock they played until it was lights out. I imagine that costs so much more than a do-it-yourself kit. It’s important to do this, so cheers for your bravery. The math stuff? It went right over my head. I have no earthly idea what you were talking about. I hope they pay the lab techs that analyze these samples darn good money! Can you imagine how they must respond at parties to, “What do you do for a living?” 🙂 Mona

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Here’s a disturbing thought: the lab techs who have to test all those poo samples that come in applied for the job. I don’t think anyone is being forced into that sort of work, although it would be even more disturbing if they were forced into it because then they’d be all resentful and I don’t want to think about how they’d get revenge.
    And all that math talk reminded me that there were at least two years in high school that I had to use the quadratic formula in every single class. One of my English teachers even brought it up for some reason. Here’s the annoying thing: after high school I have never used the quadratic formula again. I can’t even remember it now, just what it was called. Math is so annoying. Although it is cool that you have a train car attendant named Andre. Is he a big guy? Could you call him Andre the Giant?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christopher, we learned the quadratic formula by singing it to Pop goes the weasel. (Please, sing along with me): x equals negative b, plus or minus square root, b squared minus 4ac all over 2a. What the heck that has to do with anything, I have no clue. I’m with you, once out of school, I’ve never had to use it. But I remember how to sing it! Ha! Mona

      Liked by 2 people

    • Nah, he’s just a little guy with glasses. I figured he’d know the answer because don’t all the kids today take the fancy math? As a former English teacher, I can tell you that the only time I ever talked about math was when I told my seniors “Never cry over math”, which they did quite frequently!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I Hate MATH! I use a calculator. I got an AA Degree by taking Business Math. That’s as high as I am going, officially.
    As far as the Kit, I did that and had to explain it to my sister who got one from her doctor but was freaking out because it’s “Gross”. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Enjoyed reading your post. This reminded me of a past experience. At my job, every new employee needs a detailed medical clearance. After I joined, I was given a list of tests to be performed. Stool test was one of them. Now, I suffer from chronic constipation and can’t produce a sample on any given day. So the day before my appointment I called the hospital reception and described them my situation. I wanted to know if I can get all other tests done on the following day and postpone this particular test for later. The receptionist started giggling, to my horror. I thought thank god, I didn’t give her my full name because tomorrow she might identify me. But then I remembered: if I can’t produce a sample tomorrow before I go to the hospital, she will identify me anyway. Oops it was such a pressure (that I might not feel the pressure tomorrow morning). My husband was being very supportive and even suggested I borrow some of his sample!! Fortunately, next day morning I felt the urge to go and all ended well. I have decided never to leave this job, no matter what. A new job means another medical clearance and what if this time I can’t ‘perform’?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t imagine being the lab person who has to run those tests all day. My mother worked in a hospital lab for many years and always told us that you reach a point where absolutely nothing grosses you out. She tells a story of a guy who thought he had to bring it the “whole thing” one time and walked up to the reception desk with an open bucket of that day’s…deposits, and the receptionist just took the bucket and said, “Okay. We’ll have your doctor call you with the results.”

    Liked by 1 person

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