Saturday, June 02, 2012

You want me to do what?


Warning: graphic content.  I will be talking about poop and punctuation.  I don't know which is more icky.

There comes a time in everyone's life when their doctor wants to talk about body parts that we really don't want to discuss.  Listen, as far as I'm concerned, a colon is a punctuation mark -- two little dots that are used after a word introducing a quotation, an explanation, a description, an example, or a series, and often after the salutation of a business letter.  My doctor begs to differ.

Since I am nearing 50 it's time to screen for colon cancer. I need a FOBT, the doctor said: a blood test.  [Hey look, I just used a colon in the syntactical-descriptive sense.  Sorry.  Grammar geek. Moving on...] But it isn't really a blood test, it doesn't test for something in your blood.  You don't go tripping happily down to the lab to get a vial or two drawn.  It's a test to detect the presence of blood in something else.  What, you ask? (But only if you're really dense, otherwise you've already figured it out.  Here's a hint:)



Yes, the F in FOBT stands for 'fecal'

The O in FOBT stands for 'occult' (occult?!?!), which made me wonder if I am I supposed to draw a pentagram around the toilet and hang a goat skull from the wall while wearing a black robe.



Because I totally will if I have to.

(Note to self: check out Kijiji Ottawa for goat skulls.)

But I digress.  FOBT stands for fecal occult blood test.  The doctor gave me a kit with three cardboard slides with flaps that you open, and applicators that look like anorexic popsicle sticks to, you know, spread some, um, 'sample' on the slides.  You do that and then you close up the flaps and put the slides in the special plastic envelope and take it back to the doctor's office for them to send to the lab.  

(I'm very glad that I don't work in the lab and have a job description that includes "Opening special plastic envelopes, removing cardboard slides, and opening up the flaps." Because, ewwww. )  

But wait, that's not all.  There is a diet to be followed before one can start this whole process: generous amounts of cooked and raw vegetables, plenty of fruits, and moderate amounts of high-fibre foods.  Well, that makes sense.

There is also a kind of bewildering list of things one must not eat: turnips, broccoli, horseradish, cantaloupe, parsnips, radishes, and cauliflower.  These foods contain chemicals that can result in false positives or false negatives.

It's a good thing that red wine isn't on that list.  Because in order to do this I'm going to need lots.

18 comments:

  1. Writing as someone who used to run the FOBT, (we used to call them either FOBs or something so horrendous I can't repeat it in a public forum)it's not a big deal.

    The tst is designed to discover traces of Haemoglobin in the sh*t. This could indicate a leakage of blood in the colon, piles (Haemorrhoids), or it could just mean that you need to get your fingernails trimmed.

    Please don't undertake a black mass, an exorcism, or the sacrifice of a virgin during this period, as these can lead to false positives.

    Merde bien.

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    1. Merci, mon ami. Je vais essayer.

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  2. I can only imagine that knowing you have to do this would lead to a serious case of stage fright, in which you won't be able to, um, produce, simply because you know what you'll have to do afterward.

    Good luck.

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    1. I'm hoping the wine will help with that. :)

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  3. This does sound worse than what I had to do after I found out that one of my colleagues hosted a tapeworm after our field work in Tanzania. I mean, we didn't have to spread anything around :-)

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    1. I don't know that anything could be worse than tapeworm. Shudder. But I am flashing back to the time Leah swallowed a penny and I had to wait for it to show up.

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  4. Anonymous11:25 AM

    The lab tech at my doctor's office refers to this as the "Poop and Scoop" test. LOL

    Judy K.

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  5. LOL. That's about it. Thanks for stopping by, Jude. Hope you and Tim and the moggies are doing well. :)

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  6. Here in the ICU, we do these tests all the time. At least it's your own poop. We also put in FMSs too (fecal management system) for fecal incontinent patients. You really don't wanna know :)

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    1. Wow. I really *don't* want to know. :)

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  7. Krista12:33 PM

    You are funny :) Especially since I'm up for the very same test...I have purchased the wine already...

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    1. It's probably a two-bottle test.

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  8. Reminds me of when I had an intestinal parasite when I came back from Nepal. I found the worst part of the whole thing was the "collecting"... Ewww.

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    1. Yeah, "ewwww" about covers it. Did you drink some iffy Nepalese water, or some undercooked Nepalese meat? Have you ever noticed that intestinal parasites are always acquired in exciting, exotic places? No one ever says, "Reminds me of when I had an intestinal parasite when I came back from Moncton."

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  9. I've done this awful test and NO ONE told me I could have wine.

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    1. Well, now you know. In case you have to do another one. The trick is to drink enough wine so that you're a tiny bit giggly and the job seems funny rather than icky, but not so much that your manual dexterity is impaired. Because this is not when you want to be saying "Ooops", trust me.

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  10. OMG you are so funny, I shall have to follow you :) The timing of this is amazing, of course: last year, since I am near your age, my doctor sticks her finger !!!! as she does, dammit, places not even a wife would go, and mentions, since she is on that subject, the test at 50....growing older = INDIGNITIES, etc. But, i s'pose, consider the alternatives. OK, just now, on this same damn subject, the vet calls. She was here Friday to see the beagle, who is healthy, but needs me to go out into the backyard and fill a jar with the dog's doo doo......

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    1. I'm really glad I didn't need to fill a jar for my test. Really glad.

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