If you are offended by poop -

1. How are we still friends?

2. You're going to want to skip this blog post.

On Monday, St. Louis Children's Hospital told me to collect E's poop for three days. He's been having constant diarrhea since he came home, and they're wanting to check for a few different diseases and illnesses. I am guessing that they thought I had done a bowel sample before (I have not) so they gave me no instructions, but handed me a bag of supplies. They did tell me to drop the samples off at St. John's Hospital in Springfield (locally) when I had them completed.

When I got home, I opened their goodie bag expecting instructions; when there weren't any, I decided everything must be self-explanatory! There were containers with a preservative liquid marked "poison" that I assumed the lab would use (because who would trust the average citizen with poison?!), and there were plastic ziplocks marked "medical samples". They also included rubber gloves and tongue depressors, that I inferred were not actually for the tongue. See, self-explanatory.

On Tuesday, E pooped a great poop (as he always does - again, we're not collecting these samples out of boredom), so I scooped a huge chunk into one of the "medical samples" bag. When I showed my accomplishment to Chance, he suggested I use a gallon ziplock to double-bag the poop. I willingly obliged.

I was starting to doubt whether or not this process was so self-explanatory (mostly because, what if I had not collected enough poop?! The amount I collected didn't fill the "medical sample" bag completely.), so I decided to add "stop at St. John's Hospital Lab" to Wednesday morning's to-do list.

 I didn't want to forget the sample (in case they needed to test it immediately for preservation sake) so I put the double-bagged poop near the diaper bag and my purse, in our laundry room.

When I woke up this morning, half the house smelled rank. I was shocked by the smell. I couldn't believe the "medical sample" bag wasn't something with a better seal. I made a mental note to ask if there was a better method for containing the smell. I also decided it was worth the one-hour round-trip to drop off the samples daily, rather than waiting for all three.

 When it was time to get to all our morning appointments, I gathered the poison bottles, the bags, and the smelly poop before heading out the door.

Unfortunately, the hospital was the boys and I's third stop of the morning. Because of a torrential downpour, I had to keep my windows completely up; my car has never smelled so bad. (And I live in a house with all males. I. know. bad.)

We finally arrived at the hospital around 11:00 and it was still pouring rain, so I opted to use their handy valet service. I wanted to unload all three kids under the covered drop-off area. As I handed the valet my keys, I apologized for the smell, and explained that we had a poop sample for the lab. She assured me that she understood and had boys of her own.

We located the lab, and I attempted to begin by explaining why I was there to the lab worker. She was rather confused as E wasn't in her computer system (since this was ordered from St. Louis), so she asked me to open my brown paper "goodie bag" to show her what I'd been able to collect.

Since I was proud that I'd figured out what to do without instructions, I confidently opened the bag and pulled out the poison bottles "that SLCH sent for you to use in the lab, ma'am. You're welcome." Then I dug into my bag a little deeper, and produced a (double-bagged) lump of poop, the size of a softball. As I pulled it out, I apologized that it wasn't enough to fill the entire foot-long "medical sample" bag. I set the "sample" onto the gal's reception counter, and looked up in time to see an expression of shock and panic.

She managed to maintain professional behavior (I'm sure she's seen all kinds) and asked if my poop collection had been refrigerated. I answered that it had not. Should I try and do that for the next one? Would it make my food smell bad though?

She ignored my questions and said that she was sorry to inform me that this sample was not able to be tested - since it had not been refrigerated, and was, in general, contaminated. I told her that I could refrigerate the next one, but I'd be needing an additional bag.

She, again, ignored me and showed me to a waiting room where she left the boys and I alone for a few moments.

When she returned, she had three new bottles of poison and three new baggies. She explained to me that the bottles of poison were actually a preservative for the poop. It was, in fact, poisonous, but it would allow the sample to keep from decomposing. She also pointed out (twice) that I only needed a sample smaller than a ping pong ball. She assured me that the lab was resourceful and would gain all the knowledge they needed from that very small sample.

Apparently, the "medical sample" bag is actually - in essence - for double-bagging the bottle of poison. And this combination will keep the samples from smelling so "You won't need to return to the lab again until all the samples are collected."

Got it. That lady does not want to see me or any amount of my child's poop for at least three more days.

It'll probably take her that long to stop laughing...

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