}

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Needed to go

This week has had a great start: Faced some fears, took care of some business, and even had a chance for to make some (literal) toilet humour jokes. Who could ask for more? A warning, though: This post will contain some words that may bother more sensitive readers.

I went to the doctor Monday, the first time in nearly two years. Part of that meant getting a full range of bloodtests, so after fasting all night, yesterday I went to the phlebotomist—such a lovely job title! I call them vampires, since they take your blood.

As she was drawing the blood, she asked if I had a urine sample for her—it was the first I’d heard of it (the doctor didn’t mention it). The phlebotomist asked if I could leave on then, but my first thought, as I said on Facebook, was, “after fasting like 13 hours, how, exactly was THAT going to happen?” She basically said as much just then, in answer to her own question.

So, she gave me a kit to do the collection at home, and it came complete with a rubber-topped vial for the sample, a square tray sort of thing to collect the sample, and a sturdy plastic zip-top bag emblazoned with “Biohazzard” and the symbol.

There was also a slip of paper telling me how to label the tube, and I found it very hard to do: The vial is curved, of course, and the space is extremely small, and what I wrote ended up looing like I was in my late 80s. Or, so I imagined.

But it was the actual instructions on how to collect the sample that gave me pause. They were incredibly silly, and clearly needed a sensible re-write. There were sections with instructions for females, pregnant women (not pregnant females?), males, and “small children”. I didn’t read the instructions for ladies (that’d be rude!), or anything else that didn’t apply to me.

Here are the instructions verbatim, along with my snarky reactions, starting with the three general instructions up top of the sheet:

1. Ensure full first name and last names and date of birth are clearly written on the specimen tube ¬– okay, not much room on that tiny label, but…

2. Ensure date and time of collection is written on the form and collection tube –the separate piece of paper didn’t mention the form, just the tube, which is where I wrote the info; there was way too little room to write all that “legibly”.

3. It is important to take your urine sample to the nearest Labtests collection centre as soon as possible (within 2 hours); if there is a delay, please keep the urine in the fridge – wait, what?! Never saw that, either, but I got it there in like 15 minutes; had I seen that instruction, I’d have had it there in five.

Then, the main instructions for us boys:
  1. Wash hands – Shouldn’t this also be number 10?!
  2. Pull foreskin back (if applicable) – If not applicable, there’s nothing to pull back…
  3. Have urine container ready – Wouldn’t all this be pointless if it wasn’t?
  4. Pass a small amount of urine into toilet and do not collect any of the first part of the urine – Okay…
  5. Pass a small part of the urine into the container (so the middle part if urine is collected) – How, exactly, is one to determine when the “middle part” is happening?
  6. Pass remaining urine into toilet – As opposed to where, precisely?
  7. Put foreskin back in place – It must be “put back”? Sheesh, I never knew the extra work I don’t have to do!
  8. Pull top off urine tube – Um, can’t pour it in otherwise?
  9. Pour urine from plastic container into tube and replace top – You mean, we don’t want it to leak out all over?
Now, I realise I’m being overly pedantic, but it just struck me as simplistic where it didn’t need to be, and vague where it shouldn’t have been. But, bigger labels would’ve been nice!

Anyway, I got the specimen returned, so I should be all set. When I was about to go, so to speak, I posted on Facebook: “Now I have to do the ‘collecting’ and take it back within the hour. No pressure!” I then asked, “once I drop it off, does that make the place a ‘pee lab’?” That pun may be too NZ-specific; in the USA such things are usually called “meth labs”, but, as I said to a friend of mine, “in the USA… my pun would be flushed away.”

That was all just a start. I added a comment when I was back home:
Since I'm sure everyone was worried: Everything came out okay. So to speak. And, I realised after I posted the above I had TWO hours, not one, which took the performance pressure away. Still, the fact I was ready to go, and didn't piss away my time, meant that I was able to drop the sample off just before that hour's courier arrived, so the sample's not far behind the blood sample in the testing pipeline.

And, believe it or not, I think I'm out of toilet humour
Sadly, some of my Facebook friends didn’t believe me. I’m hurt. Well, secretly pleased, but hurt, too. No, really. So much so, I had to make a few more toilet-related puns on Facebook.

And that was my visit to the vampires. I just needed to go.

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