Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Dreaded Stool Sample

Now were you aware of the fact that back in the middle ages a sovereign would have a dignitary designated as "Groom of the Stool"?   This particular personage held quite a lofty position because it was his job to deliver the king's daily dump to the royal doctor each morning (I suspect that the other component of his exalted position included holding – and employing – whatever sort of item they used as toilet tissue back then in order to wipe the king’s royal heiney.)  Now after the groom wound his way through the imperial court shouting, “Make way for the Royal Stool!” the physicianwould then dissectsaid stool in an attempt to detect signs of royal disease, dysentery, decay, or other debilitating defects in the deposit which might indicate the king's untimely demise.  If he found none, he then duly decreedthe king fit todo his dutyfor another day.

Long live the King!

Lacking my own personal Groom of the Stool, I was forced to deliver my sample to the laboratory all on my own.  Unlike your average medieval ruler, I was embarrassed by the nature of the collection and thought that no one would want to view the contents of those containers with their naked eye, so I decided to wrap each carefully-cleaned—but specimen-filled cylinder in a pristine paper towel before stuffing all four in a spotless plastic baggie.  When I went to the lab to deliver my – errr, . . .deposit – the self-righteous receptionist then proceeded to ask me, “Do you have two greens, a purple and a yellow?  Turns out this particular type of specimen must share the same mysterious cap color coding system as blood samples.

How was I to know?  I no more looked at the caps of those little cylinders as I filled them than a father would glance on his daughter’s adhesive breast forms!

“I’m not exactly sure” I stammered.   And that arrogant receptionist then sat and stared at me until I unwrapped all four tubes of shame before the entire waiting room;  indeed confirming that I had two greens, a purple and a yellow in my possession.  (“She wrapped them in paper towels!” I heard her chuckle to the coworker beside her.)

 But would she accept my specimens over that front desk she so indignantly oversaw?   Of course not! Had she been forced to handle my carefully wrapped present, she would have been down on her knees thanking me for my cleanliness.  Instead, I had to act as my own Groom of the Stool and walk it down the hall in order to humbly drop my tubes in specially marked specimen box so that the royal doctors could decree that the cause of my pain and diarrhea was not an errant parasite or rampart bacteria.

So long live. . .