Category Archives: Advice from an Expert Patient

Warning. Do not try this at home. Or anywhere else.

Yes, I realize that it’s been a while since I granted you all the benefits of my fake medical expert advice.  Sorry.

It’s just that poop news has been rather crappy lately.  What’s a specialist to do?

So for this post, I’m going to go out on a ledge.  Write what I don’t know.  Venture into a whole ‘nuther area of specialization.  I feel qualified because this area of specialty is in the same, errrr,  ball park.  Geographically speaking.  Certainly based on adolescent conversation, anyway.

You see, I read an article recently that inspired me to post after a pretty long hiatus

Doctors warn women against putting wasp nests in their vaginas

Now I don’t know about you, but this particular insert isn’t one I’ve personally ever considered.  Maybe I’m just weird.

To be fair to the women who have done this mind-bending medical procedure, the procedure does not involve vaginal insertion of a wasp nest that looks like this one, with buzzing wasps going in and out:

Wasp nest.jpg

Image by ABC Wildlife

On the other hand, maybe something buzzing and going in and out is the whole idea behind the procedure.  But I digress.

Actually, the procedure involves ground up wasp eggs called “galls.”

170601-wasp-nest-vagina

This is a Getty Image, copied from the article

These are Oak leaf “galls” in case you want to make your own.

Galls are wasp larvae, left on the bottoms of oak leaves.  They are ground up and inserted into the vagina to tighten it and to cleanse it.  Okay …

As a fake medical expert, I think I  can safely say that this sounds like a particularly shitty idea.

You know, it never occurred to me that there might be a need to warn women to not put wasp nests, even ground up wasp nests, into their vaginas.

Then again, I never thought it would be necessary to tell women to not vote for a man who believed he could grab their vagina because he was famous, either.

My bad.

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My New-ish Expertise

Being a fake medical expert has become a bit passe, frankly.  And that expertise came after my rarely discussed time as environmental science expertise honed as a lowly paralegal/legislative & regulatory assistant/lobbyist.

So I figure I’m ready for a new challenge.  And just in time for World IBD Day, I’m takin’ on physics!

The Physics of Poop, of course.  And I think you will agree that I do have the expertise.  And the, ummm, credentials.  And I don’t have to go far for sample collection.

You see, there’s an article I read.  (Of course there’s an article.)

The Physics of Poop

You know it’s a good article, because this is the photo that accompanies the article:

Elephant Poop

This critter has nothin’ on me.  Except maybe on my shoes  Credit: Barry Kusama Getty Images

The authors, David Hu and Patricia Yang, studied poop every which way but Sunday.  Well, maybe Sunday, too.  Because there are some chores that simply must be done 7 days a week.

They discovered that herbivores produced “floaters” and carnivores plopped “sinkers.”  And apparently “stinkers” too, as tigers apparently have the stinkiest poop and panda poop is positively precious.

Bigger animals, not surprisingly, are more prodigious poopers, but interestingly, the speed of poop production is similar regardless of the size of the animal:

Assuming a bell curve distribution, 66 percent of animals take between 5 and 19 seconds to defecate. It’s a surprisingly small range, given that elephant feces have a volume of 20 liters, nearly a thousand times more than a dog’s, at 10 milliliters.

In all honesty, the attraction of the article wasn’t the significant increase in my already vast knowledge and understanding of poop.

Nope. There were two reasons.

First, it’s the fact that this article alerted me to the existence of NASA’s

Space Poop Challenge

I think you will admit that I should be an automatic contender.

More importantly, this article gave me something to write about to celebrate World IBD Day.  And while I personally celebrate every day, you, personally can have fun with poop on World IBD Day.  Don’t say I never gave you anything.

***

But WAIT!  There’s MORE!  After this post went to press, I found this article.

When Birds of a Feather Poop Together

Golly.  Studying poop has become a 24/7 commitment for me.

You’re welcome.

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Why No, Thank You

The art of letter writing is dead, and it makes me sad.  Whenever I read history or biography, I think of the loss to mankind and to history of all of the letters we never exchange — emails aren’t the same.  And even still, it is likely that only Hillary Clinton’s emails will be kept.

Greeting cards are few and far between too.  I used to love to spend time searching stores for just the right one with just the right message.  Today, though, good ones are hard to find, and it just never seems that I can get to one of the three stores left in the continental U.S. that sells good ones when I need one.

Thank you cards too.  I once read that the key to George H.W. Bush’s success was that he always sent thank you notes.  But nobody ever sends those any more.

Or so I thought.  But today I go this in the mail:

Thank You Georgetown

A thank you card from the hospital where I let them shove tools up my butt. Inside it thanks me for letting me have them abuse my body.  (Or something like that.)  Not something you hear of every day.

You see, on Wednesday, I had my annual tuneup, a sigmoidoscopy, performed in the hospital so that Dr. C can check out the plumbing.  They aren’t really so bad, and they give me good drugs so I’m asleep and wake up refreshed.  I usually feel quite good afterwards in fact.

This time I felt even better, though.  Because my doctor told me that she thinks I’m in remission!  That means no active disease!  Whoo-hoo.  Even without a poop transplant or drinking worm larvae.  Cool.

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Have You Thanked a Nurse This Week?

As a professional patient, I deal with nurses regularly.  And believe it or not, just yesterday when I was having something embarrassing done to my butt, I remembered to say thank you to the nurses who helped me.  Well, except for the one who was there when I woke up from anesthesia.  I think I said something weird to her, but I don’t think she’ll recognize me with my pants on.

Anyway, it’s National Nurses Week.  Say thanks, now while you’re feeling good.  Because usually when they’re helping you, you don’t feel so good.

And I’m rerunning this post.  Because I can.  And to say thanks, again.

***

Nurses, The Beauty of Seamless Teamwork

Naturally, I was just settling down in my recliner for a nap when the commotion started.

Yesterday I had my Remicade infusion in the outpatient infusion center at the hospital.  I was in one of my favorite spots — near the nurses station and the bathroom.  The room is a bay of about 15 vinyl recliners designed for easy cleaning.  Unfortunately, once the leg rests are up, getting out is nearly impossible.  That’s why I like being by both the nurses’ station and the bathroom.  No need for a change of clothes.

Anyway, as I was settling down for my nap with my curtain partially drawn when another patient walked towards me from the other end of the corridor.  As she neared the nurses’ station, she looked up at the ceiling, and I saw her legs buckle, her arms flap out birdlike, and in slow motion she started to faint.

Luckily for Mrs. Smith, a nurse was there to catch her.  That nurse, Brittany, called out for help, and I then witnessed one of the most professional exhibitions of teamwork I’ve ever seen.

Google Image

Google Image

Immediately, Molly, my nurse ran to help, calling out, calmly for assistance, and specifying the location.  Brittany and Molly gently lowered Mrs. Smith to the floor, with Molly saying “Mrs. Smith, open your eyes,” repeatedly

Other nurses went different directions towards strategically located equipment which was quickly and efficiently brought to the aid of Mrs. Smith.

Within 1 minute, Mrs. Smith had 6 nurses as well as equipment protecting her privacy surrounding her.  Each nurse had a role.  Molly got Mrs. Smith to open her eyes, then to squeeze her hand, then to speak.  Another nurse contacted the ER to send EMTs with a gurney to get Mrs. Smith to the ER.  Another started her on a fluid IV while still another nurse took an EKG and yet another set up and constantly monitored vital signs, calling them out to the team.

Within 4 minutes, Mrs. Smith, awake and groggy, was wheeled out to the ER with Brittany, the nurse who originally caught her fall, holding her hand and walking with her.

*****

I can honestly say as an expert patient, that being sick sucks.  Often we grouse at our doctors and nurses and other caretakers.  We bitch about the hospitals, the costs, everything.  Because we don’t want to need these services.

But, like Mrs. Smith (not her real name), I’ve been in need of help before.  And when it’s you on the receiving end, it’s hard to appreciate the artistry.

I saw a the most amazing demonstration well-trained staff of caring professionals.  I have a lot of faith in my healthcare professionals, but it was fascinating and wonderful watching when I’m not on the receiving end.

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How I’ll Protest the AHCA

It’s all been said already.  The GOP bill, TrumpDoesn’tCare, sucks.  And frankly, I am unable to find the funny in the fact that the current leaders just sold us down the River Styx, on our way to hell.

I feel it personally, deeply.  I honestly fear for the future of myself and everybody like me with a preexisting condition.  Everybody with a chronic condition that requires expensive medicine.  Mine costs $26K every six weeks.  Over the 5 years of the “pool” the GOP added to the AHCA, I’ll use $1 million just by myself.  Because of poop problems.

Folks keep telling me that I’m over-reacting, that this bill will never pass the Senate.  And that’s true.  But I have no faith that the Senate version will be much better, only different.  After all, it is run by the folks who literally stole a supreme court seat.  Does anybody really believe that these guys will do the right thing?

So clearly there is only one response that I have to Donald Trump and the House GOP.

If you hear about somebody doing this at the White House or on Capitol Hill, just pretend you don’t know me.

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You’ve been waiting for this, haven’t you?


April Fools for normal folks.  A must have product for folks with poo problems.

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Smitten-ish

As I’ve told you, comedy always comes in threes.  And today?  Today was a veritable shamrock of humor.  And you know what?  Just when I had had a long lapse in providing all of you with the information that brings you here, it was all poop-related humor.

You’re welcome.  It’s my new years’ gift for you.

It started just as soon as I got up and, ummmm, and checked the news headlines.  I learned that the Japanese are wiping up.  Literally.  They are supplying antiseptic wipes for your phone in public bathrooms.  Now, I personally wipe my phone quite frequently, so I actually thought this was a great idea, right out of the, ummm, gate.

But then I saw that they provide video instructions.  On how to use toilets, different butt wiping techniques, and step-by-step guides for how to wipe your phone.

I know you didn’t click on that.  But you should have.  At first, I admit that I only watched part of it, because I consider myself a toilet expert.  Nobody does the elephant or the horse style better than (or as often as) me.  However, the full international experience is worth your 2:11.

You know what?  The day got better.

Because I also learned about special-use mittens.  They are wet-wipes in the shape of mittens to keep your hands clean while wiping.  They’re called “Shittens.”  Really!  Here’s the product description:

If there’s one great universal truth that we can all agree on, it’s this: No one wants poop on their hands.

And yet, we laugh carelessly in the face of danger every time we take an old fashioned wet wipe to our heinies, flying completely blind in the critical poop-to-hand spatial relation.

How many times have you taken one of those substandard wet wipes to the posterior of a child, risking major contamination from that flailing poop cloth? And how many times has your dog’s “number two” been a little closer to a number one “and a half”, requiring a deadly grab & pull maneuver with whatever’s laying around? Enough is enough!

With new Shittens, you can fully protect your hands while tending to the dirty deed.

If you’re 12, or are generally short on bathroom humor, just go to the Shittens’ Amazon Q&A page/Customer reviews.  You won’t be disappointed.

Lastly, I read an article that might just give me nightmares:

A woman called Animal Control last week after she found a snake in a toilet in an Arlington County apartment. To repeat: She. Found. A. Snake. In. A. Toilet.

snake-in-toilet

Photo Credit:  Arlington County Animal Shelter.

At a minimum, it will make me use the buddy system whenever I skip to my loo.

The snake is a juvenile Yellow Anaconda.  Researcher that I am, I looked up Yellow Anaconda snakes.  Here’s what I learned:

They belong to the family of snakes, Boidae, which contains pythons, boas and the green anaconda, the world’s largest snake. Even though yellow anacondas are much smaller their cousin the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus), they can reach a length of up to 4.6 meters, but the average adult size is around 3 meters.  [Shit, I had to underline that.]

Thanks for the info, Snake Facts!

All I can say is that if I found a large snake (or even a small snake, now that I think about it) in my toilet, I wouldn’t call the animal shelter.  I’d call Amazon for a shitload of Shittens.  

shittens

Because it would be “cleanup on aisle 3,” for sure.

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