Close-up of a cringing man panicking about stool samples imagined as fallen ice cream cones

Stool Sample Collection Panic

For me, the pandemic proved, to be the best time to avoid having to go to the doctor. I’ve never liked going, in the first place. My mom, growing up (me not her) would have to drag me to the doctor, nearly kicking and screaming (me this time, for sure) in order to get looked at. I wasn’t some Victorian child, bedridden and crumbling to dust from sunlight like in the Secret Garden. But, between my IBS, migraine with aura, and anxiety, I was a wonderful candidate for a medical bill or three.

Finding new doctors

Something about the pandemic's constant presence and heightened health awareness made trips to the doctor even more unpleasant. I didn’t want to be in a room with a stranger fewer than 6 feet apart. So I stayed away.

Between that and moving across the state, finding new doctors and performing new tests were at the bottom of my priority list. I mean I could just self-medicate and take over-the-counter solutions for the rest of my life, right? Right?

New IBS tests

Brown ice cream coneThe longer I went without a trip to the gastroenterologist, the more anxious I got. But the more anxious I got, the more felt like I needed a specialist! I got myself stuck in this paralyzing position that I just needed to overcome. How bad could a new gastroenterologist be? They’re just going to ask me lifestyle and diet questions, that’s all! They definitely won’t make me have to poop in some sort of weird cup? They definitely won’t probe my anus with a lil camera worm looking for butt troubles.

I was almost dumbfounded when they told me I’d have to use the restroom in this plastic toilet. One I’m going to have to place over my commode to get an absolutely choice stool sample. But here’s the kicker.

"We don’t want just any solid poop, we want one that’s runny, and emblematic of a bad poop day," my doctor said.

Excuse me, you want me to fight off my painful, gut-obliterating cramps, when I am at my most vulnerable, and evacuate into a bucket? I’m sorry, but, I don’t know when I’ll ever really be able to do that.

Contemplating my IBS stool sample

Fallen splattered ice cream coneSo I’m at a crossroads. Like I know it’s good for me. That his whole job is to assess for complications in my bowel, but there isn’t a great time. When I’m focused on trying to get dairy poison out of me, I don’t think I’ll be dexterous enough to meticulously fire my poop blast into a plastic baby potty.

Baby steps. This is my problem after all. I took a leap towards wellness and I can’t forget that. I can’t just keep letting obstacles get in my way. It’s uncomfortable, for sure, but if this pandemic has taught me anything, is that I’ve been waiting long enough. I can’t keep waiting for things to change without me doing something about it. Even if that means having to find the courage and intestinal strength to use the toilet, then give them a sample. I really hope they need this for medical reasons and not something way more sinister. If you want to clone me, just ask! There are PLENTY of other means that don’t involve pooping into a "stool sample collection pan."

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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