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I Was Wrong A Few Years Ago Because This Is The Most Awkward Errand Ever

by Alex Iwashyna

in Awkward

I once claimed that carrying sperm-less soup to the urologist was the most awkward errand ever. I was wrong.

Today, I go to my first GI appointment to figure out what’s up on with my stomach issues that I’ve had for the last six months. The doctor listens, and I feel great that he’s being thorough. So thorough in fact, that when I show up to have my labs drawn they refuse because I didn’t have my sample yet.

Me: Sample?

Phlebotomist: Yes, we can’t split up your order. Here’s the tube and seat and gloves because it can get a little messy. The sample needs to reach this line, and try not to get any urine in it.

Me: That’s a lot of crap.

Phlebotomist: If you can’t get here today, you need to freeze it.

Feeling like the phlebotomist is saying, And I will forever know you had a poopsicle in your freezer, I head home determined to be back with a vial full of stool. I HAVE STANDARDS.

But while I may have diarrhea of the mouth, my other end is feeling shy so I make some phone calls.

Suddenly, I have a hello from below.

Me: I gotta go.

Friend on phone: Wait, can I ask you one more thing?

Me: No.

I walk into the bathroom armed and ready to get what I came for even though, as I explained to Scott, I’d have to pee and poop separately.

Scott: What? You just pee first.

Me: Well, for guys it must be different because you have to always decide: Urinal or Toilet. I don’t have to think about it much. UNTIL TODAY.

Scott: So you just sit down and WHO KNOWS WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN? You shouldn’t say I’m peeing or I’m pooping. You should say I’m peeooping. Because you never know!

I work through my peeooping tendencies as best a lady can, and I glove, scoop and give my phlebotomist a mental shout out for suggesting I write my name on everything BEFOREHAND because she was right, it is a messy business. When I reach the very high line on the vial, I want to shout: I HAVE DONE THE DEED.

Except the errand has only begun. I have to brown bag it.

Brown Bag With a Brown Turd

Brown Bag of Awkward

And I have to pick up my daughter first because my bottom did not time dropping off its own kids at the pool around me picking mine up.

I slyly look out my front door because not only do I have a brown bag, I have a special seat to catch the stink crew, and I refuse to throw it away in the kitchen trash can. However, I can’t pull off small talk with all this poop in my hand. Luckily, the only people outside are fixing a neighbor’s roof, and I decide that they won’t suspect a poop seat if I act nonchalant as though it might not be a poop seat.

I also make no eye contact so I have no idea if this plan worked.

After tossing the seat, I put the brown bag into the car, and this is when I decide that my current errand is more awkward than the deposit errand I ran two years ago. My errand smells like butt.

I drive to my daughter’s school and lock the car because I don’t want to have to scoop my poop ever again or take it for scenic drive around town. As we walk from school back to the car, I mention an errand but I don’t give away the details because for the first time in a long time, I want her to stay innocent of what the world holds for her. That sometimes when our stomach hurts for longer than six months, medical science will punish us by making us poop in plastic tubs and spoon them in plastic tubes and brown bags that we then have to carry to strangers.

As my daughter and I walk into the closest drop-off place, I repeat to myself DIGNITY DIGNITY DIGNITY as I employ a half-smile, blank-stare down the longest hallway in Richmond, Virginia.

The phlebotomist behind the counter looks at the sample and says: Who told you to use this tube?

Me: She didn’t give me her name.

Other Phlebotomist: It’s the wrong vial. You need two different tubes for this order. I have to toss out your sample.

As she walks away, I am crestfallen another person is throwing away a plastic bottle of my turds.

I pitifully reply: You know this was the most awkward errand ever.

Part II: Not Peeooping

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Skye February 21, 2013 1

I am so sorry you have to do that again! I have actually experienced the same awkward errand on 2 different occasions. The first time, I got a stomach virus on a multi-school field trip (in Richmond!) and so many people got sick, the VA Dept. of Health requested voluntary stool samples to figure out what it was. (Something boring. Ugh.) So at least I can say I gave my poop to science that time. The second time I was sick. I totally sympathize with the feeling of the poop (or in your other awkward errand, semen) collection people judging your samples- wth? I hope you find out what is wrong and feel better soon! (I never found out exactly what was wrong with me, but eventually it went away…)


Leigh Ann February 21, 2013 2

A hello from below! I’m dying. I really hope the second time was a charm. No one should have to deal with stomach pains, awkward errands, AND incompetent, uncommunicative phlebotomists. Did I spell that right?


Amy February 21, 2013 3

You said “poopsicle.” Heh heh.

Hilarious post!


Moe Daniels February 21, 2013 4

Funniest. Post. Ever.

But so sorry you have go through that again…

I’ve never had to deliver a vial of poop, but I have had to deliver the gallon o’ pee. You know, the one that needs to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours as you periodically top off its rising levels? The one that causes your kids to keep asking if they can have some of that “lemonade in the funny-looking jug”? Yikes.

Good luck, mama. Keep us posted.


Kate February 21, 2013 5

Being too well acquainted with this errand of shame, I can only nod and laugh. I wish I had had your sense of humor as I carried by poo tube across campus years ago.


Tracie February 21, 2013 6

I have done this errand. It is the most awkward errand ever. I’m so sorry you have to do it again.


angela February 21, 2013 7

Oh no. There should be a special punishment for people who say, “I have to toss out your sample,” when you’ve been driving around with said sample in your car. I’m sorry Alex.


Chara February 21, 2013 8

Oh no! You have to do it again?! With modern medicine you’d think there’d be a better way.


thekitchwitch February 21, 2013 9

You win. You SO win.


Lily from It's A Dome Life February 21, 2013 10

Having to do it twice just isn’t right. How could someone get the tubes wrong? I mean how many different tubes are there for this kind of thing?

I keep thinking about how you locked the door to keep your brown bag safe. I can’t stop giggling about someone swiping it and how disappointed they would be to open it.


lydia k. February 21, 2013 11

Wow. Yes. Worst errand ever. And now you get to do it again?! Poor Alex.


The Sweetest February 21, 2013 12

omg. that phlebotomist is a turd.


Eve February 21, 2013 13

I am immediately forming a punk band called Poopsicle and our first album will be “Brown Bag of Awkward”. This blog is hysterical. I mean I FEEL for ya, but holy, well, shit, it was funny.


Alex Iwashyna February 21, 2013 14

Do I get to be in the band or am I more of a mascot? I can only play keyboard, but I do have good hair.


Eve February 21, 2013 15

You shall be the lead singer. Sort of the anti-Katy Perry.

And thank Scott for answering a question I have long wondered about. I have thought about how men have to decide whether to sit or stand in the loo but do they know that sometimes when women sit to pee, they get a surprise and that they are capable of going #1 and #2 at the same time (#3, shall we call it)? They need to work that into the lectures at med school.


Kim February 21, 2013 16

I have to tell you I read this after ordering stool samples for a patient and just about died laughing…well written. I hope we can catch up soon!


Alex Iwashyna February 21, 2013 17

Now you’ve seen it from both ends. Heh.
Let’s try and catch up tomorrow morning if you’re around.


Niki February 21, 2013 18

OMG Scott’s response – dying – Peeooping HA!
Dropping off it’s own kids at the pool – you are too much!


Kristin @ What She Said February 21, 2013 19

This is hands-down the BEST POOP POST EVER. Possibly the best post ever. The poop euphemisms are killing me. Because I’m apparently a 12-year-old boy.


Anne@AlwaysHalfFull February 21, 2013 20

I am laughing so hard at this. So sorry you have to do it all over again!


Alison February 21, 2013 21

I’m sorry that lady shit all over you with the wrong vial info. Damnit.
People can be such turds.
Also, laughing my butt off. :)


Robin | Farewell, Stranger February 21, 2013 22

Dying laughing. (Sorry.)

I’m not sure I could do it. Truly. Kudos to you and your poop.


Katie February 22, 2013 23

Are you kidding me?? They couldn’t have used it for something??


Alex Iwashyna February 22, 2013 24

Perhaps only as a warning to all the other peeooping people that may follow.


Leslie @ The Bearded Iris February 22, 2013 25

Kristin was right. This IS the funniest poop post ever. And I know poop. In fact, please excuse me while I pin your peeoopy poopsicle to my POOP pinterest board. (Oh God, that sounds so much worse than I had intended.)


Kimberly February 22, 2013 26

I feel all sorts of violated for you.
I would’ve asked if I could just scoop some out and put it in the proper vials but then I’d look creepy and then i would probably puke because I haven’t played with my poop since I was 1 years old so says my Mom. She’s a liar.


Melissa February 22, 2013 27

I have made this walk MANY times. I refer the whole process as “the chemistry set errand”. SIGH. I hope you find some answers after all of this fun.


Billie February 22, 2013 28

Ya’ll are so funny! Peeooping…but he’s right. We never have to think about it, sometimes it’s just a big fat surprise!


Imperfect Jessica February 22, 2013 29

Oh my word. My insides are hurting from laughing and from pity for you having to scoop your poop. Hope they find out quickly


Elaine A. February 22, 2013 30

You mean have to do the walk of shame AGAIN? That’s really crappy! ;p Although Alison wins the pun comment award…


Katie February 23, 2013 31

I read this post out loud to Cort because he has also done this Awkward Errand. But he didn’t put it in a brown paper bag making me think he is a masochist. Also? He did not have to endure “I will have to toss our your sample.” WHY COULDN’T THEY JUST PUT IT IN THE RIGHT TUBE?

Please tell me the second catch and carry assignment went smoother. ZERO pun intended.


Alex Iwashyna February 24, 2013 32

I can only say that I walked in hoping they wouldn’t notice the teeth marks and I was attacked with Purell and the more I think about it, the more I see a part II.


Erica February 25, 2013 33

Oh. My. Goodness. I am so impressed by your ability to mine the crazy moments of your life and turn them into award-winning blogography. If you ever see that first phlebotomist again, I can only imagine the talking-to she’s going to get.

I hope they’re able to figure out what’s wrong, because I know this has seriously been a hard road for you, despite your humor through it all!


Lady Jennie February 25, 2013 34

I have had to do this and I hate it hate it hate it!!!!!


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