Friday, July 19, 2013

Bet You're Jealous

I love getting parcels in the mail.

Usually they're filled with fun stuff - running shoes, running singlets, sugar flowers to put on cupcakes. Sometimes they're filled with utilitarian stuff like vacuum bags or ink cartridges for the printer. Sometimes they're filled with stuff that you just don't want to have to deal with.

The parcel that I got this week fit into that category. I know that I should be grateful to have gotten it. And I know that the parcel was just the government's way of saying 'we care about every tiny little detail of you'. I also know that by doing what the parcel required of me could possibly save me from a very horrible and painful death. But that still doesn't stop me from being squeamish.

Yes, I was squeamish. Me - who used to stick her arm up the backsides of cows and still, to this day, enjoy expressing the anal glands of our little fox terrier. I just wanted to chuck the parcel away and ignore the fact that I'd ever received it.

But a little voice inside me head wouldn't let me. And so I sucked up every last bit of preciousness and dealt with it.

This was what was in the parcel.

It contained lots of instructions and vials and labels and stuff. All very scientificky. Reminded me of my university days and those hours spent taking samples of intestinal fluids from different areas of a sheep's gut.

The instructions were pretty straightforward and apparently hilarious if you're not the one who has to undergo the test. #1 son, Sam, didn't even try to keep a straight face when he was reading out the instructions to me. He particularly liked the stylised drawing of the faecal sample (poo to those of you who haven't had my scientific background and s#@t to the rest of you who like to call a spade a bloody shovel).

I felt the pressure of performance all week. I didn't want to have to do the test on my running mornings because delving into ones own faeces at 5:00am is beyond what my sensibilities can deal with. And taking it on my run just in case it was one of 'those' runs didn't seem like a fun option (although the vials would have fit nicely into my Spibelt). Having to explain to someone who's seen you squatting behind a bush that you were just doing a highly classified scientific experiment for the government would probably see you on the end of some very sceptical stares.

 I was very relieved (no pun intended) when I could finally post off my samples - in a normal letterbox with other people's important mail. I said a little prayer as the parcel disappeared down the gaping maw of the box that I'd screwed up the test tubes good and tight. And then another little prayer for the person who's job it is to have to open all those returning parcels. Because as much as I thought mine was a pretty horrible parcel to receive, theirs is infinitely worse.

I guess I wanted to overshare my experience as a heads up to those of you Australians who read my blog who haven't yet turned 50 so you know what delights are ahead of you. And to you non-Australians - aren't you jealous that you don't have a government who's so 'anal' about the health of their constituents?

I couldn't finish this post on that unsavoury note so I'll leave you with a couple of photos that are way more pleasant.

The wattle is out at the park that I run through near my home. I suspect that it's that wattle that's been making my eyes itchy - because they've only been itchy since the flowers have come out. But I'm happy to endure itchy eyes just because they're so pretty. My nodding acquaintance that you can just see at the bottom of the picture agreed that it was a beautiful sight and she didn't think it was at all weird that I was taking photos of it on my run.

More cupcakes! I haven't had so much sewing to do lately. Had my week's work finished by Wednesday afternoon which left me with nothing to do on Thursday and Friday except bake. Vanilla berry cakes were what #2 son Josh suggested and this is what he got.


  1. Not fair!.... We dont get gifts in the mail like that in the states!

  2. I don't think I knew that the bowel testing kits existed! Good grief. Something to look forward to besides letters about breast examinations and pap smears!

  3. The Australian government - so thoughtful. I don't envy the person on the receiving end of all those parcels. There must be hundreds of thousands of parcels... What do you suppose the return rate is?

  4. Yeah no kit like that here. It's done in the doc's office, which reminds me I need to make an appt. Oye.
    LOve the vanilla berry! Have a great race/run...however you decide to do it.

  5. So is that the Australian version of a colonoscopy? I'm not gonna lie, I think I prefer the way we do it here - I don't want to receive or have to send crap in the mail!!!

  6. I knew what it was going to be well before you got there. That is something that it comes to everyone. I don't think it is our colonoscopy. That is much more invasive and not something you could do at home. This is the s@#$ screening test. I have had to leave that off at my dr's office in the morning before they opened. In a box for parcels being dropped off. Never felt quite right leaving it but those were the instructions. Imagine getting the parcels out of that box.

  7. Thank goodness the UK don;t do that sort of thing ... they'd possibly make a monumental screw up of it if they tried or you would get some old biddies not closing tubes properly eeeeewwwww!

  8. We do those here too, but we get the "package" from our local clinic and return it there. Yuck! I also can't help but pity the poor person who studied so long in school to be able to analyse other people's S?$#t all day!

    Thanks for the lovely visual of the cupcakes :)

  9. Nope not jealous because I have to get through this too in a couple of years. In Holland you get tested for ovarian cancer every 5 years, starting on your 30th birthday. So far I have done that 3 times. I still need to make an appointment for the next. Had to do that in May but I constantly forgot.

    When I turn 50 I will get an invitation for a mammogram for breast cancer every 5 years from then.

    I think it's good they test you for this.


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