oh poo!


It sounds mad, but you know those bootcamp exercises where people run at a side-step through tyres ?

Lately I’ve been waking mornings thinking; ‘I could do that’ … really fast.

Six months after turning 50 I really never expected to feel this vital … this happy.

There are many reasons I feel so invigorated.

Chiefly my husband is well, my mother – whose ever-diminishing quality of life was weighing on my soul like industrial tablecloth weights – is at peace, I’m feeling stimulated by my work and am enjoying reconnecting with old friends.

Also I’m exercising regularly, plus eating and generally sleeping better than I have in years.

Indeed, life at 50 would almost be perfect if it were not for unsettling demands to send poo through the post.

I must have been in the bathroom when they rolled out the National Bowel Screening Program because the delivery of the kit came as a great surprise.

Hmm, I wonder what this is, I said shaking the curiously light-for-size package handed to me when I went to clear the post box.

I’m guessing you had a significant birthday recently,” the lass behind the post office counter smiled half-apologetically. “It’s the government’s present.”

Well, thanks, but I would have preferred a nice card.

There are two extremes of opinion about medicals.

At one end of the scale you have people who bail up innocent GPs at cocktail parties and demand inspection of their latest paper cut.

Then there are those like me to whom you only need say Dr and I’m gone before hearing who.

My anxiety about medicos is so acute that I’ve actually been diagnosed with “white coat syndrome” and they could probably do with nets to catch me.

This followed being driven to a neighbourhood surgery for a painful middle ear infection.

As happens on the very rare occasions I go to the doctor, my blood pressure was off the chart.

Thankfully this doctor – instead of immediately suggesting I may need to embark on a medication regime for life – actually sent me home with a blood pressure kit rather than out on a fishing exercise with a sheaf of unnecessary pathology requests.

And my blood pressure – under consistent morning and evening monitoring over a month by my husband – proved to be entirely normal.

The root of my phobia is old and complex.

I fully understand the psychology, but can’t shake the fear that if you ferret around enough you’ll find something wrong with any human body which invariably exposes another problem until pretty soon your entire entrails are unravelled in a steaming pile in front of you.

Which brings me back to the bowel cancer screening.

I tossed the kit in the boot of the car where it remains with two broken umbrellas, a dog coat and an ancient Melways.

Now, the screening folk have started sending me firm, but highly irregular demands via Australia Poost.

I must actively do something and opt out if I am to stop them which is galling as this interest in my faecal matter is entirely unsolicited.

Not being one to hold out indefinitely I will furnish the relevant folk with a stool, but not right now, OK! Not when I feel some damn good.

Experience has taught me a lesson which no amount of proactive, preventative health-care messaging can undo readily and I don’t believe I’m alone.

If you examine your own motions too closely, it’s generally when the proverbial hits the fan.



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