The Poop Collection Conundrum

Definition of Conundrum: “an intricate and difficult problem.”

Did I mention the sheer volume of tests the GI ordered for Mr. Happy and Mr. Charm?

Mr. Charm's tests are on the left, and Mr. Happy's tests are on the right.

Mr. Charm’s tests are on the left, and Mr. Happy’s tests are on the right.

Did you catch that they are STOOL samples?

I wasn’t too concerned…I’ve collected LOTS of poop from my kiddos over the last two and a half years!

Until the time came to start collecting.  I have NINE vials of poop to collect for Mr. Happy alone, plus a urine sample.

Dude.  He’s EIGHT MONTHS OLD.

This should be fun…

So they gave me some nifty little bags to place over his, um, privates, to collect the pee.  They work pretty well, actually.  Except, if you don’t watch them carefully?  They leak.

That’s not too big a problem, as I managed to collect almost all the pee we needed at one time.

But the poop…ah, the poop.  THAT is a problem!

He’s an exclusively breastfed baby, who has been having mild reactions for months now.  That means his poop is incredibly liquid-y…meaning that it soaks in to the diaper so fast I can hardly collect any!

I scraped poop out of his diapers from Tuesday through Monday – a full 7 days – and only had enough to halfway fill one tube.  

Only 8.5 more tubes to go!  Ack!

Of course, the problem is that the poop has to be “fresh” in order to run tests on it…so that tube was useless because some of the poop in it was so old!

I wracked my brain trying to think of a way to collect more poop.  First I thought ‘rubber pants’…but the only ones I could find were in a size 2T.  I thought they still might work for what I was trying to do, but…well, see for yourself!

I had to use a "chip clip" to even get it to stay on, and there are still HUGE gaps everywhere!

I had to use a “chip clip” to even get it to stay on, and there are still HUGE gaps everywhere!

He peed once, it went everywhere, and I decided the rubber pants weren’t going to work.

Finally I had exhausted all the options available to me in Atlanta and went to my resident experts, the Mamas on FB.  I asked if they had any brilliant suggestions…and they did!

For starters, they concurred that my idea was a good one, but of course, I would need rubber pants that fit.  The other brilliant idea was to use the urine collection bags, remove the foam from the edge, and stick it on his butt.  Then leave him basically diaper free and wait until he’s pooped into the bag!

That sounded pretty good to me!  Only, we didn’t have enough bags.  I still had more pee to collect and there was only one more collection bag in our stash.

No matter; Mr. Charm’s samples were all collected and ready to go (he’s two, after all, and poops A LOT more!) so I decided to drop his samples off at the lab and ask for more collection bags.

Turns out, we’d been shorted one vial at our original lab visit; they gave us the missing vial and sent us on our way, informing me that by the way, this lab location doesn’t stock urine collection bags.

Greeeaaaaat.

Tuesday was our appointment with the dietician, and I knew the lab in their building had the urine bags.  So I went home, hoped Mr. Charm would poop before we went to the dietician, and waited.

Thank goodness, he did!  So once again, we were ready to turn in his samples at the lab.  This time, we turned in all of his samples, and the wonderful lab tech that did Mr. Happy’s blood draw was just full of good news.

First he had to tell me that the one tube I sort of had ready was no good because of the age.  But THEN, he informed me that the amount I had in the tube was more than enough to run tests on!  Apparently, the “Fill to this Line” mark on the tubes is meant more to prohibit people from filling OVER that line than saying it needs to be full TO that line!

He assured me that 1 TBS of poop in each vial was enough.  Whew!!  That will make it a LOT easier to accomplish this goal!

Then he assured me that the urine I had collected was enough for the urinalysis, even though it wasn’t quite at the line he had previously marked to tell me how much to collect.

So, one test down.

And the others will be easier to do.

Mama felt better already!

Our wonderful lab tech replaced the poop-tube-that-was-no-good with a new one, gave us a LARGE stack of urine collection bags, and wished us a safe flight home.

Seriously, y’all…everyone we dealt with in Atlanta was absolutely wonderful.  It was a direct 180 off of how our previous medical experiences have gone!

So now we get to collect the rest of the poop samples, find a LabCorp location near us, and drop them off in a timely manner.

Once the tests have been run, the three brains will get together and figure out what/where/when and why to do whatever comes next for the boys.

I am thrilled!

Well, except for the collecting poop part.  But honestly?  It’s not that big a deal.  The Geek and I spend so much time examining, smelling, picking through and talking about poop that it is hard for us to remember that for some people, even thinking about poop turns their stomachs.

We make interesting dinner guests.  <grin>

__________

Tomorrow will be the big reveal of the third FPIES brain to join our team: the Dietician!

And…just because it is SO cute…a gratuitous Mr. Happy shot of him examining a window:

So stinking cute...

So stinking cute…

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