[Warning: You may never look at this sweet childhood character the same way after reading this post.]
We think of Winnie the Pooh as sweet, naive, and loyal to his friends. And so I find myself in need of a Pooh in my life. I’m seeking a small donation, one of little value to you, something you would normally flush down the toilet.
Before you dump this post in disgust, hear me out. Recall I’ve been a little off lately, and I’ve undergone a few tests recently to figure out what was wrong. Dr. Foie Gras was expecting to find nothing, only because he is as yet unfamiliar with my consistently anomalous test results.
Turns out all that kefir chugging was for naught: I was diagnosed with C. difficile, an infection common among recently hospitalized immunocompromised patients who’ve been on wide-spectrum antibiotics. I was starting to wonder if something might be wrong with my beloved gut flora but it didn’t occur to me to seek medical attention. I figured I’d just wait until I saw the doctor. Will I never learn?
Both Dr. F.G. and Dr. Family called me with the not-so-surprising results, and onto antibiotics I went. These pills aren’t supposed to be as toxic as the ones that led to the infection in the first place, but they do have the unfortunate potential side effect of…wait for it…the runs. As if I haven’t been rushing to the station enough lately. Thanks a lot, medication. In fact, all I’ve noticed so far is the persistent taste of freshly chewed nails and a much happier gut.
One bout of C. diff may increase my likelihood of getting another, and certain strains of this infection are antibiotic resistant. That’s where you come in. Turns out the newest and most effective treatment for recurrent C. diff is a fecal transplant. It’s not really the poo that does the trick but the healthy gut bacteria within it. Yes, patients have been miraculously cured of their GI ills when someone else’s poo is inserted through one end or the other.
Researchers are even working on “crapsules”. (I’d love to take credit, but I stole that term from this very funny New Yorker article on the subject. Take a look and you’ll understand my reference to Winnie the Pooh.) These pills will have a thick outer coating that will not dissolve in the mouth. Actually, even I, a brave unflavoured-kefir guzzler, may have a little trouble choking this cure-all down, but I’ll do anything for health. It would certainly help if I didn’t have to taste it.
And so, dear friends, do not be surprised if one day I ask to borrow your excrement. “Borrow” is the wrong word, since I won’t return it. I’ll be asking out of faith in your healthy gut bacteria, so consider the request a compliment. Also, you could potentially save my life. I’m giving you a heads up so you can acclimatize yourself to the idea.
If you’re too squeamish, thankfully a dear dog-loving friend has already stepped up. She said: “I don’t mind picking up my dogs’ poop, so for sure no issues with collecting my own.” Now that’s a true friend.