Ottawa Five-O

Turning 50 was no big deal for me: I’d just bought this house, and while the move was a pain in many asses, it was a one-time thing. Then again, I’m not a Canadian woman:

In the spring, my doctor handed me an envelope decorated with a cluster of bright balloons and the words “Happy Birthday!”

Alas, this deceptively cheerful package concealed the usual tips on diet and exercise, plus requisition forms for all the annual medical tests I’d be getting from now on.

The mammogram is bad enough. I got my first one before having my doubts about the procedure confirmed, and now I’m stuck in the “Ontario Breast Screening Program” because “free” “health” “care.”

But now I also have to get blood work for cholesterol (how 1970s!), glucose and a bunch of other things, plus an ECG.

The worst part: I need to send little swabs of poo through the mail. (Although it could be worse: it could be my job to open those envelopes. And a special shout-out to my Facebook friend for sharing her “float a Chinet dessert plate in the toilet” trick.)

It’s all part of the splendor and pageantry of turning 50.

For what it’s worth, I had my first colorectal screening in my late forties, and I didn’t have to send anyone any poo. Downside: I had to write a check with four digits before the decimal point, which was worse.


  1. fillyjonk »

    18 July 2014 · 9:36 am

    Oh, yeah. My health insurer sends me a very sad birthday card every year full of “helpful tips.” I’m not even 50 yet.

    At least they don’t ask for me to send them samples through the mail.

  2. Roger Green »

    18 July 2014 · 4:00 pm

    I’ve had three colonoscopies. Not awful. And covered by insurance, for me, thank goodness.
    My wife’s brother died of colon cancer *(at the age of 41!), so she’s been doing them longer than I, though I’m older.

  3. jsallison »

    18 July 2014 · 11:00 pm

    I was required to mail poo on active duty after being exposed to radioactive coatings on optical components that had been trashed during ‘controlled’ testing (dropping artillery on tanks is ‘controlled’? buahahaha!), later again by the VA just because. I’ve since dispensed with the VA, just in time, apparently and my provider does this stuff in office, not by mail.

  4. Tatyana »

    19 July 2014 · 8:54 am

    Sending poop in the mail? Sadly, I’ve done that, once. After first incredulous look I gave the booklet with instructions (the scene was in the bathroom -naturally – I caught the sight if myself in the mirror), reading them was, actually, fun.
    Or I choose to see it as fun.
    Dignity is fast-disappearing commodity, you better be tenacious.

    In other news: Shaidle now writes for Taki.

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