How To: Provide A Sample (In 15 Short Steps!)


Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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36 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    Congrats! Though considering the tone I’m wondering it should be more of a …congrats?Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    My problem was not with providing the sample months later. That was fine. My problem was with the “Wait a week” advice given by the doctor as I staggered out the waiting room. Hey, it had been a few days. I wanted to take the proverbial car out of the proverbial garage and see what it could proverbially do. Anyway, I had waited six days. What’s the worst that could happen?

    Anyways, I should have waited a week. I probably should have waited two or three.

    The problem wasn’t that the, erm, event itself went poorly. The problem was that, about two hours later, I felt like I had walked into someone getting ready to throw a strike.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    Greatly enjoyed this.Report

  4. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I had to take care of this business to have my sperm checked for fertility (obviously, prior to Lain’s conception). Because the clinic was two hours away, I couldn’t do what they recommended which was take care of business and then quickly drive to the clinic while keeping it warm. Since this was how they wanted things done, they didn’t have a room for business-taking. So I had to go into a restroom in the mall. It was a solitary restroom, not a stall in a restroom used for many people. But still, it meant that I was taking up a restroom that someone might need. No pressure, Will.

    I had some… assistance materials… on my phone, which was about all I could do (since there was no business room, there were no assistance materials). I did manage, but it was among the least pleasant managements I had ever managed.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

      I love taking a trip to Euphemism City. In fact, that’s going to be my new phrase to describe the act.Report

    • Avatar dhex says:

      by “assistance materials” i presume you mean you played “rock me like a hurricane” on repeat?

      because that’s what i would have done. sure, everyone knows you’re sailing the white way, but i think it helps to have a sense of humor about it.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I’m so white that the sound track would have been that Savage Garden song regarding the cherry cola.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        i was playing the splooge card, not the race card.Report

      • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

        Is “sailing the white way” a euphemism too? That’s fantastic.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:


        “Is “sailing the white way” a euphemism too? That’s fantastic.”

        of course. unless it’s riding a boat down broadway. then it’s a literalism.

        don’t know the term for if someone’s yankin’ it while riding a boat down broadway. sailing the white way the white way? white sailing the white way? white sailing? they all sound like euphemisms for a kkk yacht club.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      I did manage, but it was among the least pleasant managements I had ever managed.

      For the price of the service you’d think they could provide a manager, ya know?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      This, above all others, is why you shouldn’t live in the middle of fishin’ no where.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Can we re-title this “Indian Jones and the Sample of Doom”?Report

  6. Avatar Chris says:

    I would probably enjoy it if you did “15 step” posts on pretty much everything you do, ever. These have both been awesome.Report

  7. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    In my case, the lab had a room complete with a variety of magazines, and all went smoothly. I live such a dull life.Report

  8. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Hah! I too got the coldest day of the year to provide my sample. And I had to do it in my business suit. As @will-truman describes, what is usually a pleasant activity was a decidedly businesslike event even with assistive literature and photographic essays available. Which imposes some other unaccustomed logistical difficulties, combined with cold, in ensuring that the sample got in the vial and not all over the place. I enjoyed the question on the form about what percentage of product had actually been captured.

    After the cross-town rocket-race with the sample in a pocket to keep it warm, surprisingly like your experience, I had to wait at the lab counter behind a senior couple who insisted that they had got there first and they should be served first and therefore I should wait with my time-sensitive, heat-sensitive sample vial while they futzed about with arguing about whether the form needed a middle name or just a middle initial.

    Fortunately, the woman behind the counter at the lab took note of my apparent age and abashed facial expression. She told the older couple insisting that they had priority to pee in a jar or something ahead of me, “I need to confirm if this gentlemen has a time-sensitive sample. Do you, sir?” “Yup,” I said, “I’ve got less than ten minutes left, and my paperwork is alldone hereyougo haveanicedaybye,” and placed the vial and form on the counter and damn near sprinted out of there.

    Later that day my, sterility was confirmed, so it all worked out in the end.Report

  9. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Ever had to orgasm? Absolutely had to? Right then? Takes more effort than I’d realized.

    I recall reading an interview with a male porn star who said one of the reasons he got lots of work was directors loved that he could do it on command in 60 seconds or less. After not doing it for a 60-minute shoot. How do you work that into one of those “what kinds of jobs would you be good at?” guidance counselor evaluations?Report

  10. Avatar Morat20 says:

    I spent part of today staring determinedly at a paper drape, wishing I was entirely unaware of what my podiatrist was doing to my toenail. (Hint: Without anesthetic, I totally would have admitted I was a witch. Or anything else).

    And it occurred to me that this woman (who, I might add, is an incredible podiatrist. Quick, efficient, skilled, and who views surgery as absolutely the last resort. Except for ingrown toenails. Apparently, diving right in with horrible, horrible tools is the only choice) does this all the time.

    That all things consider, my clean, non-infected (if badly swollen — epsom salts are magic) toe was probably one of the least disgusting things she’s had to get right up next to and slice into this week, and think “I cannot imagine being a doctor. Ever.”

    I don’t see how they do it. Whether it’s cutting into a person and just ignoring all the blood, pus, and innards or dealing with the thousand god-awful fluids a sick person or child generates…..

    Hat’s off to you. It’s a hard, hard, disgusting job. Mike Rowe should have sat down with a doctor and did a show. Except for the part where he did the job, because that’d be unethical. But at least POINT at a doctor and say “This dude handles your poo, to keep you healthy. And that lady? She just removed what looked like a gallon of pus from someone who should have seen the doctor six weeks ago. And that guy? sick people just cough in his face every day.”Report

  11. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    I got a vasectomy. On Tuesday, I had to provide the sample that ended up proving my sterility.

    Fortunately it didn’t affect your writing.Report

  12. Sam,

    Thanks for this post and the last one. I am (TMI?) considering this procedure, and it’s nice to have a perspective from someone who’s been through ti.

    Again, thanks.Report