1. Visit Cambodia with your grandma and 17 other geriatrics on an all-inclusive seniors cruise.
  2. Ignore your doctor’s advice and eat the street food because your people have endured far worse than chili basil tofu cooked in a makeshift tent on the side of the road.
  3. Suffer through the most exquisite bout of diarrhea the next morning that leaves you tearfully clutching at your burning rectum, begging the Lord you renounced in eighth grade to take you now.
  4. Vow never to eat street food again.
  5. Eat street food again because it’s delicious and it’s only one more day of explosive diarrhea.
  6. Return home and proceed to have diarrhea every morning for the next five years.
  7. Google “diarrhea every day,” “bloating,” and “discomfort after eating” and realize you probably most definitely have colorectal cancer.
  8. Panic and cry in the toilets at work.
  9. Decide if you only have a year left to live, you’re going to quit your job and embark on a macaroni-and-cheese tour around the States.
  10. Decide in the meantime you should see a doctor.
  11. See a doctor.
  12. Break down immediately when he suggests you cut out oats for breakfast.
  13. Explain that oats are all you have, that oats are your reason for getting up in the morning, that you don’t smoke or drink alcohol or do drugs—you eat oats.
  14. Nod when he says he’d like you to do 10,000 steps a day and know that you’re never going to do that ever.
  15. Break down again when he lays out the medical procedures that lay ahead, noting that a year-long mac-and-cheese tour sounds far better than a colonoscopy.
  16. Resolve, as he hands you a box of tissues, to never make an appointment with a doctor when you’re this pre-menstrual.
  17. Agree to at least give a stool sample for now.
  18. Leave with the sealed bag of canisters and what’s left of your dignity.
  19. Cry silently on the bus because you should’ve addressed this five years ago and console yourself later with a bowl of oats.
  20. Race to the bathroom the next morning when you experience the familiar rumblings in your stomach.
  21. Lodge the deli plastic container you stole from your neighbor’s bin inside the toilet bowl and watch between spread legs as you carefully defecate into it, recalling the image of a soft serve machine in use.
  22. Dry retch as you remove the container from the bowl and place it at your feet.
  23. Note that it looks exactly like cow manure and reeks of rotting eggs.
  24. Note that you don’t eat eggs.
  25. Attempt to scoop the warm poo into the tiny canister using the spade-like lid.
  26. Fail miserably and realize, as you push the sickly green sludge around, that what you need is another disposable spoon which is precisely what you don’t have.
  27. Accidentally drop the lid into the poo.
  28. Accidentally get poo on your fingers.
  29. Question how humankind can get a person on the moon but can’t develop a less primitive way to procure stool samples.
  30. Feel like there’s a Shark Tank opportunity in here somewhere.
  31. Eventually fill up the canister.
  32.  Feel like a war veteran as you carry the canister to the kitchen. You've really seen some shit.
  33. Wonder if you should wait for the poo to cool down before you refrigerate it.
  34. Decide it’s like cooked rice and should be refrigerated immediately.
  35. Realize you don’t know if that’s even true about rice.
  36. Repeat the process the next morning, making sure to drop the lid again into the poo and get poo on your fingers.
  37. Hand in the stool samples before work.
  38. Feel like a Responsible Adult™ and reward yourself that night with a double serving of oats.
  39. Spend the rest of the week waiting for your results, praying it’ll yield a diagnosis so you won’t have to get a blood test which terrifies you beyond all reason.
  40. Google your symptoms again.
  41. Find out you could have IBS or coeliac disease which is no big deal since you already follow a gluten-free diet.
  42. Stumble upon an article that claims oats are not in fact gluten-free, that they contain the gluten protein, avenin.
  43. Read with horror as you learn there is a small percentage of people who have an oat intolerance.
  44. Panic as you struggle to envision a life without oats.
  45. Acknowledge that this is not a normal reaction to have to live a life without oats.
  46. Wonder then, as you dig into your third bowl, if maybe you’re addicted to oats.
  47. Realize it’s the one variable in your diet that hasn’t changed in the past five years and that maybe your doctor was onto something when he suggested cutting it out.
  48. Feel a deep and overwhelming sadness that you attribute to your menstrual cycle but know is really about the oats.
  49. Receive your stool results which of course test negative for everything.
  50. Find out you have to get a blood test.
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