Every time I get ready to write off the New York Times, I read something so perfect that I have to admit that I don’t hate the Times, I only hate the Style section and the Op-Eds and the Metropolitan Diary and the coverage of Brooklyn. So, not everything.
One thing I definitely don’t hate and, in fact, love, is the Times coverage of fecal matter. This morning, I was lucky enough to receive an email from one David Shaw, whose subject line read, “eat shit, or die.” Immediately, I thought, What did I do now? My mind raced. I came up with nothing, though, because I have a clear conscience, right now. So I opened the email and found a link to a Times article about the latest medical breakthrough—fecal transfers.
Yes, in an A-1 story—front page and above the fold in the print edition, for those of you who who have never read the Times print—titled “When Pills Fail, This, er, Option Provides a Cure”, Denise Grady covers a new medical treatment that involves, “transplanting feces from a healthy person into the gut of one who is sick can quickly cure severe intestinal infections caused by a dangerous type of bacteria that antibiotics often cannot control.”
Fecal transfer is used to combat a stubborn bacteria C. difficile which is not only caused by antibiotics but is basically antibiotic-resistant and gives sufferers severe diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Fecal transfers have been one of the only, almost surefire, ways of combatting C. difficile and doctors and patients are “hop[ing] the results will help bring fecal transplants into the medical mainstream, because for some patients nothing else works.”
But how does this transplant take place exactly? Well, the stool sample is watered down with a saline solution so that it resembles “chocolate milk” and is then “pump[ed] it into the intestinal tract via an enema, a colonoscope or a tube run through the nose into the stomach or small intestine.” Even though some patients were resistant to this approach at first, its effectiveness has helped people get over their shitphobia and suck it up. The Times points out that this treatment has historic precedence and that it “has often been used to cure gut trouble in cows and horses. Books on traditional Chinese medicine mention giving it to people by mouth to cure diarrhea in the fourth century; one book called it yellow soup.”
Yellow soup. Chocolate milk. I know what I’m having for lunch.
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