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REDSTONE • REVIEW

JUNE 13 / JULY 18, 2018

EXPRESSIONS Trying to get past the ick factor By Richard A. Joyce Redstone Review PUEBLO – In the United States, and indeed throughout the world, there is great need among people all the time. For that reason, people everywhere are asked every day Joyce to donate to one cause or another by organizations trying to save species from extinction, to aid the homeless, to feed the world’s hungry, etc., etc., etc. The number of individuals, private organizations and even governments seeking donations for good causes seems infinite – and may very well be. I’ve given blood, and my driver’s license informs medical personnel that I’m willing to donate any and all of my organs upon my death, though I think the value of those parts surely must depreciate with age. If I live long enough, it may only be my nails and hair that will be worth harvesting, and I can’t think of a real use for them at that point either. Still, I’m willing. But now, in our land, a call has gone out for donors of a very special item: poop. Poop may not seem all that special at first glance – or whiff, for that matter. We’re definitely programmed to avoid it (though the behaviors of infants and toddlers with the stuff may point more toward learning than hardwired avoidance), we keep it as far from us as possible once it has made its way into our external environment, and we bring it into that environment so many times in our lives that it’s simply a ubiquitous messy and stinky inconvenience for most of us. In our homes, simple plumbing technology whisks it away, and in our towns and cities, sewage treatment plants aim to keep it from contaminating downstream

waterways. Floods and technology breakdowns do periodically thwart that aim in some locations, however. The rest of the time, we ignore it as much as possible. Of course, our toilet habits and those of others all affect how often we’re forced to be aware of it. Those with children in the infant and early toddler stages can’t ignore it at all. Yet, poop has several good aspects. The Martian would never have made it home without it, for example, and it will serve future space explorers well. In the current medical world, fecal transplants are considered the best way to treat Clostridium difficile, a bacteria that can cause

life-threatening diarrhea, and one that often grows uncontrollably if antibiotics used against it kill off too much of the beneficial bacteria we have in our intestines. A study done in 2015 by the CDC determined the bacteria had caused 500,000 infections and 15,000 deaths in one year in the U.S. Medical researchers think the fecal transplant may also significantly help treat irritable bowel syndrome and other disorders. The procedure involves transplanting purified fecal matter from a healthy donor, to help establish colonies of healthy bacteria in the guts of sick patients. However,

C O M M E N TA RY

DandeLyons got grit By Tess McDonald LYONS – Did you know that all parks in the City of Boulder are herbicide and pesticide free?! Here’s a quote from the website: “healthy parks = healthy people.” So why were dangerous herbicides sprayed at Lavern Johnson Park this spring? Dave Cosgrove at Parks and Rec said the spraying near the playgrounds was an accident. The company was not supposed to spray near the playgrounds. Why should any land be sprayed with these harmful chemicals? On the Boulder County website it reads, “Herbicides, applied at the lowest rates possible, are used as a last resort.” Why does this not apply to our familyfriendly town of Lyons? Here in Lyons, we revel in our differences. Clearly some of us squeeze the toothpaste tube from the middle and others squeeze from the bottom. I remember reading a John Gierach column and this distinction stuck with me. It stuck with

Left to right: Trea McDonald, 6; Meran McDonald, 4; and Ryanna Cullen, 9 helped raise $370 as a way to bring awareness to the benefits of dandelions. me because it’s a way to categorize people without the usual labels. I use it here because I’m sure the same people that encourage dandelions probably squeeze their toothpaste in the same “where the spirit moves me” way. And the people who like their yards weed-free probably wouldn’t bat an eye at buying one of those plastic tube squeezing devices that ensure perfect bottom up squeezes. My friend

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though it might seem easy to get a lot of purified fecal matter from healthy donors, it isn’t. The process of becoming and continuing to be a fecal donor includes filling out a questionnaire, and the blood and stool tests to ensure nothing harmful will pass from the donor’s stool to the recipient. That assessment process must be completed every two months, and donors have to travel to a hospital to make their deposits, which would then be taken to a stool bank. There are no mobile collection options. Even among those whose altruism and knowledge of the medical benefits to recipients would motivate such donations, the inconvenience of donating once a month, with a new health assessment every two months, may be too much. So might collecting one’s own feces for that assessment – which can involve more than 24 blood and stool screens. That also brings in the “ick factor,” a research survey suggested, which can easily overpower altruism motives for becoming a regular stool donor. I can’t say I’ll try to become a stool donor, though more than a few might say I’m so full of it that I ought to, just to relieve the pressure and do some real good in the world, but I have been thinking that if a more convenient and efficient process could be developed that would maintain the health safeguards required, it’s a definite possibility. For now, bringing it all to your attention, so you can consider it, too, will have to suffice. Richard A. Joyce is a retired professor in the mass communications department at Colorado State University-Pueblo. He is an award-winning journalist who served as managing editor, and subsequently editor and general manager of the Cañon City Daily Record from 1988 to 1994. The opinions he expresses in this column are strictly his own, and do not represent in any way the views of anyone else at the Redstone Review or at Colorado State University-Pueblo. He can be reached at phase15@mac.com.

said, “I squeeze from the bottom AND I like dandelions.” You get my point though, our differences make us stronger. No one wants a town with weeds growing in sidewalk cracks or peeking up out of a nice bed of mulch. But no one wants our town to look like Mother Nature got a Brazilian wax either. Being on the same team means bending a little for one another. That’s what keeps a society civilized, not bullying each other to comply but inviting that neighbor over for dinner in an attempt to see eye-to-eye. And if you tried, but a punch in the eye feels more appropriate, at least you both know you’re too grown up for that and you’ll settle on something. The issue concerning our parks comes down to the fact that the parks are for EVERYONE. And some people have compromised immune systems or are

genetically more susceptible to the effects of chemicals. They need a place to go that will not make them sick. It’s not fair to make them stay home because our town can’t afford weeding or some people complain about a few dandelions. Now I won’t bore you with the health benefits of dandelions or the health concerns around the use of pesticides and herbicides. I won’t share my observations of herbicides, the way they kill all life around the infected area or the fact that they don’t work and only make the plants mutate. I won’t make any links to herbicides weakening the bees’ immune systems making them more susceptible to mites and resulting in colony collapse. This is an opinion column after all, and I don’t want to get mired down in the unpleasant details. But it doesn’t take a Continue DandeLyons on Page 14

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