it was the greatest sputum sample ever collected in this hospital
the guy wasn’t coughing, he wasn’t doing anything
except lay there like a dead fish
we’d smash the ezpap mask on his face to inflate his lungs
the doctor asked me to get a sputum sample to see what was growing in there
"the guy does nothing," i said. "he doesn’t cough"
"can you NT suction him?"
push a plastic catheter up his nose, into his lungs
"that’s pretty invasive for a sputum sample"
"can you do it?"
"yeah i can… i never have for that, but i can…"
so i go in with his nurse and my student
i have the catheter ready, all lubed up
i’d want a lot of **** if it was my nose
but first i put a sample jar under his mouth
and say "look dude, i need you to spit in this cup"
i don’t know if he’s listening or what
"if you can’t do it i’m gonna go up your nose with a rubber hose
it doesn’t hurt exactly but you’re not gonna like it
but i won’t do it if you can spit in this cup"
his eyes are half open
he’s possibly considering it
"COME ON DUDE, SPIT IN THE CUP! HOCK A LOOGIE!"
then we hear a rumble
it’s like the awakening of a volcano
"DO IT! HOCK A LOOGIE!"
we hear it coming up the pipe
"YES! DO IT!"
it sounds substantial and it keeps coming
i open his mouth and holy mackerel
there’s a gallon of yellow mucus
it’s astronomical, a ******* tidal wave
i shake the cup under his mouth
"SPIT! DO IT!"
but he doesn’t spit
his mouth is full as a bucket
but it’s not going anywhere
"give me that yankeur," i say to the nurse
she gives me the stiff suction wand
i don’t even plug it into the vacuum
i just use it to scoop the phlegm from his mouth into the cup
"o my god," says my student
she’s getting an education today
i keep scooping, filling the cup
"wow," says the nurse
she’s seen a lot but she’s never seen **** like this
"ALRIGHT, DUDE," i say, capping the cup, laughing
it’s the greatest sputum sample in the history of the world