The screening took one visit to the lab. The procedure is, of course, messy and odoriferous, but it’s also simplicity itself. Gene’s marching orders were to procure a dedicated blender and sieve, enema tubing and syringe, and lots and lots of newspaper. F.M.T. basically consists of blending stool with saline, straining it, and reintroducing it into the colon via enema.

I delivered my first donation, in Tupperware, and Gene took it into the privacy of his bathroom. I stayed, just in case I was needed, and after about half an hour, he came out and told me, with a look of wonder, that he was feeling better already. Already? We checked with Dr. Shepard, who told us that, indeed, one can feel the effects that quickly.

However, a few hours later, the cramps returned. The good bacteria appeared to be doing something, but hadn’t gained a foothold in Gene’s gut. We would need to keep doing the transfers — first twice a day, then just once a day.