In modern medicine’s quest to find the reason for Life in the Boomer Lane’s anemia, she has so far had three procedures. The first two were colonoscopy and endoscopy, detailed in a heartfelt yet humorous post.
Yesterday, LBL had a third procedure: a “capsule endoscopy,” sometimes referred to as a “video endoscopy.” This procedure uses a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of one’s digestive tract. One swallows the camera, which then takes thousands of pictures that are transmitted to an apparatus one wears around one’s waist. Doctors can then see inside one’s small intestine by going onto their Facebook homepage. They can click “Like” if the results look good.
The camera, encased in a transparent pill case, was the size of a carry on. OK, LBL is exaggerating. It was a REALLY BIG PILL. Next to it sat a small Styrofoam container of water with crushed ice and a straw. Try swallowing a REALLY BIG PILL by sucking water through a straw. If LBL did that, she would be rushed immediately from Outpatient Surgery to the Imminent Death by Choking Wing of the hospital.
LBL requested a regular glass of water and then swallowed the camera. She thought about the film “Fantastic Voyage,” and briefly considered the possibility that the camera was, in fact, a miniature spaceship with a tiny little crew. Note to readers: This is not a preposterous thought, considering that it was 6AM and LBL had just barely survived 18 hours of fasting and 12 hours of purging. Her detachment from reality rivaled that of having just come from an all-night policy session with the entire crop of Republican Presidential candidate hopefuls.
Back to the test. After LBL swallowed the camera, she was strapped into an electronic device with a bag the size of a camera case. The whatever-was-inside the bag had lights all over it. One of them was a blinking blue light. LBL was given directions for the next eight hours. This included:
Do not touch what is inside the bag.
Check the blue light every 15 minutes to make sure it is still blinking. If it stops, return to the hospital immediately.
Do not stand directly next to another person wearing this apparatus.
LBL is not making this up. She has seen all this before: the camera bag, the blinking lights, the directions to say away from another person just like her. LBL can’t remember the name of the film, but it definitely involved space aliens inhabiting the bodies of innocent DC tourists, and switching out their cameras with equipment that sent signals back to the home planet. Let’s remind ourselves again: 6AM. Fasting. Purging. Not-in-right-mind.
Eight hours later, LBL returned to the hospital to have the apparatus removed. By now, she had settled into her usual as-sane-as-she’ll-ever-be self. But she wasn’t out of the woods yet. She still had the camera inside her and was told that her body would flush it out all on its own. The nurse had the following final words for her: “Don’t be concerned if you see that the camera is still blinking.”