by John Delach
I published The Voyage of JJD-1701 on September 29, 2021. It told the story of the capsule containing a camera that the endocrinologist at St. Francis Hospital (SFH) had me swallow so he could examine my complete GI system including the places where the camera used for a regular endoscope could not go. When this doctor examined the results, he determined that the JJD-1701 remained somewhere in my lower intestines.
An X-Ray confirmed that it was near the end of its journey and would soon be ejected. I was released from the hospital based on that evidence. I ended my piece with the notation: “So far and perhaps forever, the fate of JJD-1701 is unknown.”
After the publication of my piece, I moved on without thinking about the camera capsule again. That blissful ignorance ended on October 28th, more than a month later, when I entered SFH’s testing facility at 2200 Northern Blvd. for an MRI aimed at my lower back.
Recently, I had begun to suffer pain from my right Sciatic nerve. My orthopedist wanted confirmation that the source was my lower back and not another part of my body.
Ann, the friendly, professional and efficient MRI technician asked me a series of questions meant to identify any metal parts in my body that could cause problems with the MRI. I said no to all her questions including a pacemaker, an ear implant. or even metal debris in my eye.
It was at this point that Ann asked, “Have you had the recent experience to swallow a camera capsule to exam your GI tract?”
“Yes, about a month ago while I was in SFH.” I replied.
“Did you see it eject?”
“Did the doctor see it eject?”
“So, you don’t know if it’s still inside you?”
“Correct, but I would have thought that after all this time, my body would have let me know if the damn thing was still inside me.”
Ann replied, “Not necessarily. I am going to take you over to X-Ray and show the pictures to our doctor here on call just to be sure.”
She walked me over to the X-Ray Department where Beth, another professional tech took three pictures. Ann instructed Beth to bring me back to her station after Beth sent the pictures to her. When I returned, I sat in a chair and waited as Ann walked out to meet with Doctor K, She returned in short order to tell me and her assistants that Doctor K had not been assigned to their operation long enough to be certified to read X-Rays. She would have to find a doc at SFH instead.
Fortunately, Ann found one, but he wasn’t satisfied that my X-rays included the end of the line. He ordered a fourth X-Ray. Again fortunately, the evidence he examined convinced him to sign off that we were good to go.
It was at this point that I really suffered doubt that having an MRI wasn’t a good idea after all.
Ann calmed me and proceeded with my MRI. As soon as I was lying down on my back on a moveable board, her assistant asked what kind of music I’d like while she placed tight fitting earphones onto my head. I requested country and western as the board moved me into the machine,
A persistent thought invaded my psyche as my MRI was about to start: “If JJD-1701 remained inside me, I will be starring in a major shit show that may begin any minute now.”
Then the noise from the MRI blasted through me as I was simultaneously treated to Johnny Cash coming through my headphones singing Ghost Riders in the Sky at the same time my MRI ride began. I knew then that I was not in trouble. Several classic western songs followed including El Paso, The Streets of Laredo and Don’t Bring Your Gun to Town, Son, before my MRI concluded.
I thanked Ann for her service and wished her assistants well before happily leaving 2200 Northern Blvd., knowing I beat the odds on this one.
Thanks to that successful MRI, we can declare once and for all that the journey of JJD-1701 has ended.