Monday, August 1, 2016

Not so hard to swallow

Today's post will just be an update on what has been going on with me over the past two months. The last thing I mentioned was that nothing was found on the small bowel follow through exam I had on May 11, and the next test the doctor wanted to do was a capsule endoscopy (swallowing a pill camera) to examine my small intestine.

I had the capsule endoscopy on June 27. Before swallowing the pill camera, the nurse wrapped a wide belt around my waist with pads built into it, similar to the pads used on the chest when they do an EKG. This belt has a cable coming out of it that plugs into a receiver the patient wears with a shoulder strap for the duration of the test. So I looked like I was carrying a small purse all day. Then she had me activate the system by touching one gold band of the camera (shown below) with two fingers of one hand and the other gold band with two fingers of the other hand.


MiroCam MC1000-W Capsule Endoscope and US Quarter Dollar Coin

Once the system is activated it is time to swallow the camera. Although it is rather large (10.8 mm x 24.5 mm) I found it quite easy to swallow. It did not feel like there was a lump in my throat or anything like that. I had to wear the belt and receiver for 12 hours and then I could remove it and return the equipment to the doctor's office the next morning.

Three days later the doctor's office called me with the results. Drumroll please . . . 

It did not work so I have to repeat the test. Yes, I get to repeat the capsule endoscopy. I was actually not surprised when I heard that because when we were trying to activate it the nurse said she never heard the tones from the receiver that it is supposed to emit when the camera is activated. She got another nurse to try it as well, and she never heard the tones either but she believed it was already activated. I did not have a good feeling about it and walked away from the office fully expecting to have to repeat it, which meant going through the bowel prep as well, which is similar to the prep for a colonoscopy. So I really was not surprised when I heard that news. And now I know how Mom felt that year she had to have so many colonoscopies.

I had capsule endoscopy number two on July 28. The same nurse hooked me up, but once again we did not hear any tones from the receiver to indicate it was activated. She got another nurse in the office to help, and we did hear the tones that time. (And there was much rejoicing.) Exactly twelve hours later the receiver beeped 8 times and all the lights on it turned off, so I have a much better feeling about that one. I should get those results in August. I suspect it will also come back normal, so I am looking forward to seeing what the doctor wants to try next, if anything. Hopefully he will want some more blood work first so he can see what my hemoglobin is and I can see how my kidneys are doing.

In other news, a total of ten family members went on the Caribbean cruise Mom had planned for the family just a month before she died. It started out as a high school graduation gift for two of her grandsons who graduated this year, but then it evolved into Mom paying for everyone to go. After Mom's passing there was never any doubt that she would still want us to go, so we did and everyone had a great time. We sailed on the sister ship of the one we sailed on in 2013, so it brought back many memories of that trip, including taking Mom to the medical facility one night when she needed to have an emergency dialysis session due to excessive fluid. (http://www.fibrinogenamyloidosis.com/2013/07/cruising-along-on-dialysis.html)

I even had an opportunity to visit the medical facility on this year's cruise as well. The phone in our cabin rang one night around 10 PM and it was the teen center informing me that my son needed to go to the medical facility due to a severe nosebleed caused by getting hit in the face with a soccer ball while he was playing soccer. They asked if I wanted to come up and get him or just meet them at the medical facility. I told the caller I would meet them at the medical facility since I was all too familiar with how to get there. Fortunately the nosebleed was already stopped by the time I arrived and no further medical care was needed. It was nice to visit the medical facility for a less dire situation than my previous visit.

Hopefully the next blog post will have the results of capsule endoscopy number two.


=====Monthly Blog Status Update=====

As of June 30, 2016:

Total posts: 168 (1 in June)

Total pageviews: 42,300 (~1000 in June)

Email subscribers: 14 (unchanged)

Total number of countries that have viewed the blog: 127

Four new countries viewed the blog in June:

Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Albania
Qatar
Kuwait
=====

Edit August 1, 2016: Changed "May" to "June" in one of the Blog Status Updates.

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