Capsule study finally over!

I’m trashed. I’ve been up since 3:30 and now I’m too tired to rest.

Today was Mama’s capsule study at the gastrointestinal lab. I woke up at 3:30 for the dog to go potty, and just as I was about to doze back off at 4:30, she called to entreat me to get up and dress. So I got up, dressed, ate some of that diet “oatmeal” stuff, and put her in the car to head towards the hospital around 5 AM. We got there a little before six, just as the lab techs and nurses were getting there. Man, was this ever a high-tech test.

First they fitted her with a sensor belt that was kind of like a heavy fanny pack. It wasn’t unlike the heart harness that you wear to monitor your heart for a day. Then they stuck the leads and the whatchacallits all over her stomach and chest. Then they attached the cable to the “box” and put it (the hard drive/sensor) into the fanny pack pocket. There was an orange light on the side of the box.

“Watch this light. It will turn blue as soon as it starts receiving data.” The nurse held out a capsule that was an electronic firefly light with a camera inside. It was SO geek-hypnotic. “Swallow this.”

My mother was a good girl and swallowed it right down (which wasn’t easy, because she hadn’t had anything to eat since noon of the day before, and had even given up the chicken broth and clear liquids at 8 PM the night before!) The light obligingly turned blue and began to flash.

“There! Just look down at that light every fifteen minutes or so. It should keep flashing. If for any reason it stops, or if you feel nauseated or any kind of pain, or if you just feel, ‘This isn’t right, no, I can’t do this,’ call 911 and slip the harness off. It could indicate that the pill got stuck or that something went wrong. BUT that doesn’t happen . . . hasn’t happened to us yet, and I’ve been doing this since last August.” Well, it isn’t QUITE as foolproof as something that has been going on for ten years, but Mama was a trouper. (*Yes, it’s “trouper” for an actor who makes sure that “the show must go on,” I think, not “trooper” as in state trooper or a Marine. I think. Whichever.*) She smiled weakly and said, “When can I eat?”

“Not for four hours. 10:30. But something LIGHT, like soup or a sandwich. No meat loaf with potatoes! You can’t drink until 2 hours from now, at 8:30. Go home and walk around for fifteen minutes out of every hour to keep things moving. Don’t go near a microwave. Then we’ll see you at 2:30 this afternoon!”

Mama looked like a cocker spaniel who just heard he doesn’t get to play this afternoon. But she crawled back into the wheelchair and we headed home.

She paced the floor and leaned against the kitchen counter and rocked in her rocker and found a way to lie on the bed on her side, but she wasn’t ever comfy. She claimed she could feel her digestive tract trying to digest the deeliebobber. I visualized the soldiers of digestion getting disgusted: “This ain’t digestible, chief!” one shouts upstairs. “I’m not getting any minerals out of it, even,” adds the intestinal supervisor. “Well, get rid of it, then,” says the boss, and peristalsis marches on. Eep!

We FINALLY went back, arriving right at 2:30. “How’d you do? See any sparklies in the potty?” they asked. “Not yet,” said the grouchy grizzly bear. “You should . . . then we’ll say we’ve had success.” They took the gear off and said, “We’ll download this today, and it goes to a lab in Las Colinas, and then the results get read, and your doctor will have it in about three or four days. Don’t look for a reply until early next week, though.”

I knew Mama didn’t really want to hear unless it’s an all-clear, so I hadn’t been too concerned with anything but getting her through this. That hospital needs candy stripers, though; I had to push the wheelchair all the way from the lobby and all the way back, this morning AND this afternoon. The *Richardson* hospital has eager volunteers who do that for you. *superior look* But I went back and rolled the chair into the back of the emergency room both times so it couldn’t be Purloined or even Spirited Away, because the last thing I wanted was an entry on her bill, “Wheelchair–$600.”

As we crawled in the door, the phone started ringing. My uncle wanted to fax our preliminary tax return to me. But the fax line was busy, and although I crawled around trying to find some reason that it should be, I didn’t. “You can only ride Ol’ Nelly so far before she collapses,” I informed the universe, “so I decree that Hubby can fix this when he gets home, and we’ll fax tomorrow.”

Of course he’s on that Sekrit Project and staying until 8 PM every night, but he loves what they’re debugging. Whatever. I did take the dog outside again (poor little fluffball–he looked at her as if to say, that fanny pack is SO unflattering on you–but he had to go walkies whether I was tired or not!) But that’s IT. No cooking. Everyone can just make nachos out of whatever they can find in the kitchen.

I’m beat to the gills! But finally everything’s over that we’ve been working on doing. Oh, except for getting her driver’s license renewed, getting the A/C fixed in hubby’s car, and getting the yard cleanup done on a day when I can stay awake and walk around the yard to show the guys what to do. It’s always SOMEthing, but that’s why I get paid the big bux!

A big thank you to all of you who sent positive thoughts and prayers and kept your fingers crossed for us over these past few weeks. Now I can spend my time working on becoming a famous something-or-other.


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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