It’s a fantastic voyage, if your idea of travel involves an esophagus.

This morning I went to swallow a camera inside of a pill so that the doctor can find out where all my missing blood is going (my current assumption: I’m just really irresponsible) and it didn’t start well because I got there at 7am and waited for an hour because “there was a malfunction”, which is not really what you want to hear about a robot that you’re going to swallow.  Eventually they fixed it and I swallowed it, starting the worst p0rno ever while simultaneously becoming part cyborg.

The most terrible tour bus ever.

I was under the impression that I’d have to wear some sort of necklace that transmits the video but turns out I had to wear a giant samurai belt/fanny pack, some blue wires, and something that looks exactly like the purse made to carry the cassette walkman I had in 1984.

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Swallowed a robot. Outfit of the day: cyberman.

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

Also, the nurse was all, “Be careful that you don’t bang the equipment” and I was like, “I’m not even attracted to it” and she just stared at me because apparently she doesn’t understand questionable phrasing.

Then she said that I had to keep eating an all-liquid diet until this afternoon when I could have a dry sandwich but I reminded her that I couldn’t eat carbs and she was like, “You can have a small piece of meat.”

…but we didn’t have anything in the house so then I had to go to the grocery store looking as if I’d strapped a small bomb to my body.  And I made Victor come with me because I didn’t want to do it alone and Victor was like, “So I’ve gotta go to grocery store with RoboCop?” and it was slightly mortifying but whenever people would stare I’d just loudly say, “I’m not sure about this sting.  Do you think they’ll be able to tell I’m wearing a wire?” and then they’d stare more, but at least I was in charge of why they were staring.

I get the results in this week but based on my experience I can only assume the result will be “Nope.  Let’s find something even more ridiculous to put you through.”

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131 thoughts on “It’s a fantastic voyage, if your idea of travel involves an esophagus.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I am now picturing Raquel Welch piloting that camera around your body and big ol’ antibodies eating up a bald guy whose name I can’t remember right at the moment only I think it’s Donald something or other…Pleasance? Maybe? I dunno but OMG SO COOL. I hope they get them out before they embiggen inside you but in real life probably they come out in your poop instead of tear duct.

  2. That thing is bigger than TB meds. Was it hard to swallow?

    (That’s what she said.)

    (AND I’m taking TB meds. I’m the queen of swallowing. Which would be a great name for this tape, probably. ~ Jenny)

  3. One can only hope you’ll get a video to share for those slow moments during dinner parties.

  4. Try casually perusing the produce section at 37 with a leg catch bag under your pants but secretly giggling like you’re doing something illegal

  5. I really hope this magical robot-camera figures out what’s wrong!
    Also your grocery store story was so funny, it has pushed me to overcome my anxiety today and go to the grocery store! If people stare at me, I’ll pretend I’m on a mission, too.

  6. Also swallowed the magical disco pill for my misplaced blood. Don’t think there are anymore hoops after this. Unless they find something, you’ll just be labeled “idiopathic”, and left wondering exactly who the idiot is exactly – you, or them.

  7. “Do you think they’ll be able to tell I’m wearing a wire?”

    You just made me snort. The dog and cat bother turned and stared at me.

  8. This is how my uncle’s bleed was found! It’s totally going to work for you! Sending good vibes your way, but not the kind to short out the equipment!

  9. Look at the bright side, you are not hooked up to a plug at night to keep your heart pumping like Dick Cheney. OTH, maybe that’s not the best bright side, I’m grasping at straws. Plus I kinda wish that tech didn’t exist; because it’s keeping Dick Cheney alive. OTOH, I’m sure there are good people who are benefiting from that. I got nothing Jenny. I hope this tells them what the deal is so you can get fixed up.

  10. Well, that would get you the “special” search at the airport. Also, probably tackled.

  11. You didn’t happen to see Ms. Frizzle & the Magic School Bus in that thing before you swallowed it? THAT’S an episode I’d watch!

  12. I hope they are able to figure out whats going on. That must be so frustrating for you. On another note, I want to recommend the documentary “What the Health” on Netflix. No, actually, I want to beg you to watch. It is an eye opener for sure.

  13. I thought I had experienced every weird test possible, and here you go, showing me up. Hope they get some answers that don’t involve really invasive solutions.

  14. My husband had surgery done by a robot last year.

    The male doctor told me it didn’t have a name.

    The female nurse told me its name is Molly. She said they don’t give it a man’s name because women are the ones who get the work done and know what to do, and a man wouldn’t even ask for directions.

    There is a special place in the after-life for that nurse.

  15. If this were my medical procedure the results would be “well you have intestines, check”. Lets do another test.

  16. I had to do this too! Then I went on vacation and they called me and told me to run to the ER because they thought it was lost in my body. It wasn’t, but I spent 12 hours in the ER. Then they screwed up and didn’t get any results! They said I had to do the whole thing over, but would have to pay out of pocket this time! I told them to fuck off and got a new doctor. I never did repeat the test. I really hope you find your blood!

  17. the queen of swallowing should be your next book title!! or your breakout porn film?? one or the other!!LOL….. and yeah after hosting a version of fantastic voyage with your own body the next step is to be swallowed by a giant robot yourself!!

  18. Is there a way the camera orients itself to always face forward? What if the camera gets turned around and they need to look at the front of something and only get to see it from behind? “Well there went to sphincter we wanted too look at…”
    On a brighter note, I saw this thingy a little while ago and immediately thought it might be something up your alley. Not the one they’re taking pictures of….just getting a twofer on theming by using questionable phrasing as an awkward segway. Anyhoo, here’s this-
    https://catstore.co/products/cat-hairband

  19. Inside Jenny’s intestines. Yeah, not a movie I really want to watch. Good luck with everything! Sounds difficult, but you’ve kept your sense of humor – which is good for us! Also, no banging robots – they might lose their nuts and bolts. 🙂

  20. I am really SORRY you are having so much trouble, but I am also really LAUGHING, because you are so delightfully wry. So I hope they figure it all out and you are going to be fine but I hope you are sketching out another book…

  21. Even when suffering, you are laugh-out-loud funny.
    If it makes you feel any better, my brother had to swallow one of those cameras and he sells beer for a living. I don’t think it helped him with his work that day.

  22. I am also missing blood. My theory: super developed vampires that are invisible and don’t leave marks. I can’t remember if it is garlic or crucifixes that are supposed to ward them off, so from here on in I’m eating Italian and carrying Rosary beads. I suggest you do the same.

  23. I just finished wearing a similar hip pack cassette tote thing only with electrodes glued to my torso for two days to see why I keep getting heart palpitations. While trying to look inconspicuous as a massage therapist. I had to wrap a large scarf around me in a (hopefully) artsy way on the hottest days of the year so far. Not fun. Then trying to sleep in that thing AND my cpap AND my wrist braces for carpal tunnel. Not my sexiest look ever.

  24. Son of a…. I was already writing my response and didn’t see the one above me post. Curses!

  25. I’m totally picturing Bugs Bunny “I KNEW I shoulda made dat left toin at Albakoikie”. 😄

  26. It sounds unlikely (and somewhat icky) but a friend was having the same issues. Docs couldn’t figure out why or where she was losing blood. Turned out she had internal hemorrhoids – whatever the hell THAT is. Anyway, it solved the mystery and they fixed it somehow.

  27. Have you had the house treated for leaches? Those sneaky fuckers will snatch your blood and they are ornery, too. In the meantime, good luck with your teeny camera. I hope your innards are photogenic!

  28. It looks like it has lights. When you’re in the dark it be cool if you could see it. Glow in the dark Jenny, video not included.

  29. Where’s Stephen Boyd when you need him?

    If they give you pictures, you’ll have lots of fodder for your Zazzle store. I’m thinking Christmas cards.

    (Part of your answer to #6 should make Victor very happy!) 😉

  30. This is exactly why I avoid doctors. Praying hard they find whatever it is and fix you all up! Keep laughing along the way.

  31. This just brings up awkward questions… I assume that you’ll, ummm, ‘pass’ the capsule. Soooo… are they expecting you to ‘recover’ it? Or is the camera going to have footage of the sewer system, as well?

    Me being me, it’d come out with the camera still filming, pointed upwards and some poor technician would get the money shot NO ONE wants.

    I’m assuming they just let the capsule go because honestly, there is NO WAY you could sanitize that sucker enough to make it reusable, right?

    Also, if the camera is inside of you, how is it supposed to capture the attic vampires? Poor planning on the doctor’s part. That’s why I don’t allow them to ‘practice’ on me.

    Hope this gets you answers and/or a film you can sell for big money.

  32. At least no one saw you, screamed “Suicide bomber!” and started a stampede. You would have had to barricade yourself in the Produce Department behind a wall of watermelon while they got a hostage negotiator. Victor = Hostage. If this sounds unbelievable, remember that there is a giant, orange toddler running the country, and people are on edge. Also, you’re a writer, and therefore the “fake news media” to most of the people you may encounter.

  33. Please, please please please please please please please please please PRETTY PLEASE …. post the video of your insides! I really need to know if ‘Inner Space’ lied to me or not!

  34. Next week do they miniaturize you and put you inside a Dalek? Are you really The Doctor? Feel better soon

  35. There is a book I read once, “Through the Alimentary Canal with Gun and Camera” (or something similar). But you’re funnier and I like you better.

    @Joanie: Crucifixes made out of garlic takes care of both. If you wear one around your neck, a plus is that you’ll always have a seat to yourself in public transportation.

  36. This story reminds me of a very traumatic movie we watched in class in grade 8… It was called “Fantastic Voyage” from 1966 IMDb’s description states simply: “A scientist is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew. Problems arise almost as soon as they enter the bloodstream.”… Maybe that’s the next logical step? If you can’t find the missing blood in your digestive system just get some randomers to cruise around your bloodstream looking for the leak???
    Also… is there some sort of recommended retrieval process for your camera?! I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to retrieve it…

  37. This is how the cyber men take over…. you’ll need David Tennant to help you. I mean really any Doctor Who would do, but we all know which one you’d want!

  38. My mother had similar issues and threatened bodily harm to the next doctor who suggested/insisted on yet another alien butt probe (colonoscopy), or swallowing another poop-chute cam. She was on so much iron, her poop was tarry and black, yet she was still horribly anemic. To compound the fun, she had been suffering from horrible IBS diarrhea for more than a decade. Turned out, it was one of the meds she’d been on for years. Can’t remember if it was one of her meds for hypothyroidism or the diabetes. (She’s not on insulin.). An adjustment in her medication(s?) made a huge difference. If you’d like more info on what the meds are/were; email me for specifics and I’ll ask her. Again.

    Homocysteine also runs in our family (going back more than a century!); this can cause major problems with blood clotting or lack thereof. Homocysteine can cause brain aneurysms or hemophilia type issues and several lovely things in-between, including stomach bleeds/ulcers. The test for homocysteine levels is pretty specific and apparently one most physicians don’t think to to do. You may want to suggest it if one hasn’t been done.

  39. And tou thought you had a bad job. Think of the poor people cleaning thise cameras. 😳

  40. I, too, want to know if you are expected to recover said robot for someone else’s use in the future. Because a disposable robot? Fascinating.

  41. I honestly think you’d have better results swallowing the magic school bus. Miss Frizz would get right down to it if Arnold didnt screw the whole thing up.

  42. How fun!! I mean, of course, going to the store looking like a Cyberman… swallowing a robot sounds like a kind of kink that will eventually be outlawed in most states.
    Good luck with the film!!

  43. That nurse is not very bright. I got it immediately and I’m a moron. Well, not really, but I thought that sounded good. I do hope they find your issue. All this Dr. business is just frustrating and annoying. Best wishes to you, always. Please never stop being yourself (amusing).

  44. I forgot to mention how lucky Victor is. You know, you being such a good swallower and all.

  45. I bet they were only staring at your awesomeness, not your induction into the Witness Not-Quite Protection Program. I really feel like your comment nailed it. No one would ever suspect you were a narc.

  46. Ok,that looks WAY worse than I imagined it. Nope, not doung that. You are a braver/more tolerant woman than me. I hope you get some answers. Feel better!!!

  47. Have you ever considered that the vampire person who wanted to teach you how to be a vampire might have something to do with your disappearing blood? You seemed to make him very frustrated. Maybe vampires are the vengeful sort?

  48. Our bodies are fascinating places to visit, makes me think of “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. Maybe one day they will be able to fit little people inside of the pill.

  49. You’ve seen that Dr Who episode right? (S06, E8: Let’s Kill Hitler)
    And now I’m heading through the comments to see how many people gazumped me on this reference…

  50. Maybe your missing blood because your turning into a vampire. You did contact the brotherhood of vampires so I’m thinking this might be your fault. But think of it this way I see a new book “How I accidentally became a vampire robot”. Best seller for sure

  51. I hope they let you watch the video when it is done. Good luck that for the mini robot finding out where you’ve sprung a leak.

  52. Coupla questions. 1-have they done liver function tests and 2-have they looked at your spleen

  53. Are they sure you have missing blood? I mean maybe your body just doesn’t produce that much blood because you are part vampire or something?? Just sayin…Good luck💕

  54. I went on this same voyage several years ago. It didn’t end up revieling why I was so anemic, but it isn’t the worst test out there. It’s not a video really, it’s more like stop action claymation with rapid photos of the longest cave in the world. I spent the day kicked back on my in-laws recliner watching (mostly sleeping) Wimbledon. Good luck!

  55. Oh man, that is simultaneously terrifying and awful and awesome. Hopefully they DO figure out where all your missing blood is going, because damn! That is pretty scary.

  56. I did it and they found zip. They’ll just shrug and tell you to call if you have any more problems.

  57. So, have you tried putting a magnet against your body and move it around? That would be cool

  58. I read that the camera is disposable. So the upside is that you don’t have to poop dive to retrieve it. (and that may be the lamest upside of the day. Well crap!)

  59. I don’t know how you swallowed that monster. I had to have robot invasion too. But I kept throwing up, either due to anxiety induced throat constriction or ticklish, pukey gag reflex. Anyway they knocked me out. They never found out why I was losing blood. So now I just live in extra fear. Serves me right. :L

  60. Just finished Julie Rehmeyer’s Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer’s Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn’t Understand, and one phrase leaped out at me “chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers can have a liter less blood than healthy people” (paraphrase). No one seems to know why. Not that getting a CFS diagnosis helps because no one knows what to do with that, but Rehmeyer got relief through mold avoidance and psychics. It was definitely an interesting read.

  61. Don’t get too attached to that thing and forget your aren’t supposed to bang it. Good vibes going out to you.

  62. In New York City, they make you carry a letter saying you are NOT a bomb. Which is a great idea for bad people. Just type up a letter and carry it with you.

  63. Ok. I’m visualizing ( not exactly visualizing) what that camera “sees” as its exiting your body

    Do you have to return it to them?

  64. Ummmmm…..all I can think about is: ??what happens to the robot you swallowed??
    I don’t see how it could get digested…..
    Does it come out the other end eventually??

  65. I hope they give you a copy of the video. Not just strangers should be able to see your insides.

  66. I’m sorry you have to go through this and I hope you will fell better soon. I don’t want to be “that person” but did they ever check for celiac disease. It can be the culprit in a host of unusual symptoms. Once I was diagnosed and cut all gluten from my diet I felt like a new person. At any rate, I hope the solution to your woes will be swift and easy.

  67. “I’m not even attracted to it”😂You are awesome! Hopefully you didn’t hurt the equipment’s feelings. “You know, I’m not attracted to you; but you are smart and funny, and I’m sure you’ll meet some nice sonar buoy in the ocean after you are evacuated from my body”. Damn, I love your stories. Feel better soon.

  68. Please tell me there were little human beings piloting the space craft you swallowed – like the movie Inner Space with Martin Short & Dennis Quaid! That would make your experience EPIC!! I would also accept The Incredible Shrinking Woman piloting the pill, too, but she (Lily Tomlin) didn’t have a funny side kick to help with the jokes.

  69. I hope you get a good sandwich at least.

    My idea of travel IS the esophagus, which is why I cancelled my vacation plans when I found out all they offered was nostril and ear canal. BORING.

  70. Oh man. Let’s hope this answers some questions. Sending positive vibes your way you beautiful cyborg, you.

  71. This is somewhat out of context, but I’ll take almost any opportunity to quote Professor Farnsworth
    “Listen, this is gonna be one Hell of a bowel movement. Afterward, he’ll be lucky if he has any bones left.”

  72. I think another question here is…hiw are you gonna expel it and NOT flush it down the toilet? Cuz I’d do that. Bye bye $1,000 robot! ~Julia

  73. I hope you get the answers you need.
    I think you deserve a guest spot on a future episode of Dr. Who. How can we make that happen?

  74. I hope the robot finds out where your missing blood is going because I seriously doubt that you’re a vampire’s blood doll without being informed of such an arrangement.

  75. My wish for you is that you discover that your taxidermied deer is a vampire that sucks you dry at night and the swallowed camera doesn’t catch it, but Ferris Mewler, hero that he is, alerts Victor and he goes all Robocop on that thing and spears it with a silver steak through the heart and chops off its antlers for good measure. Then Victor says, “Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!” not even mentioning your tendency to bring home crazy taxidermied creatures and you two get all googly for each other for a minute before deer rolls over and Victor does a classic double-tap and that thing is a dead taxi-deer with his black vampire blood sprayed across one wall in an artistic Jackson Pollock way. Then, Hayley comes into the room looking all sleepy but still glamorous in her diaphanous underwater dress and asks you what’s happening. You quickly grow some tough blood and healthy intestines, and all of you live happily ever after.

    At my house, the kitten spreads his giardia joy, our deck is all ripped apart and cost us $900 more than we planned, and the dog’s asleep on a single dose of trazadone because he’s afraid of fireworks and usually gets his freak on. Happy Fourth of July!

    http://acatontheghettobox.blogspot.com/2017/07/leaning-slightly-away.html

  76. Last time I went to the GI doc, he had an ad for this little pill cam on his wall. Having gone through 2 endoscopies in my life, I was stupidly excited about it. And I was just as stupidly geeked out to see you got to experience it! (26 years of GI distress & procedures does this to a person).

  77. OMG I’m doing the Encapsulated Endoscopy test in a couple weeks to find out where all my blood is too!!! I was 6 pints down until I received 3 in the hospital….where is it?? maybe our blood is hanging out together!

  78. I’m assuming you have to poop it and give it back, which is weird. And I think my dog has to do this this week. So you’re in good company, lol.

  79. Good luck, Jenny! I went to the endocrinologist yesterday to learn more about my Hashimotos diagnosis. He said my levels looked good and my thyroid was a little inflamed (but not too terribly ugly). His advice to me was to keep taking the hormone meds and go to Sonoma Valley and drink more wine. How about that?! Hope the pictures of your insides turn out beautifully.

  80. Are you going to have to “retrieve” the camera pill….or is that shit disposable?

  81. I laughed out loud re: “I’m not even attracted to it.”
    How you find humor in all of these trials shows a superhuman strength of character (and insanity), both of which I respect highly. Thanks for sharing all your weird shit, Jenny.

  82. “… but at least I was in charge of why they were staring.”
    Holy crap, you just gave me a huge insight to my own behaviors that I could never quite explain.

    Hope you get some answers about your medical issues.

  83. It is so awesome that you can actually say out loud the same kind of things I think in my head but would be too mortified to say in front of people.

  84. So….. do they want the camera back? Or do you just flush it away?
    In any case – may the mystery be solved and become an easy fix. xo

  85. I had to do one of those too and had to go through airport security. It was crazy. But the good thing is I got to see the video and they found out exactly what was wrong with me and now I’m cured (pretty much). And then you poop the thing out and it’s like so Fantastic Voyage. I sure hope they find out something helpful for you. Don’t give up!

  86. I teach a medical image analysis class and stumbled upon this while googling and then made up a reason why I needed to lecture about it for five minutes (FYI, automate removal of useless images so folks don’t need to sit through the whole set of your innards tour)

  87. “Nope. Let’s find something even more ridiculous to put you through.”

    Put you through or put through you?

  88. It’s great you can come up with great things to say to people. I hope that didn’t hurt to poop out. I also hope they find out what is wrong. Good luck! Hugs!

  89. Ummm- the obvious question is: how do you know when you have pooped it out?!? I ask, because when I was about 4 years old, I swallowed a quarter, and the doctor told my mother that she had to pick apart my poop every day, until she found it. After a couple days, she found it! Guess what she did next? She placed it in a tiny bowl with Comet Cleanser on the kitchen counter top!! I guess growing up in the depression never really let go of her!

  90. Ohmigod, if they couldn’t find where my blood was going I would totally assume that it was my fault. I could find a way to blame myself for gravity. Oddly comforting that I’m not the only one whose imposter syndrome takes this weird detour.

  91. I’m picturing the Magic School Bus tootling through your spleen en route to your duodenum. Mostly because duodenum is fun to say when you pronounce it doo-AH-di-num. I hope it says all good things about your innards.

  92. I think “at least I was in charge of why they were staring” is going to be my new mantra.

  93. Hey, I have that shirt, too! Props to wearing it when it isn’t even Halloween, which I also do, because any time is a good time to remind people you might be a little batty.

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