I have a cup on my desk filled with approximately two dozen pens, which at any given time yields a total of maybe one working writing instrument whenever I need it — usually a dull pencil or crayon. That's just my crappy luck. So you'll forgive me if I experience just a twinge of envy when relaying the tale of the 76-year-old woman from England who checked herself into a gastroenterologist's office complaining of diarrhea, only to learn from an CT scan that she had been carrying around a pen inside her for approximately 25 years. And it still wrote.
On subsequent questioning, she recalled unintentionally swallowing a pen 25 years earlier. While she was interrogating a spot on her tonsil with the pen she slipped, fell and swallowed the pen by mistake. Her husband and general practitioner dismissed her story and plain abdominal films done at the time were reported as normal.
The case was apparently then discussed at the hospital's gastrointestinal multi-disciplinary meeting and a decision was made that the pen — while it had no bearing on the runny stools that brought her into the hospital in the first place — should be removed for the woman's own safety. An endoscopy successfully got it out, and visual evidence of the writing instrument's enduring potency was captured. A triumph for the felt-tip pen manufacturing industry, to be sure! [casereports.bmj.com via NY Daily News, Images via BMJ]