Reminder: Monsters are real.

"The surgeon disputed the patient's self-diagnosis."

Referring back to the paper: "Upon presenting the oral surgeon with photographic evidence (Figure 1A and B) and a detailed description and preliminary diagnosis of gongylonemiasis, the surgeon disputed the patient's self-diagnosis, claiming this was simply normal discoloration of the skin."

Referring back to my notes: "My jaw just dropped," Allen said. But he couldn't change the surgeon's mind. "I said, 'Look, I study these things for a living'. And he said, 'Well, I look in people's mouths every day." The scientist and surgeon did not part on a happy note. "I paid my co-pay and left. It was totally depressing."

And he stayed depressed -- "I'd lost faith in the medical profession" -- until he woke up about 3 a.m. the following morning. The spot had moved toward the front of his mouth again. He realized could remove the worm himself.

Of course, he needed help. No surgeon can work alone. He woke up his wife so that she could shine a flashlight in his mouth. With those #5 super fine tip Roboz Surgical Instrument forceps, he gently scraped the lining of his mouth until he was able to pull out the nematode. It came coiling out, a little less than an inch in length. It was not a happy parasite. "It was writhing."

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5 Responses:

  1. Ben says:

    There are anti-nematode drugs that could purge Allen of any Gongylonema still hanging around inside him, but he hasn’t taken the drugs. When Allen is asked to explain why, the collaborators exchange sheepish laughter.

    “That would ruin our experiment,” he said.

  2. NelC says:

    I take this as proof that God loves parasites more than us.

  3. Daen de Leon says:

    "My jaw just dropped," Allen said.

    That's probably due to the nematode burrowing through his trigeminal nerve.

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