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That's not food.
May 14, 2014 12:48 PM   Subscribe

My Child Ate... (poop, grandma's medicine, something around the house, nature, honorable mentions)
The Case of... (the tube switcheroo, the secret ingredient, the wrong container)

The Illinois Poison Control Center Blog, previously. You can contact the Illinois Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222; no question is too big or small.
posted by Juliet Banana (99 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
The "tales of wrong-container horror" make me never want to be thrifty again. Ugh.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:56 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: it was urine.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:03 PM on May 14


Metafilter: it was urine.

It's not lupus!
posted by tommasz at 1:08 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


My kid is super picky except when it comes to roofing shingles

Great post, thanks!
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:08 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


MeFi's Own!
posted by Rock Steady at 1:13 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Now I want a pillbox that looks like this.
posted by jeribus at 1:18 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


I worked for a time doing computer repair at Children's Hospital in Boston. In one of the departments, probably ENT, they had one of those nick-knack display cases, the kind your grandmother kept her very large thimble collection in, with all the stuff they had fished out of kid's throats over the years. It was the sort of collection I imagine Stephen King or Tim Burton would have. Matchbox cars, fishhooks, coins, magnets, paper clips, one of your grandmother's thimbles, etc. Gruesome.

Everything looks like food to a kid.
posted by bondcliff at 1:19 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Everything looks like food to a kid.

Yes. Especially when you make your laundry detergent look exactly like candy and then package it in a candy jar.
posted by The Bellman at 1:23 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


That wrong container link reminded me of a story when I lived in Carlsbad, California. My roommate was in a band at the time and one night after they had played a show and were driving home, my friend, in the backseat, saw a bottle of Visine on the floor, and since his eyes were bothered from all the smoke and being up late, opened the vial, tipped his head back, and squeezed the bottle over his eye. Just as the first drop exited the bottle, he heard the driver, who had looked into this rearview mirror at that moment, yell, "NO!" It was too late.

For some reason, the guy had put some harsh chemical in the formerly empty Visine bottle. My friend had to wear an eye patch for a while but suffered no permanent damage.
posted by perhapses at 1:30 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Also, I had a friend who used a plastic vodka bottle as his water jug.
posted by perhapses at 1:33 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


My brother once opened the freezer at his girlfriend's (shady) family's house and saw a nice frosty bottle of Jones Soda, just sitting there ready to be enjoyed. mmmm, Jones Soda, he thought, twisted off the cap, took a giant swig and threw up all over the floor. Turns out it was lye. We're still not sure why the girlfriend's family had lye in the freezer in a soda bottle, but the important lesson is don't drink lye, folks.
posted by aka burlap at 1:43 PM on May 14


and that Visine story is horrifying, perhapses.
posted by aka burlap at 1:43 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


My friend, an ophthalmologist, has seen at least two people who for some reason, keep superglue in the medicine cabinet, and have superglued their eyes shut when they mistook it for Visine. I can at least understand that maybe you can't read or see that well if you're looking for Visine, but why superglue in the medicine cabinet??

Poisoning the peanut butter and then using the same container really should make you wonder about the choices you've made in life.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 1:45 PM on May 14


Yes. Especially when you make your laundry detergent look exactly like candy and then package it in a candy jar.

The worst is Fabuloso. It smells delicious. It's really just a little bit of carbonation away from being Jones Soda. That product scares the crap out of me.
posted by phunniemee at 1:47 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


I'll bet the IPC blog gives better food safety advice than the ICP blog.

It was Faygo.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:51 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]


Oh, hello Illinois poison control whom I have called multiple times, because children have no sense of self-preservation! One time I was out with my girlfriends and my husband calls and says, "So, how many tums were left in the tums container?" "Um ... it was almost full, why?" "I think Child ate them." "You THINK?" "Well, I turned around to take care of the baby and Child went upstairs and climbed up into the sink and got into the medicine cabinet and when I came up he was eating them." (These were all new skills.) [Eyebrows relays story to friends, one of whom is a doctor, who says it's probably fine but go call poison control to be sure.] Eyebrows: "Okay, doc says it's probably okay but to call poison control, I will text you the number."

Then I'm sitting there uneasy and I told my girls I should probably go home because my husband has a tendency to panic in a crisis.

I get home and he's standing there in the kitchen eating ice cream from the container.

"What did Poison Control say?" I asked.
"Well, I tried to call them, but the number didn't work, so I decided to eat some ice cream."
"... there was a typo in the number so instead of googling it with one of the dozen internet-enabled devices in this house, including the one on which the phone call failed, you decided to eat ice cream to solve the problem instead of looking up the number, or, failing that, taking our toddler to the ER."
(Pause) "Well it doesn't sound so good when you say it like that!"

So I called Poison Control. Toddler was fine, he just had a couple days of chalky poop. And now we have a locking medicine chest.

My husband has not lived this down and probably never will. Whenever someone hears he's been in a crisis, they ask, "HAS HE STARTED EATING ICE CREAM? IS THAT STOPPING THE BLEEDING?" "Oh, no, he was in a car accident? Did the ambulance bring ice cream?" That kind of thing.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:54 PM on May 14 [156 favorites]


As a UI designer this is showing me how powerful the designed environment is. You can put Pine-Sol in your brownies because it is golden, comes in a tall clear plastic bottle and might have a green label. Or toothpaste on your wife's vagina. Even though literally all of your other senses should be telling you NO, you do it because of design.

That and I'm never eating or drinking anything out of any package ever again.
posted by fontophilic at 1:55 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


My friend, an ophthalmologist, has seen at least two people who for some reason, keep superglue in the medicine cabinet, and have superglued their eyes shut when they mistook it for Visine.

AAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:58 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


I work in the OR at a children's hospital and these sound like another day at the office for me. We even had a patient featured on the short-lived TV series Your Kid Ate What? After ingesting a toy car. The vast majority of time everything turns out OK and everyone has a laugh about it afterwards. But not always. One case that has always stuck with me was a guy who was playing a pickup basketball game and chugged down a whole cup of what he thought was beer before realizing it was concentrated RoundUp herbicide. He went into massive ARDS and eventually died. I never did learn why a cup of RoundUp was sitting by a basketball court. There was also a case (that I can't find online right now) some years ago of a whole group of people at a bar being served highly caustic commercial dish soap stored in a beverage container instead of the shots they ordered. They all suffered severe burns to their esophagus and had to get regular dilations for years afterwards. A lot of good lessons to be learned from that blog, but one of the most important is to never store chemicals in anything like a food container. Or even near food, for that matter.
posted by TedW at 1:59 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Reminds me of when I took a brief tour of one of the labs at a company that made things like shampoo, back in the seventies when I was a kid. They let me smell some stuff that they'd scented strawberry; I told them that it smelled delicious, and asked how they'd keep little kids from drinking it. They looked at each other and shrugged. Product safety? Not their division.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:02 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


My brother swallowed a roll of film. When mom called the doctor, she was told to call back if anything develops.
posted by dr_dank at 2:03 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]


Also, on the personal consumption end, when I were just a lad meself, I'd eat orange aspirin and tablet-form Pepto-Bismol as if it were candy, because hey. Didn't kill me, although I suspect in the latter case I may have been corked up for a few days.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:03 PM on May 14


Also, I had a friend who used a plastic vodka bottle as his water jug.

Well thats nice for a "shock your house guest with your iron gullet" move but the real problem is going to bed with a glass of water and a half-drunken cocktail, waking up blurry and accidentally swallowing a huge gulp of gin first thing in the morning.
posted by The Whelk at 2:04 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


I, um, knew a guy whose wife refilled his vodka bottle with vinegar because:
1. You need to stop drinking yesterday.
2. I know how fast you take that first pull straight off the bottle. You won't notice until it's too late.
While not dangerous, it was effective.

My wife re-uses cleaning bottles for other cleaning products so she can buy the refill packages. I've sprayed floor cleaner on the windows, etc. far too many times. NEVER food in chemical containers or vice-versa though.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 2:21 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


I have known people who keep all their leftovers and all of their DIY cleaning products in identical unlabeled old yogurt containers. You learn to look and sniff carefully before eating.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:23 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Oh no:

"Without long-term, sustainable funding, the Illinois Poison Center (IPC), the nation’s oldest poison center, faces closure on July 1, 2014 – making Illinois the only state in the US without poison center services."--http://savetheipc.com/

The linked page offers many ways to help, mostly for Illinoisians (Illinoisites? Illini? We Be Illin'?), but also resources for additional information & networking.
posted by gillyflower at 2:24 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


Years ago I had a close call with a carton of milk I bought, opened and lifted to my mouth to drink...and nothing came out. It was so spoiled it had solidified into...cheese? One of the stages of cheese production? Anyway, I took it back to the variety store and it turned out the freezer had died and every carton of milk in the store was in the same condition.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:26 PM on May 14


Once in college, I woke-up in the middle of the night, unable to breathe because my sinuses were utterly plugged. I fumbled-around in the dark for my trusty bottle of sinus spray. I took the cap off, stuck the tip up my nose, gave mighty squeeze to the bottle and inhaled as hard and deeply as possible.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered I had just filled my sinuses with eyeglass cleaner. Damned bottles were identical in size and feel.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:37 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


My brother once opened the freezer at his girlfriend's (shady) family's house and saw a nice frosty bottle of Jones Soda, just sitting there ready to be enjoyed. mmmm, Jones Soda, he thought, twisted off the cap, took a giant swig and threw up all over the floor.

I did something pretty similar at my mom's a couple years ago, but it was Jones' Turkey & Gravy Soda, and I made it to the sink.
posted by troika at 2:39 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


I was at a friend's party once and saw a nice little container of meat treats just hanging out on the counter. They didn't taste great and I was curious why he had them. "For the dog," he said, indicating the canine on the label.

Ah.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:42 PM on May 14 [13 favorites]


One mother called the IPC befuddled as to how her child refused to eat any of the wonderful foods she made for her but had no qualms about eating what she could only describe as a “putrid, phallic-looking, radioactive candy corn growing in the yard!”

I am amazed at the number of very bad things kids will eat/drink when I have seen a child levitate rather than eat a bite of cake because it had the wrong amount of pink frosting on it (I am uncertain if it was too much or not enough, possibly both).

I did once grab the ear drops instead of the eye drops. Don't do that.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:43 PM on May 14


When I was little I ate a small handful of Miracle-Gro in the hopes that it would make me taller. I didn't get sick or turn into a plant, but I did wind up being about 6 inches taller than my biological mother. Thanks, Miracle-Gro!
posted by Elly Vortex at 2:46 PM on May 14 [19 favorites]


perhapses: Also, I had a friend who used a plastic vodka bottle as his water jug.

I heard about a teacher who used to do that with wine bottles, except she brought them to school. Her excuse? Because no one recycles glass in the area, she didn't want the bottles to go to waste. I don't know if she got fired for that, or was told in strong terms "that is a very bad idea."


the young rope-rider: My kid is super picky except when it comes to roofing shingles

My kid is pretty good about eating food and not eating non-food, except he's tried Play Doh a couple times, and each time instantly spit it out. He hasn't done it in a while, so I think he finally learned it's not as tasty as it might look/ smell/ feel. The one non-food thing he really likes to put in his mouth/try to eat is hair. Recently, he was in his car seat while I was driving, and I thought I saw him eating something. I asked what it was, and he told me it was hair. I asked him why he was eating hair, and I think he said "it's comfort food," but he was kind of mumbling while chewing on a strand of hair. Kids are weird.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:55 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


We got to call poison control just this last saturday! My 3 year old son got up before the rest of us, and either he can open child resistant caps now or the last person who put the lid back on the Costco-sized container of Vitamin D gummies didn't put it on right. When I got up, I found the bottle on its side, gummies everywhere. We couldn't remember how many days it had been opened, but by my count, somewhere between 15 and 50 gummies were missing.

Fortunately it turns out that it is really, really, really hard to give yourself vitamin D toxicity from a single dose. Like he would have had to eat fifty thousand 1000 IU gummies to have a chance of hurting himself beyond a little tummy upset. And now we keep the Vitamin D gummies on a high shelf.
posted by KathrynT at 2:57 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


A middle-aged man put his Viagra 50mg tablets into an Aleve bottle for storage. His teenage daughter took two for her headache thinking they were actually Aleve.

Hiyoooo!
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:06 PM on May 14


My boys were 2 and 6 when they apparently split a 100-count bottle of Vitamin A between them. To this day, I don't know where they found it, since neither my wife nor I remember buying any. We're not even sure if the bottle was full or empty when the boys found it. We called poison control and took them to the hospital to get their stomachs pumped. They were fine, but that scared the crap out of me.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:07 PM on May 14


Yes. Especially when you make your laundry detergent look exactly like candy and then package it in a candy jar.

Mmm, those look delicious.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:12 PM on May 14


Yeah, the poison control lady was like "Vitamin A and iron are the two that are really worrisome" and I said "I knew about the vitamin A thing because of the Albanov Arctic expedition where the guy died from eating polar bear liver" and the poison control lady was like ". . . yeah, well, you can learn all sorts of things."
posted by KathrynT at 3:13 PM on May 14 [35 favorites]


gillyflower: "Oh no: "Without long-term, sustainable funding, the Illinois Poison Center (IPC), the nation’s oldest poison center, faces closure on July 1, 2014 – making Illinois the only state in the US without poison center services."--http://savetheipc.com/

I'm almost certain this is typical budget-season brinkmanship by the state legislature, who are not going to defund Poison Control in a gubernatorial election year. (But they really do need to devote an actual specific funding stream to it, because we go through this every couple of years and having to depend on the state legislature getting its act together in time for funding is TERRRRRRIBLE because they are bad at their job.)

for Illinoisians (Illinoisites? Illini? We Be Illin'?)"

When talking about the state legislature, especially when they engage in budget brinkmanship over necessary services like Poison Control, we prefer to be called the Illannoyed.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:17 PM on May 14 [14 favorites]


I think the worst I've ever done as a kid is take sneaky swigs from my older brother's bottles/cans of beer, to find that they have been extinguishing their cigarette butts in them.

Another time I drank dish liquid because why not, and I threw up loads of foam, it was actually pretty neat.

Oh! And one time, in primary school, I was in the Boy's Room, and I did a wee, and then I was washing my hands at the sink and on a little shelf above the sink for some reason was an open urinal cake, and for whatever reason I thought it was a big lolly, and so I took a bite out of the mystery toilet shelf urinal cake lolly.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:22 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


the real problem is going to bed with a glass of water and a half-drunken cocktail, waking up blurry and accidentally swallowing a huge gulp of gin first thing in the morning

Problem...or solution?
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:23 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


It makes morning calisthenics more interesting
posted by The Whelk at 3:43 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised at how many ER physicians called asking for treatment advice. I don't know *why* I'm surprised -- they aren't pharmacists or poison control experts after all. But it certainly goes to show how important these services are.
posted by aclevername at 3:55 PM on May 14


for whatever reason I thought it was a big lolly, and so I took a bite out of the mystery toilet shelf urinal cake lolly.

What do they taste like? I'm guessing minty and piney?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:56 PM on May 14


"For the dog," he said, indicating the canine on the label.

I've been eating my dog's biscuits while she is away at puppy school and they are very tasty although a little heartburny.
posted by elizardbits at 4:03 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


As a kid for some reason I decided my friends and I.would eat some of my Flintstones building blocks (essentially straight Styrofoam). My mom called posion control and we had to drink gallons of milk. It all ended well though I think I built a fortress in my toilet and said;"Look Momma, look what I made!".
posted by white_devil at 4:05 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


One time I was really high and eating Entenmann's chocolate donuts in the laundry room, as one does. I licked a big glob of melted chocolate off of my hand. It was laundry detergent.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:08 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Clinging to the Wreckage: "I, um, knew a guy whose wife refilled his vodka bottle with vinegar"

This reminds me of when I was little and I used to sneak into the kitchen at night to eat plain granulated cane sugar. I'd grab a table spoon and go to town on the sugar container. The container was a one of a series of similar containers, all clear plastic. Sugar was the first one from the left, then salt, then flower, etc...

Ever since that fateful night when I found myself with a heaping table spoon full of pure salt in my mouth my mother has insisted on being absolutely innocent in the matter. It was an accident she claimed and she stuck to her story for all of her life. Yet she was the most meticulous person in the world when it came to her kitchen, carefully labeling everything, everything put in its place etc. We're talking about a woman here who maintained a handwritten index card system for the contents of the freezer chests... cards that were never wrong even once in all the years I can remember!

Of course it's nothing like swallowing poison or cleaning liquids but that taste experience is still intensely present in my mind even after over 30 years and I can recall it on demand. And it certainly cured me of my nightly sugar cravings at the time.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:18 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


why superglue in the medicine cabinet??
It closes up small wounds quickly and painlessly that might otherwise needs stitches. Cyanoacrylate adhesive is pretty commonly used in medicine now, though medical-grade stuff (Dermabond) is not always easy to find and is expensive. I glued the tip of my thumb back on once!
posted by WaylandSmith at 4:26 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


We once purchased a rural property, including a barn, that had belonged to an elderly retired couple. I had (impractical) dreams of turning the barn loft into a studio space and undertook to clean it out. Seems the old fella, a retired navy guy, had taken to sitting up there and drinking on the sly back when he could still make it up the ladder. I rounded up the bottles for recycling and during this process found one, of a fairly decent rye whiskey, that was half-full. I opened it up intending to have a nip in his honour. Thank God I smelled it first. Decade-old urine. It's not for drinking.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 4:26 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


"I ALMOST KILLED MY FAMILY MAKING PANCAKES THIS MORNING"
posted by griphus at 4:27 PM on May 14


i think this is the actual link you wanted though
posted by elizardbits at 4:32 PM on May 14


First the bugs-in-ears thread, and now this. It's been a good day for eye-opening stories from Mefites.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:41 PM on May 14


Nope!
posted by cjorgensen at 4:43 PM on May 14


"I ALMOST KILLED MY FAMILY MAKING PANCAKES THIS MORNING"

Mmm, butter-scented furniture polish.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:44 PM on May 14


As long as no one puts arsenic in the sugar dish for the blackberries we're okay.
posted by The Whelk at 4:50 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


why would you sugar fruit?
posted by Ferreous at 4:54 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


just had a Proustian flashback to the taste of Styrofoam
posted by thelonius at 5:08 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Mmm, butter-scented furniture polish.

is that made by the folks who brought us shimmer?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:16 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


What do they taste like? I'm guessing minty and piney?

All I really remember is it tasted what I would call "pink chemically", and was hard and crumbly like peculiar cheese. It had a very sharp tang, distinctly unlolly-like, which caused it to rocket from my greedy mouth. Pine is probably closest, I don't recall it being particularly minty.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:17 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


did you cry shocked bitter tears of angry betrayal though
posted by elizardbits at 5:30 PM on May 14


Another time I drank dish liquid because why not, and I threw up loads of foam, it was actually pretty neat.

One of my few early childhood memories involves my dad using regular dish soap in the dishwasher, which of course flooded the kitchen with bubbles, which I then played in. This is like the human version of that!
posted by NoraReed at 5:34 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


My Poison Control story involves driving all over my in-laws' town with a plant branch trying to find a DNR guy my husband went to high school with so he could tell us whether our son had eaten Solomon's seal (poisonous) or false Solomon's seal (innocuous). It was the latter.

What I learned: I love the Poison Control people and the DNR, both, even more than I realized I did; and if Grandma has a giant blackberry and raspberry garden that's located right next to a woods full of wild berries, probably pay pretty close attention to your toddlers.
posted by gerstle at 6:24 PM on May 14


As a UI designer this is showing me how powerful the designed environment is. You can put Pine-Sol in your brownies because it is golden, comes in a tall clear plastic bottle and might have a green label. Or toothpaste on your wife's vagina.

Or Nair on your toothbrush.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:56 PM on May 14


My mom and I started buying Fabuloso originally because we thought it looked delicious.
posted by Tesseractive at 7:11 PM on May 14


I once told my little brother that Mum was hiding chocolate in the top kitchen cupboard, and that he mustn't eat it because she bought it special for herself. Of course, he was powerless to resist... and, unlike me, too young to read the label, much less know that there were no chocolate bars called "Ex-Lax".

This wasn't the only time I tried to kill him. We're pretty sure my early fratricide attempts are the reason he now has an immune system like a junkyard dog.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 7:20 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Ever since that fateful night when I found myself with a heaping table spoon full of pure salt in my mouth my mother has insisted on being absolutely innocent in the matter.

Aaah! Takes me back to a terrible sleep-away summer camp experience the summer before I started 4th grade. My normal camp was cancelled, and my parents dropped me off for a week at a different camp, full of complete strangers. We got a nice long lecture from the counselors about how we had to eat whatever they cooked over the fire (no mess hall, crates of ingredients left at the end of the trail to be fetched), and we had to finish everything on our plates (my worst nightmare as a picky eater), and the one meal I could enjoy was breakfast, because it was cereal, and I could choose raisen bran, which I liked. I loaded it up with sugar...and it was salt. I think I actually started crying. (Also relevant, we didn't have any indoor plumbing, and the camp counselors told us we had to swallow our toothpaste...that it was actually "good for us.")

There are six other reasons that week long experience was traumatizing, aside from the salt and toothpaste poisoning.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:50 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


My first memory is of leaning over the back of a chair and seeing my year-old brother drinking sunscreen out of a bottle.

My second memory is watching my mom hold my brother on her hip with one hand and dial the poison control center with the other.

Kid was fine. Big sister was disappoint.
posted by none of these will bring disaster at 7:55 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


A real winner from the previous posting, 'A Day in the Life of a Poison Center' (7pm-8pm, call# 11):

A 24 year old woman called about her boyfriend. The woman had a Brazilian wax at a salon where they had used a numbing cream on the area and now her boyfriend is complaining numb lips, mouth and tongue. He was concerned that he may have ingested some of this numbing cream.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:04 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Not a poisoning but I have an aunt who once polished her husband's antique Philipine desk with some good sprays of lemon-scented..... oven cleaner.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 8:04 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Also, my friend makes the best lasagna in the world. She came to visit and made a triple batch, so I had plenty in the downstairs freezer. My daughter brought some up for dinner one night, and we kept smelling this weird smell while it was cooking. Took a bite; worst taste ever. Husband had been painting the deck with plasticized coating and put the brushes in the freezer for reuse. I almost cried while throwing out 6 dinners worth of the most fantastic food on the planet.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 8:10 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Also 15 pounds of halibut fillets and two whole salmon. Awful.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 8:11 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Mmm, sunscreen. That reminds me of a photo that exists somewhere in the world, of my nephew and I (both pretty much the same age) sitting on the kitchen floor in our "diapers", sharing and enjoying a delicious pot of Clag glue. Good stuff.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:53 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


just had a Proustian flashback to the taste of Styrofoam

Ditto smell/taste of Play-Doh.
posted by gingerest at 9:34 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


I finished off a bottle of Flintstones vitamins when I was a kid. My mom called poison control and they said I'd be fine. I was, but my poop was jet black for a couple days from all of the extra iron.

I think it's where I get my
(takes off sunglasses)
magnetic personality.

I'm here all week.
posted by Woodroar at 9:56 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


When I was five or so, I ate about 50 or 60 Bayer aspirin my uncle had in his bedroom. No repercussions other than aspirin has never helped a headache since.

When I was in college, some of my friends worked the Friday night sports desk at the local newspaper, taking high school scores. Friend A had a can containing some sort of beverage at hand. Friend B had an identical can he was using as his chewing tobacco spit can, also at hand. Hilarity ensued.
posted by bryon at 10:19 PM on May 14


When talking about the state legislature, especially when they engage in budget brinkmanship over necessary services like Poison Control, we prefer to be called the Illannoyed.

God dammit I was going to make this exact joke.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:28 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Memories of cleaning out my Grandfather's shed: treat all liquids as probably being poison. Also don't touch anything that has liquid in it. In fact, best to not touch anything at all. Dad! There's a box of fucking .303 bullets over here!
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:11 AM on May 15


While visiting grandma, a new mother made up a bottle for her 2 month old, using powdered formula and a jug of nursery water she found under the sink. As soon as she started feeding the baby, he began to cry, cough and gasp. Turns out the jug did NOT contain water—the grandmother had filled it with vodka to hide it from her husband.
Jesus Christ. Some of these are just beyond belief.
A sick child was inadvertently given lamp oil in her sippy cup—someone had stored lamp oil in a Pedialyte bottle and placed the bottle next to the refrigerator.
what. what are you even doing. what the fuck is wrong with you.

Anyway, I'm off to store my arsenic powder in an olf flour bag in the baking cupboard, transfer the bleach into an old water jug that I'll store in the fridge, and mould rat poison into small round shapes that I will cover in chocolate and write M&M on and keep in an old candy packet. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:57 AM on May 15 [19 favorites]


I am going to show my girlfriend this thread the next time I get flak for leaving the leftover enchilada sauce in an unmarked jar next to the leftover barbeque sauce in an unmarked jar.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:11 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Barbecued enchiladas sound pretty good, actually.

These remind me of my own accidental ingestion as a child; While rummaging through the kitchen cabinets as a child looking for a snack I came across a jar full of foil-wrapped squares that looked much like candy, perhaps caramels. I unwrapped one, it was the right color for caramel or perhaps chocolate, so I popped it in my mouth and promptly bit down on a boullion cube.

To this day I only allow cans of stock in my cupboard.
posted by TedW at 5:29 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


When I was little, about eight or so, I was drawing on the footpath outside my grandma's house with some red chalk and Grandma gave me a red jellybean. Guess which one went in my mouth? Obviously chalk is never going to be a good taste but when you're expecting a lovely sweety it's like being punched in the mouth by Satan.
posted by h00py at 5:48 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


The legend goes that when Divine had to eat dog poo in Pink Flamingos, she later called Poison Control pretending to be a mother asking if she should be worried about "her little Johnny" who had eaten some that day.

Our Mom was so vigilant about food poisoning that we weren't even allowed to eat certain foods at other people's houses, so I guess that just naturally transferred over to not eating non-foods, as well. We pretended to eat our crayons, but we always spat them out like little wine tasters.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:01 AM on May 15


And, as usual, Mom had a trump card for not storing things in the wrong containers. We were raised on the incredibly detailed story of her young cousin who had died in a house fire as a child – it was her job to light the stove every morning, and someone had put gasoline in the kerosene can. She lingered in horrible pain for three days. She had been staying with Grandma, but her mother had demanded she come home early, and the fire happened her first day back. Anytime anyone would say something about putting a chemical in a different container, she would get this haunted look on her face and say something like, “That’s what happened to [Cousin].”
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:09 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Years ago I had a close call with a carton of milk I bought, opened and lifted to my mouth to drink...

So a cow-orker told me this. He'd been moving house for a friend on a hot summer's day and figured he needed a drink. The fridge had been disconnected and was waiting to be moved, but he figured the orange juice, in a tall cardboard container would still be good. It was only when he felt the fungus chunks slide down his throat he realised it had been sitting in that fridge for slightly longer than recommended.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:19 AM on May 15


I did once grab the ear drops instead of the eye drops. Don't do that.

Especially not when the ear drops where meant for your cat and were basically hydrogen peroxide.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:21 AM on May 15


This whole thread and site make me feel less overly-paranoid for have a mini-freakout at work on the techs when they had a half-full Coke Classic bottle of Iridite sitting on a shelf in the warehouse next to my office. I even had to get the safety guy to explain to them that, no, this was NOT a good idea and to AT LEAST MARK IT if you're going to have poisonous substances in beverage containers. And that no, they REALLY shouldn't do that because seriously wtf poison.
posted by This Guy at 9:29 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Stories like this make me really how absurdly lucky I've been with my tot, who NEVER swallows or puts anything random into his mouth, and is cautious about everything he eats and drinks. He never messes with outlets, has no interest in futzing with appliances or matches, doesn't run in the house, doesn't climb anything he shouldn't climb, doesn't care about the "boring grown up stuff" that's in our cabinets, doesn't even go in rooms that don't have certified kid stuff for him to safely play with, wouldn't DREAM of handling chemicals or medicines, etc.

I claim no special skills in him turning out like this. It's like some kind of genetic lottery that after my tweezers-in-the-outlet/I-wonder-how-candles-taste/I-bet-the-world-looks-awesome-from-the-top-of-the-fridge youth, I didn't deserve to win. My preschooler is home right now, playing Legos or reading or listening with interest while his grandma explains how the fridge works or what Jupiter is like. And were he not my spitting image, I would never believe this gentle, bright, non-trouble-seeking angel shared a scrap of DNA with me.

I TOTALLY CHEATED THE ODDS, Y'ALL.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:55 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


I have you all beat.

We have a sink in our basement that requires a pump to bring the waste water up to the level of the sewer pipe, which is higher than the sink drain, so it can then exit the house into the septic tank where it then turns into unicorn dust or whatever happens to waste water.

We use that sink for the sorts of things one uses a basement sink for. Not food prep, that's for sure. For many years we also cleaned the cat's litter box in the sink. After emptying the litter and waste into a bag we'd then rinse the litter box off in the sink, letting the little bits of sold waste go down the drain. I know. Don't judge me.

One day the sink wouldn't drain and I realized the pump wasn't working.

I took the pump apart, which was basically a sump pump in a little plastic tub. I cleaned the pump but the plastic tub was filled and had to be emptied. Because it was attached to a solid pipe (since replaced with a quick disconnect) I wasn't able to move the bin.

I thought it would be a good idea to siphon it into another container.

At this point it was late, I was tired, and I was doing that thing where you know you should be taking more care into whatever it is you're doing but you just want it done and don't care how you do it.

So I put a hose in the tub and proceeded to suck on it with my mouth, thinking I could feel the water coming up the hose and then remove it from my mouth in time. You see where this is going.

I'd say I swallowed about 1/2 cup of stagnant, old-paint, mop water and kitty litter infested waste water. I'm talking years of cat shit sitting in that tub.

I thought I was going to surely die. I emailed my doctor and she told me not to worry about it unless, you know, I felt sick.

In the end I was fine, but I fucking swallowed cat shit water. I blame the cats.
posted by bondcliff at 11:10 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


I'd say I swallowed about 1/2 cup of stagnant, old-paint, mop water and kitty litter infested waste water. I'm talking years of cat shit sitting in that tub.

bondcliff, if it makes you feel any better, it was probably closer to between 1/4 and 1/3 of a cup. The human mouth has a carrying capacity of just about two ounces, and that's without a hose in your mouth. Unless you somehow managed to swallow two mouthfuls...

Quarter cup of cat shit also has a nice ring to it.
posted by phunniemee at 11:41 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Well, it went right from the hose directly down my throat, it didn't really queue up in my mouth. I did gag on it though, so there's that.

But yes, quarter cup of cat shit sounds better. Like something an evil Mary Poppins would sing about.
posted by bondcliff at 11:43 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]


I swallowed so many coins, hunks of tinfoil, and largeish glass beads as a child without anyone even paying attention that I'm shocked I never got violently ill from a seemingly unexplainable intestinal blockage.

I'm sure I eventually passed all that stuff, but it would be pretty great if an archaeologist opened me up a thousand years from now and found a cache of small durable items circa the 1980s.

Also, while Play-Doh was delicious, the generic homemade version (flour, water, salt, and food coloring) is even better.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I probably did have pica.
posted by Sara C. at 3:52 PM on May 15


On reread of this:
My roommate was in a band at the time and one night after they had played a show and were driving home, my friend, in the backseat, saw a bottle of Visine on the floor, and since his eyes were bothered from all the smoke and being up late, opened the vial, tipped his head back, and squeezed the bottle over his eye.
Do not use other people's Visine even if it's not sitting on the floor of their cars. Sharing stuff like that is taking a very short trip to pinkeye and worse.
posted by gingerest at 4:23 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


When I was a very young child, my guardian got Mr. Yuk stickers from the children's hospital and put them on the containers of dangerous items that little kids nonetheless would be tempted to get into. Along with the commercials on the local stations, her son and I put two and two together and didn't eat or drink anything with the sticker on it, and really, nothing that wasn't already known to be food.

If it isn't already, Mr. Yuk should be a national campaign!
posted by droplet at 6:27 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Mr. Yuk.
posted by gingerest at 7:02 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


The Lighter Side of Things that Aren't Food:

Get out of there, cat. You are not food.
Get out of there, cat. You are not delicious groceries.
Get out of there, cat. You are not my Lean Cuisine.
Get out of there, cat. You are not a canned good.
Get out of there, cat. You are not a nonperishable.
Get out of there, cats. You are not fennel.
Get out of there, cat. You are not a grocery.
Get out of there, cat. You are not the food i’m looking for.
Get out of there, cat. You are not tasty layers of pasta, tomato sauce, and cheeses.
Get out of there, cat. You are not Eggo waffles.
Get out of there, cat. You are not a perishable food item.
Get out of there, cat. You are not tomatoes.
Get out of there, cat. You are neither water nor food.
Get out of there, cat. You are not a plate. I will not put food on you.
Get out of there, cat. You are not snacks.
Get out of there, cat. You are not the sugar I need for baking.
Get out of there, cat. You are not bread dough.
Get out of there, cat. You are not a tasty casserole.
Get out of there, cat. You are not dinner.
Get out of there, cat. You are not potatoes. You’re also not half price.
Get out of there, cat. You are not McNuggets and fries.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:01 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Apropos of this thread, at this very moment in the fridge at my office there is a big (supposed to be) white gallon jug labeled as water from a grocery store. Except it's full of something very, very yellow/brown and has written on the side "DO NOT DRINK" which makes me morbidly curious as to what it is and why it's stored in our work fridge. But yay for labeling I guess.
posted by This Guy at 10:01 AM on May 16


Two things:

One of my dumb ass college friends snorted Comet cleaner up his nose thinking it was some cocaine left over on the kitchen counter from the night before.....burned his nose up good.


One of my children developed the ability to open child proof containers before she was 2. I set down a cough syrup prescription bottle to grab another child "in danger" and she opened I and drank it proclaiming that it was good "orange juice in the root beer bottle." She was tipped over the toilet for a forced vomit in a flash.

Thus, I am not so sure it's a kid thing. Although I felt sorry for my kid but not my friend.
posted by OhSusannah at 4:08 PM on May 19


I did something pretty similar at my mom's a couple years ago, but it was Jones' Turkey & Gravy Soda, and I made it to the sink.

I used to work for Jones Soda. You don't know workplace horror until you have to taste-test all the novelty flavors from the specialty soda packs, like the holiday soda... or the sports-themed sodas when they had the Seahawks/Qwest Field soda sponsorship deal. Ever had a sweat-flavored beverage? I have. It's something you don't get over.

(fun fact: our secret in-house slogan was "Our sodas make great mixers!". Get you a strawberry lime soda and put some vodka in it. You're welcome.)
posted by palomar at 1:14 PM on May 21


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