My Thanksgiving dinner post
November 27, 2003 5:56 AM   Subscribe

My very own parasite "I swear it had two beady eyes on it. And it came out two or three inches, looked around and then retracted. I thought it was a dream, a vision of some sort." The yuck factor of our 'little friends' vs. the yuck factor of Flushing PCB's into your nursing infant through breast feeding ("Study finds a cocktail of potentially harmful man-made chemicals in every person tested in UK...") On our day of public gnawing on bird chunks, I ask : which of the above is yuckier? And does anyone out there have a juicy parasite tale to share?
posted by troutfishing (45 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:07 AM on November 27, 2003

I am SO not reading any more of this thread. *shudder*
posted by JanetLand at 6:08 AM on November 27, 2003

Heh... good title... even if I'm going to make sure not to read this thread a couple hours before or after dinner tonight.
posted by thebabelfish at 6:14 AM on November 27, 2003

I'm with Janet, I'm really sorry I clicked on that link before breakfast. Might a new 4-letter designation might be appropriate here? NSFA: Not safe for appetite?
posted by psmealey at 6:23 AM on November 27, 2003

JanetLand - You'll be back. I can tell.
posted by troutfishing at 6:23 AM on November 27, 2003

psmealey - I thought it was must have thought I wasn't being serious about the yuckiness! But hey - it's not Goatse man or tub girl. The BBC didn't have explicit pictures of the worm extending out of the guy's nose or anything, did they? That probably makes it worse - you get to picture it all in your imagination.....

I thought the nose-worm anecdote was hilarious....the travel writer chasing the horrified, fleeing waiter down the street while - unbeknownst - he's got a worm poking out of his nose! He street-tackles the hysterical waiter who, driven speechless, is reduced to pointing, in terror, at the nose.....

But I think you may have just coined a new Mefi term there - NSFA . I like it. It does the job. There are more where that came from too, like : NSFI (not safe for ideologues) or NSF__ (my instant "do it yourself kit"- Fill in the blank)
posted by troutfishing at 6:38 AM on November 27, 2003

this thread really isnt how I wanted to start my day. *sigh*
posted by atom128 at 6:44 AM on November 27, 2003

I was fascinated at the notion of disgust as an innate defensive mechanism. It brought to mind the "Mr. Yuk" stickers intended as a teaching tool for pre-literate toddlers to prevent them from ingesting attractively colored but potentially lethal cleaning products.
posted by alumshubby at 6:44 AM on November 27, 2003

Troutfishing... sorry, I was intentionally being tongue-in-cheek... I knew what I was getting myself into. I just wasn't expecting to see the picture of the tapeworm (yeccchhh!) right off the bat. I think I may forego the oyster stuffing at dinner tonight.
posted by psmealey at 6:53 AM on November 27, 2003

/me steps out for a box of donuts and a six-pack of Yoo Hoo
posted by trondant at 6:54 AM on November 27, 2003

psmealey - No need for sorrow, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth......I knew you knew. And I knew you weren't quite expecting that ! It's a beautifully written piece, that BBC story. Kudos to the unnamed author.

But for a picker-upper, go visit the Vibrating Underpants/Orgasmatron thread. It's a cheery little post.

Alumshubby - would that "Mr. Yuk" symbol be an outline of a tapeworm?
posted by troutfishing at 7:01 AM on November 27, 2003

Well, this is as good a time as any to post some information about the Candiru.
posted by cmonkey at 7:10 AM on November 27, 2003

I was talking to my housemate about this yesterday. He told me that when he was at school a kid at the next urinal started to pass a tape work through his urinary tract. Apparently it hurt *a lot*. You could see the little fella's head poking out of *ahem* the little fella's head. My friend got a teacher.
posted by biffa at 7:14 AM on November 27, 2003

And does anyone out there have a juicy parasite tale to share?

Juicy parasites are the best kind!
*runs back to the orgasmatron post for another VURC*
posted by languagehat at 7:15 AM on November 27, 2003

I knew this would come up. I decided to let someone else have the fun........NSFA COMMENT. WARNING WARNING WARNING. SHUT EYES. WARNING. DO NOT READ. DANGER. DANGER ....too bad the Candiru doesn't exit out the nose though, would be an almost perfect yuck if it became a sexually transmitted parasite which also exited out the nose. (best during a state of physiological arousal, such as during sex or whilst engaged in a heated shouting match)
posted by troutfishing at 7:16 AM on November 27, 2003

When candirus parasitize humans, it is usually only when they are skinny-dipping while urinating in the water. The candiru tastes the urine stream and follows it back to the human. It then swims up the anus and lodges itself somewhere in the urinary tract with its spines. Blood is drawn, and the candiru gorges itself on both the blood and body tissue, its body sometimes expanding due to the amount of blood. This is all said to be very painful for the poor person who has this happen to him or her. Unfortunately, they are almost impossible to remove due to the spines. Amputation of the private areas is the cheapest, and most life-changing, way to remove the fish.

*starts googling for 19th century bathing costumes*
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:16 AM on November 27, 2003

Miguel: WholesomeWear (via Presurfer).
posted by wendell at 7:23 AM on November 27, 2003

And does anyone out there have a juicy parasite tale to share?
....I don't know if this counts, but once, in the Himalayas, a parasite and its subsequent anti-biotic caused me to have the most beautiful poo---it was a completely black and white whorl in the shape of a ying-yang symbol. I wish I'd had a camera at the time, and I still get all warm and fuzzy thinking about it.
posted by DenOfSizer at 7:26 AM on November 27, 2003

Parasite stories. There is an evil evil part of me that wants to link to my long comment in the Marriage thread, but that would pretty much destroy my credibility... wait a minute, I have no credibility! This feels so liberating!
posted by wendell at 7:28 AM on November 27, 2003

You guys have it easy. Those of us in Britain had to watch the programme (scroll to end)
posted by ascullion at 7:33 AM on November 27, 2003

The last time I read a thread like this one, someone linked to the foulest collection of pictures I have ever seen. So I'm outta here....
posted by davehat at 7:55 AM on November 27, 2003

I have a friend who was a mormon missionary in central america, where a common practice to handle tape worms was to fast for a day or so, and then sit with a glass of milk next to their face and wait for the little bugger to come out for a drink... and then pull it out (slowly).

Another friend was showering when he looked down, and saw his gut buddy dangling from his anus, having a look around.


I may be biophilic, but I have a no macrobial policy...
posted by silusGROK at 7:58 AM on November 27, 2003

saw his gut buddy dangling from his anus, having a look around.

I don't know why, but that is possibly the funniest combination of words ever invented.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:06 AM on November 27, 2003

My wife has thrice suffered the indignity of being infested with a horrible parasite that attaches itself inside the body and feeds on the blood of its host, growing ever and ever larger as the host's body expands grotequesly to accomodate its never-satisfied hunger, until at last the parasite, having reached a length of ALMOST TWO FEET and a weight of NEARLY NINE POUNDS emerges...


Sadly, the parasites then stick around for another 18 years, consuming nearly everything in the house.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:30 AM on November 27, 2003 [2 favorites]

And they know what causes that now, crash...
posted by wendell at 8:41 AM on November 27, 2003

Chock full of parasitic goodness!

And Crash: perfect - absolutely perfect!
posted by davidmsc at 8:42 AM on November 27, 2003

I just watched this programme earlier today.
The whole thing about the guy eating the cyst containing the worm egg was revolting, I mean... flash-back-get-this-frikkin-image-out-of-my-head-please-dear-god, revolting (as was the resulting 7 foot long worm.)

I had to eat noodles for my lunch. The flat type. I'm thinking of suing the BBC for trauma.
posted by Blue Stone at 8:43 AM on November 27, 2003


What a heart-warming story! It's a real shame you don't have a pic to post here. [/sarcasm]
posted by wsg at 9:05 AM on November 27, 2003

What a strange coincidence: Just a week ago, I spent a horrified hour or so reading all about botflies, for no particular reason. By far, the best resource for horrifying botfly-extraction stories is the site that contains Mark's Human Botfly Infestation Story and botfly stories that people subsequently sent to him. The ones with the photos are the real winners.

posted by waldo at 9:38 AM on November 27, 2003

This site is a pretty comprehensive list of parasites. Good if you want to find yourself washing your hands a a couple of thousand times a day.

I like Ascarias myself. Parasitic worm about the size of a pencil, usually lives in the intestines. It has two interesting features, one is that it's very sensitive to anesthetics, either because it's sensitive to he chemicals or because they trick it into thinking that it's host is dying. So when a patient, unknowingly infected with Ascarias, worms goes in for surgery they'll often start crawling out of their nose, mouth and anus right there on the table.

The other problem with them is that they've been known to wander around the rest of the body and try and find a place to live outside the intestinal tract. So you find people with ascarias worms the size of a pencil wandering around their lungs, liver or brain, usually these people are dead shortly after that. Or as a friend on mine put it after a rather sadistic bio prof went into great detail about this...

"There are woooorrrmmms EATING MY braaaaaiiinnn"

posted by Grimgrin at 9:56 AM on November 27, 2003

Another notable parasite is the guinea worm, which still bothers people in parts of west Africa. Traditionally, the way to get rid of your guinea worm is to pull it out through the skin and wind it slowly around a stick. Since breaking the worm while removing can cause severe complications, you have to go very, very slowly--it can take weeks. This worm-on-a-stick meme may have been the inspiration for the Staff of Asclepius used to symbolize the medical profession.
posted by gimonca at 10:48 AM on November 27, 2003

Previous site also links to Parasites and Parasitological Resources at Ohio State, chock full of stats, stories and full-color photos from around the world.
posted by gimonca at 10:57 AM on November 27, 2003

posted by hoskala at 11:20 AM on November 27, 2003

Well, if the PCBs are already in you, they'll already be in your baby anyway. I'd much rather have some potentialy harmfull chemicals in low quantities then a fucking parasite. yeesh.
posted by delmoi at 12:06 PM on November 27, 2003

Ummm...pass the rice pudding, please.
posted by HTuttle at 1:25 PM on November 27, 2003

Best. Holiday. Thread. Ever.
posted by at 1:38 PM on November 27, 2003

posted by kablam at 1:44 PM on November 27, 2003

Well, I heard from my doctor sister about a parasite whose removal (from muscle tissue, I presume) involves wrapping a bit of it around a piece of dowel rod, bandaging it up for a day, then giving it a half-turn, etc., for a couple of weeks until you finally get it out. You can't just yank it out, in other words.
posted by kozad at 1:49 PM on November 27, 2003

Thanks. I'll add this to the list of things I'm totally fucking horrified of.
posted by Samsonov14 at 3:38 PM on November 27, 2003

a parasite whose removal (from muscle tissue, I presume) involves wrapping a bit of it around a piece of dowel
I heard that this was one of the origins for that medical symbol, the staff with the snakes around it.
posted by Iax at 7:33 PM on November 27, 2003

I can honestly say, if I got any of these parasites, I would shoot myself. The good news is, I'm now tasting my Thanksgiving dinner for the second time.
posted by vito90 at 7:41 PM on November 27, 2003

Interesting...I always knew of the Caduceus, but had not heard of the Staff of Asclepius until this thread. And that is with 5 years of Latin...

Caduceus of Hermes vs. the Staff of Asclepius
posted by gen at 9:20 PM on November 27, 2003

This thread is rad. My many thanks.
posted by The God Complex at 9:38 PM on November 27, 2003

cmonkey: Well, this is as good a time as any to post some information about the Candiru.

Earlier this Summer, I took a bath in a small Amazon feeder stream in the jungle about a half day outside of Manaus. All I could think about while bathing were the Candiru and giant Anacondas.
posted by syzygy at 4:03 AM on November 28, 2003

The God Complex - Thanks, but I'm still trying to spook someone - anyone! - with the apparent fact that fat-soluble PCB's (and other POP's) build up in female breast tissue until they are flushed out by breast feeding. Oh much for babies (CALL the fundamentalist christians....oh, they're busy, you say?.... ) - disrupting infant endocrine systems doesn't compare. Sorry kids. We've got worms.
posted by troutfishing at 12:15 AM on November 30, 2003

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