Well, there goes my appetite! A man in California who ate sushi everyday may be reconsidering his diet after discovering (unwinding? gah) a 5-foot long tapeworm that had taken up residency in his intestine. How do you even go on after something like that? Permanent fetal position and lots of crying, that’s all I would be able to muster.
Dr. Kenny Bahn shared the horrifying tapeworm tale on the podcast, “This Won’t Hurt a Bit“. Dr. Bahn says he was working a shift as an ER doctor when a young man came in, complaining of bloody diarrhea. WHY GOD WHY.
The man told residents at Community Regional Medical Center that he wanted to be treated for “worms”. Dr. Bahn was initially skeptical, until he saw the, uh, evidence for himself. He recalled that the patient told him he felt like “his guts were coming out”, and then he felt the tell-tale wiggle of the worm. Brb, going to die now.
On the “Parasites” episode of the podcast, Dr. Bahn says he began to wind the worm around a toilet paper roll.
I AM SO SORRY. SO VERY SORRY.
Once the worm had been fully extracted and unwound, it ended up being over 5-feet long. Just imagine, if you will, a tapeworm the length of a human of average height, living inside of your intestine. Just take a moment. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Dr. Bahn said the patient was actually relieved to learn it was, indeed, a tapeworm. Which, sure. I guess in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t seem so bad.
The patient was given medication to help remove the rest of the worm from his body. And he’ll always have this story to tell, so he’s got that going for him. While it’s unclear if the man will be swearing off all sushi for the rest of his life, he DID say that he wouldn’t be eating raw salmon anytime soon. According to a warning issued last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wild-caught salmon harvested off the coast of Alaska may contain tapeworm larvae.
So go out and enjoy that sushi lunch or dinner! Just maybe stay away from the salmon. Unless you also want to end up as a subject on a podcast.