A mother in Bristol, England, recently shared an experience that might relate to many parents. It all started with her 10-year-old son complaining about an itch inside his ear. She inspected the child’s ear and saw some kind of foreign object. Using tweezers, she set about removing whatever had crept into her son’s ear.
Mother’s description of the foreign object
The resistance when she grabbed and pulled the object with the tweezers surprised her. She suspected a ball of earwax caused the child’s discomfort. However, as she pulled, the strange thing seemed like one of those never-ending strings of silk hankies magicians can pull from anywhere. It kept coming and had a waxy, sticky texture. The mother realized it was definitely not a wax ball. Instead, it looked more like a giant worm that had crept up her child’s ear.
The foreign object even baffled the doctors
With the worm in a Zip-lock bag, she rushed the child to a medical facility. Doctors could not identify the object and sent it to a lab. Convinced that a brain-eating worm was in her child’s ear, the mother decided where there is one, there might be more! After several hours of freaking out, the child casually told his distraught mother that he pushed tape into his ear several days before. He couldn’t get it out and then forgot about it. Needless to say, although the relief was overwhelming, it left the mother extremely embarrassed. It all happened in Nov. 2019, and she only recently felt comfortable sharing the incident on social media.
Any other foreign object disclosures — Dandelions, perhaps?
I never found strange objects in my kids’ ears and decided to look for similar reports of such incidents. Here’s what I found:
In Nov. 2013, a Chinese mother took her 16-month-old baby to the doctors after the child had suffered painful ear infections for more than four months. To everybody’s surprise, doctors found a blossoming dandelion in the baby’s ear. They believed a seed somehow got into the child’s ear where the moisture posed perfect conditions for it to grow. The plant was more than two inches long and filled the entire ear canal.
Magic trick gone wrong
Doctors removed the tip of a wax crayon from the ear of a 6-year-old boy. It happened at school when he wanted to show friends a magic trick of pushing the crayon in one ear and then pull it out of the other ear. Needless to say, it did not work. Instead, it landed him in the hospital.
Mysterious ear tube surgery
During an annual medical check-up, the mother of a 3-year-old girl was stunned when the doctor asked about the tubes in the child’s ears. She could not answer the doctor’s question about when the tubes were inserted because she never had it done. To the surprise of all, after flashing out the child’s ears several times, what popped out proved to be green Play-Doh. The doctor explained that the tubes they put in some kids’ ears are a similar color.
Could it be a brain tumor?
A preschooler’s parents went through a rough time after learning the kid had a tumor near his brain. Although it was located in the ear, doctors told the parents it was a rapidly growing cancer. Most importantly, they suspected it might have spread to the brain already. However, when they removed the tumor during surgery, they discovered something entirely different. After removing tissue that had grown over the “tumor,” they identified the foreign object as a pink shoe belonging to his sister’s Barbie doll.
Foreign objects sometimes enter ears without help from children
Parents took a young child to the ER because she couldn’t stop screaming and holding her ear. The doctor discovered a moth had entered the child’s ear, and its flapping wings caused severe pain.
One night, a fifth-grade child woke from awful pain in her ear. While her mother looked into her ear, a beetle nonchalantly crawled out and flew away.
Another mother found a big, fat tick in her child’s ear.
Why an Australian man got the nickname “pothead”
A man in Australia suffered severe sinus infections. However, after thorough examinations, doctors determined that marijuana caused the pain. He admitted to being part of a smuggling scheme years earlier that involved stuffing weed up his nose. Not surprisingly, he earned the nickname “pothead” after the discovery.
A teen who had a habit of pulling her hair out one-by-one and eating them developed severe gastrointestinal problems. Doctors discovered a hairball over a foot long had clogged her stomach.
Goodnight kiss gone wrong
It’s not always the ears. A 4-year-old boy asked his mother to help remove the goldfish from his nostril! He explained that he just wanted to kiss the fish goodnight when it scampered up his nose.
So, there you have it! If you have some tales to tell about foreign objects landing in ears, noses and whatnot, share them with us.