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Been parasitized lately?

Monday, February 02, 2009 - 12:06 PM

If you've been parasitized, literally or figuratively, we'd love to hear about it. And don't spare us any of the vomitous details. We can handle it.

Email us at radiolab@wnyc.org

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Comments [22]

VanyaWhoever

Nikki? I was eating.

Mar. 15 2010 05:03 PM
hey! don't look here!

ugh nikki that's disgusting

Sep. 21 2009 05:51 PM
Nikki

When I was a teenager my boyfriend at the time had a fairly disgusting parasite issue. It started with these bumps on the bottom of his foot. Which was kind of weird, but whatever. However, after a few days, week or so we realized that something was happening; this rash looked different. And then we saw it: Movement! It wasn't a rash, but little worms moving around under his skin. He found that by putting heat near his toes, he could force the worms to move to his heel (he was, disgustingly, amused by the whole thing).
Turns out, (according to the doctor he finally visited)that during an evening of searching for hallucinogenic fungi (teenagers) he must of stepped in some cow patties, causing the infestation. Which was easily treated with a few pills.

Apr. 03 2009 03:18 PM
zeladoniac

I just came back from a trip to the Amazon with not one but two botflies. After about two weeks my husband, a biologist, removed the first one alive. We put it under a scope and videotaped it, put it to music and posted it to my blog. It's ickily lovely and the music is appropriate.
http://drawingthemotmot.wordpress.com/2009/01/28/mmmmmthats-good-grub/

Mar. 31 2009 04:00 PM
Hammer

if you want a GREAT interview about human parasites, look up the guy who did a presentation on it at Nerd Nite in New York City a few months back. He was a HIT.

Mar. 26 2009 05:59 PM
Adam Harris

Not really a parasite (it's a virus I think), but had bad plantar warts. I got one at camp when I was 10 and it just slowly got bigger. Had it operated on and it came back as cluster of 5 warts which spread all over the bottom of my foot when I was in college. When I was 23 I probably had 30-50 warts on the bottom of my left foot and tried everything on them. Then I got married, and within 3 months they just vanished. I'm not sure why that happened but I'm thankful it it did. I pretty much threw away all my shoes at that point and haven't had any for three years.

Mar. 08 2009 01:30 AM
masaya

Another former Peace Corps volunteer from W. Africa. I lived in Niger for 3 years, and while there had countless bouts of amoebae and giardia. My first case of amoebae felt like I had razor blades cutting my intestines from the inside out. Giardia never caused nearly so much pain, though it was unpleasant, with extreme gas and a fair amount of stomach pain.

BUT the worst parasite I had was something called "larva migraine," which as a small larva that had burrowed under the sole of my foot and was slowly moving along the sole. When I first saw it (it itched like crazy), I thought I had a huge worm growing there, but it turned out to be a tiny bug that was eating its way around. Yuck, not pretty. And living in a Guinea Worm endemic area, I was terrified that's what I had contracted. But it eventually turned out to be very easy to eliminate.

Mar. 05 2009 07:56 PM
Abby

I've had a plantar wart(s) for 4 years now. I've tried everything.! Got some serious inspiration after the placebo episode. Funny how placebos don't work when you know that they are.

But I ask myself, how much is it really bothering me? I guess I can support the life of another species for a bit, how is this different from a dog? Maybe if they get big enough my warts will play fetch too.

Feb. 17 2009 12:12 AM
Tiberous

Leeches are attracted to my willingness to listen to them. I tend to talk to people who need a shoulder to cry on, and they don't stop until said shoulder is waterlogged.

My current ex feels like she's able to ask me for money whenever she wants to go out with her friends, or to come into my home whenever she feels like and borrow my things. She works downstairs with the landlady, so she gets to have a key to my home. She'll come upstairs whenever she pleases and ask me about what I'm doing in my life. If she finds out that I'm even talking to a woman she starts getting angry and upset at me, but she has no problem telling me every detail of her dating life, and expects me to happily listen and comfort her no matter what I'm doing at the time.

She's a constant drain on my emotions and finances. There are times when she wants to go out with friends, so she'll ask me to give her money for something that she just =has= to do.

I've gotten away from giving her money, but most days I'll spend with my cell phone attached to my hand, issuing her comfort over text message.

Sometimes at night I think that, even after I'm able to get this leech off me, she's not really the first to do this, nor will she be the last. I don't see any real end of this parasite cycle in sight.

Feb. 08 2009 04:54 PM
Rabbi Bonnie Koppell

Army Reserve Rabbi
volunteered for Hanukka in Afghanistan
came back with giardia lamblia
no good deed goes unpunished. . .
still worth it!

Feb. 07 2009 11:55 PM
Jenine

Here in NZ, it's lice. Always with the lice. The first time I encountered them it was horrible, but now it is just an everyday fact of life. You don't even wonder if someone has lice if they scratch their head, you just assume they do.

Ugh, now my head itches just at the thought. I need to go comb.

Feb. 06 2009 04:57 PM
sharon

i worked on barro colorado island in the panama canal for the smithsonian institute in winter, 2006. talk about ticks! while doing research in the forest, i wore running shoes with socks pulled up high and taped to my pants--first sticky side in, to hold socks to pants, then sticky side out, to catch ticks crawling upwards. one day, after we had walked the .45 mile up to our field site in the forest, my ankle started itching. all day, i scratched it with my pen, through my sock. at the end of the day, my panamanian field team and i hiked out of the forest and to the cement steps outside our lab, where i finally took off my socks--only to see at least 200 baby "seed" ticks attached to the skin of my ankle. they had fallen on my shoe as one big "tick ball" and crawled through the weave of my sock. "ayudame!" i cried. my friends rushed to get a roll of masking tape. i took long pieces of tape and stuck them to my skin, pulling the ticks off en masse--it took about four pieces to get them all. i itched for weeks; my ankle was puffy and disfigured and only stopped itching when i ran super hot water and soaked it--i've got some GREAT photos. after panama, ticks don't bother me anymore--i'm an expert at spotting and killing those bastards.

Feb. 06 2009 03:09 PM
Nancy

I lived in The Gambia, West Africa in the Peace Corps and i had Tumbu Flies that burrowed under my skin for about a week, it was horrible! But the Bot Fly sounds much worse.

Feb. 06 2009 02:52 PM
Sean

I lived with pinworms for over 10 years because I was too embarrassed to tell anyone (first my parents, then later my doctor) about it. Apparently, pinworms live in the gut, and at night the female "momma" pinworms migrate to the anus and lay eggs. It's extremely uncomfortable, and causes a lot of itching. I'd have a flare up about once every three weeks. I remember being about eight when it first started - finally with great shame mentioned it to my doctor at age twenty eight (without mentioning how long I'd been "infected"), and got a prescription for some pills to take, twice a day for five days. Looking back, it's ridiculous how long I let it go.

Feb. 05 2009 07:13 PM
Julie

While in Guatemala several years ago I picked up some amoebas to be my travel companions. It was unpleasant to the nth degree. I had a roiling, cramping, and excruciating stomach. I had really impressive diarrhea, and I had a unique visit to a Guatemalan physician, where they handed me an empty Gerber baby food jar to use as a specimen container.

Feb. 04 2009 08:59 PM
Mark

Regarding lyme, it is a terrible disease to get. Not only can the disease itself be crippling and unpredictable, but primary care doctors are fed wrong and very outdated information about how it is diagnosed and treated. For example, the ELISA test used to diagnose it is notoriously unreliable. The Western Blot has some problems too. Lyme specialists are being sued for treating patients long term becuase there is fighting going on among researchers over whether or not it is a chronic disease. Here's a in depth blog/article about it:
http://www.myleftnutmeg.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=8493

Feb. 04 2009 08:57 PM
arkonbey

Living in the NorthEast, it's nothing but ticks for me. Walked through a field in Maine one day and picked over a dozen ticks off of my legs. Very hard to do this carefully and not to panic.

@pete: sorry about the Lyme. As an outdoorsman, it's one of my biggest fears. I hear that your odds of a full recovery are pretty good. Good luck!

Feb. 04 2009 11:27 AM
Ceridwynne

Jim,

hahahahaha

Just commiserating ;)

Feb. 04 2009 02:26 AM
Devin

The (human) botfly is one of my favorite things to tell people about. "Hey, have you ever heard of the Dermatobia hominis?"
Yeah, I'm not a very good house guest.

Feb. 04 2009 12:46 AM
Jim

I had a really clingy girlfriend for a while. I'd tell you more but it was far too horrific to convey here. A bot fly would have been pleasant, at least the it is good enough to leave silently and painlessly after a while.

Feb. 03 2009 11:22 PM
daniel chaves

only triplets and up

Feb. 03 2009 08:04 PM
Pete

Just recently I got diagnosed with Lymes Disease. It's been a very frustrating process for me and my family. I'm pretty sure I've had it at least since last April. I started getting flu like symptoms, but with this weird tingly allergy feel to it. I would get exhausted very easily. I went to the Doctor after a week or so and I got an antibiotic that seemed to clear it up. However, it came back again in July. They tested me for Lyme then, but it came back negative. More antibiotics later I would be doing better, but to make a long story shorter, I just kept getting sick. September, November, December, each time I'd get tested and there would be nothing conclusive. Finally in early January a test came back that indicated Lyme. I was almost thrilled just to finally have a diagnosis. I'm on a month long course of antibiotics in hopes of clearing it out. If it is still there after this treatment, my doctor is going to refer me to a specialist. After almost two weeks on the medicine I think I'm getting better, but I still tire very easily.

Feb. 02 2009 12:51 PM

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