February 25, 2008

Things People Swallow

In August 2006, a Serbian man had surgery to remove the following items from his stomach: eight nails, a knife, a pen, a screw, a spoon, and a clothes-pin. There were also several other smaller objects in his stomach. The man had been reported by a concerned relative although he didn't report any pain. Amazingly, doctors found no damage to the man's internal organs.

Can you guess what we're talking about today? Make sure you aren't about to eat anything and then go visit this page. The 10 Most Shocking Things Found In People's Stomachs. Seriously. Put the cupcake down first.

Have any of you heard of the term, "pica?" It is the behavioral urge to swallow things. Usually it only manifests itself in babies and young children, but sometimes the urge persists until adulthood.

In France a few years ago, a 62 year old man was complaining of violent stomach cramps and was rushed to the hospital. When they x-rayed his abdomen, they saw a large mass inside his gut, pushing his stomach down. They operated to remove the mass and found it to be 5 kilograms of coins worth $650 in value. This guy never outgrew pica. But at least he could afford the trip to the hospital.

I was reading some threads in a teacher's forum today and found that most teachers of young children deal with pica. A frequently asked question among the teachers was, "How do I make them stop?" I liked one teacher's response for how she dealt with her first graders. She says:
"What's in you mouth!? Now if you accidentally swallow that thing I am going to have to get it out. Do you see how big my hand is? I'm going to have to stick my big hand down your throat. You can be sure that it will hurt. If you don't want my big fat hand down your throat then you better get that thing out of your mouth and keep it out!"
She reports and almost 100% effective rate for her method.

When my oldest was in diapers, I'd occasionally discover a surprise in her diaper. Mostly rubber bands and small pieces of trash but once my favorite bracelet went missing. A day later I found all the beads from the bracelet in her diaper. I had a weird moment of calm when I considered salvaging the beads and re-stringing the necklace. Don't worry. I didn't. But it did amaze me how they had just traveled through her entire digestive system unmarred.

So here's the conversational topic. What is worth eating simply for the x-ray photo? What's the weirdest thing you or your kids have eaten? Do you really believe that story about the hair? Discuss.

43 comments:

tracy m (dandelion mama) said...

Ew. Ew ew ew! That hair mat is the nastiest thing I've seen in a long time.

We have a perfect x-ray of Jeffrey- he swallowed a penny, and being firt-tiem parents, we took him in to the ER. Yup. Just wait it out, check his poops.

Never did find it. But the x-ray is a cool souvenir!

Molly said...

It's a shame that no one will read this comment until after they have looked at the original post. I wanted to add my ALL CAPS AGREEMENT TO THE WARNING ABOUT PUTTING DOWN THE CUPCAKE BEFORE FOLLOWING THAT LINK. SERIOUSLY. PUT IT DOWN.
I think I'm going to go vomit now. Yuck Yuck Yuck.

Irishmama said...

When my nephew was 11, he swallowed his ID bracelet...one of those thick chained ones. He got it back without surgery.....gross.

Lindsay said...

I remember reading about that French guy. So weird.

There's this great story in my family about my mom's youngest brother who once swallowed a dime. (He's the same uncle who also shoved a cocoa puff up his nose, which resulted in an ER visit.) Sure enough, the dime eventually ended up in his diaper. My grandpa saved the coin and, according to family lore, gave to my aunt on their wedding day. Worth swallowing? I suppose...it definitely makes for great reminiscing at family reunions.

Nikki said...

I nearly puked on the keyboard.

Emmy said...

Hollywood and Molly, thanks for the advise. I have not looked at the link and I don't think I will especially since I am currently eating breakfast.

I ate a Christmas ornament when I was a baby. My mom said it made the prettiest poop ever. Luckily me kids have not taken up that tradition.

MommyJ said...

I just changed my baby's diaper the other day and pulled out, not from the diaper, but from the part of him that is actually exposed during diaper changes, a string of dental floss, probably 18 inches long. It was very unnerving. And disgusting. His insides have officially been flossed. Bet not many people can say that!

Chris & Allie said...

I would believe the hair thing more if the picture were clearer, as of right now I'm not so sure. I used to see brightly colored Lego pieces in my son's diaper on a regular basis, and as expensive as Legos are, I didn't retrieve any. I used to eat Christmas bulbs (the glass kind) when I was little, I'm sure that made awesome diapers!

Chris & Allie said...

Oh, one other thing. You would probably have to eat a lot of hair at one time to not have it go through your system. That is another thing I found in my son's diaper, my hair that is found in every inch of my house when my babies are about 3 to 4 months and it all falls out. And, what he calls "ewes". Fuzz balls he pulls off of blankets and things.

chan said...

That hair thing is disgusting! The only interesting thing I have ever found was a little string that I had to pull the rest of the way out. It was about a foot long. Gross.

Hollywood said...

I'm so regretting putting this post us now. I really don't want to hear about what you've pulled from your kids' hinnies. But I guess I asked for it! And I did subject you to my kid's diaper story. Ay me.

MommyJ, I don't know how you did it. Wow. I'm skipping lunch today.

Colleen said...

Yeah, that dental floss story is really gross. But funny!

That looks less like a hairball and more like a fuzzy internal organ.

erin j bailey said...

I won't be able to read your blog for weeks to come because I'll be worried about seeing that hairy mass again. Ewww.

My son used to have raisins come out perfectly preserved in his diaper...nothing could penetrate those babies.

Heather O. said...

This is the grossest. post. ever. And the comments are almost as bad. Please make it stop.

April said...

YOU ARE EVIL... PURE EVIL!

Mwahahahaha!

Shiloh said...

I think this was a very interesting post. For some reason I'm not sick at all. hmm. I do feel a need to forward it to my brother however, which proves it must be pretty gross. ;)

Calidaho said...

Okay, I sat down with my bowl of homemade soup for a little lunch break and wandered over to Hollywood Flakes. I still don't know what the picture is but I had to hurry and close the page until after eating to even attempt to read this post! Maybe it's crazy I came back so soon after eating!

Anonymous said...

"pica" is a little more complex that children swallowing silly things.

Millie said...

I guess if this is a PG-13 rated blog, I'm allowed three F words...

FLIP! I can't believe the FETCHIN weird stuff people eat! FREAKIN $650 in coins!

My sweet six-year-old swallowed a push pin as a baby. Fortunately, it passed through without giving him any injuries - but it sure did look funny sticking out of his little butt. If I may be disgusting.

Hollywood said...

I agree Heather. I've sunk to a new low. But I've been thinking about this topic for a few weeks now because of my stuffed animals. Whether or not they are "kid friendly" and just what kids are able to swallow. Spike is always freaking out from the things he sees our kids chewing on. I never think they are small enough to choke on but he's always trying to convince me that they can down an entire armchair in one swallow. I wanted to find out just what kinds of things people were able to swallow.

Anonymous said...

a fork?!?!?

lisa said...

when i was younger( a LOT younger) my sister stole my penny, and i was chasing her, so she put it in her mouth, and accidentally swallowed it

sugar&spicecookies said...

I didn't know that thing was a hair-ball.
I thought it was a ferret.
Gross!

Few ox said...

I'm not going to look at the pictures. My daughter swallowed a candy wrapper when she was 7 months old. That's what I get for leaving my little sister in charge.
It's so interesting that your post is about pica, I was just reading a cool article about it in a magazine.

Dawn said...

That photo! Is. So. Gross.

Mary said...

I have not looked at the link yet... but here is my own pica story. Back in the dark ages straws were made of paper, not plastic. As a child, I thought the biggest treat was to eat my milk-soaked straw after lunch at school!

bythelbs said...

I thought that was a ferret, too! I think it might even be less gross if it were actually a ferret.

Perla said...

there are not a lot of times that I am grateful to have lost all of my hair to alopecia 2 years ago. But this is a picture that makes me happy to not have a single hair on my head that might stray into my mouth and down into my intestines. Yuckkkkk. Ha. After I wrote that I just remembered not to every "yuck another's yum." Hopefully I didn't!

S'mee said...

o.k. wait a minute! Didn't you give a beaded bracelet away last year as a prize for one of your contests????

theabby said...

I keep dry heaving, and I want to poke out my mind's eye because it keeps recalling that dead animal/hairball carcass thing. thank you.

Jessica G. said...

How...HOW do you swallow a fork?
I have no interesting stories about things I have discovered post digestion. My life is so dull.
(And that first-grade teacher rocks!)

Nancy Sabina said...

Only the hair is really that gross to me. The airplane guy is weird - but it doesn't disgust me. I have three kids under 4 and we haven't had any "swallowing" problems yet - but I anxiously await it.

Beck said...

I used to be a Cub Scout Den Mother. We had a sticker chart to encourage the Wolves to wear their uniforms, bring their books, etc. The stickers that I used were an assortment of cheers like "A+, Super!, Good Work, Wonderful" yadda, yadda, yadda.

Well, one day while changing my 2 year-old's diaper a pretty blue sticker with the words "Nice Job!" on it stared at me from her mess. I laughed pretty good at that one! Of all the stickers that she could have swallowed...she chose the one that would best describe the result. What a gifted child I have!

melissa said...

those diaper stories are some of the best laughs I've had tonight!!

peetie said...

I realize that I'm out of place here, and that immediately above this is a big "PG-13" disclaimer, but the movie Jackass (which wasn't nearly as good as the TV show) ended with the stunt of inserting a matchbox car, umm, strategically, then entering a doctor's office complaining of pain since he passed out at a frat party. The prank wasn't that funny, really, but the X-Ray was amazing.

Maren Hansen said...

love this post--keep up the good work. i have found an assortment of things in the kids' diapers (the whole water balloon being my favorite), but i personally prefer seeing the things as they go in. for instance, how many people can claim to have watched their child taste-test over 16 varieties of bugs in just one courtyard-sitting? hmm, this must be why my kids are so healthy--lots of protein...

lynn said...

I don't think I'll look at the pics..we are in the midst of what our family refers to as. "poop-watch '08".. my grandson has swallowed what appears to be a beaded bracelet: 12 green-pea sized beads. We initially took him to ER thinking stomach bug b/c of vomiting and tummy pain. Multiple trips to local and Children's hosp, they send us back and forth b/c though he is having bms..no bracelet yet and still having pain and vomiting when having bm. Dr says surgery is LASY option due to placement..quite risky. Dr further says the risk outweighs the illness he is enduring now...so...we continue to watch, clean up, go to local ER, go to children's hsp, exray, test, iv fluids, and so on and so forth.. a repeating circle that has been going on about a week now. Online today to see if anyone else has experience with this one. How did you handle it? What, if anything did you give child to help go? BTW, the fork thing, too funny, that is initially what grandson told was in his tummy..of course we have dzns of exrays to prove the bracelet theory. (he's 2 and guess maybe felt some poking feeling or something?) Raised several children and this is a new one for me.

Seraphine said...

i like to eat my hair, stick it in my mouth. normally i don't swallow. but i've inhaled it accidentally. i gag when i do that.

Jenny said...

When I ws 17 I accidently swallowed a lollipop with the stick while having a laughing fit. But it came out a day later.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.