Germs And Worms

One leads to the other and for the past four or so years, I've been convinced that I have the latter. I told the following story on my Livejournal many moons ago and due to a recent influx in requests to retell it by my co-workers, I'm also going to retell it here.

Back in 2009, when I worked as a veterinary assistant/receptionist at a practice in Greenwich Village, I was told an interesting story by a patient of ours (or client I guess, since the patients are the animals and none of her pets were feeling especially anecdotal). She had come in for one of her cats' annual exams and I couldn't help but notice that she had lost about 30 pounds since I had last seen her. This was when I was at my heaviest, so of course, I had to know what her secret was. Here's where it gets creepy...

She had gotten extremely ill a couple of month earlier and it got to the point where she had to go to the emergency room because she couldn't stop vomiting. After a battery of tests at the hospital, the doctors decided that it would be best if they removed her gallbladder. Being very apprehensive about surgery (as most people should be) and big into holistic medicine (as most people should only somewhat be), she decided
All intestinal parasites look like
mini Beetlejuice sandworms, right?
to check into a cleansing facility and heal herself by removing whatever toxins were causing her to be ill. This facility started off the cleanse with a couple days of fasting. On her second or third day there, she went into the bathroom to do her business and when she got up, she discovered a long, white WORM in the toilet. Upon further investigation and explanation from the staff of the cleansing facility, she discovered that she pooped out a tapeworm and that it was quite a common event in that facility (can you imagine working in a place were tapeworms were the rule and not the exception?). According to them, when you don't eat anything, tapeworms often migrate down the digestive tract (closer to the colon) looking for food and will actually end up being passed with waste in search of said food. Horrified, she decided to go see a well-respected parasitologist stationed in New York City.

Upon further testing, it was determined that she had two different types of parasites in her body: one was the tapeworm which she had acquired on a recent vacation to Bora Bora and the other had been living in her body for 16 years. 16 FLIPPING YEARS. The worms were in her lungs and all throughout her body. They were causing her to be tired all of the time and, despite being an active person, hold onto 30+ pounds. They were also what was causing her to constantly vomit. She was given medication and once she finished her course and eliminated the worms from her system, she lost all of the weight in the blink of an eye. After her experience she referred three friends to the parasitologist to get tested (these friends weren't even showing any symptoms); two of them tested positive for different types of worms/parasites.

She then decided to pass some of the doctor's insight onto me and, along with the story she had already told me, scare me into a wormy panic for the rest of my natural-born life. The parasitologist estimated that over 60% of the population is hosting parasites and don't even know it. Think of all the things you touch without washing your hands, all of the food you buy from a questionable source, everything single thing you do! And there I was, having worked as a vet assistant for the past six or so months, where I rubbed puppies and kittens all over my face only to have their stool tests come back the following day positive for disgusting shit like giardia and coccidia. I was convinced that I was infected with a plethora of worms and parasites. I could actually feel them crawling around in my intestines at the very moment she finished telling me the story.

Around this time, I went on my first date with Sam. Much to his dismay, I'm sure, I gushed about how I was convinced my bowels were infested with worms over our sushi dinner (I have absolutely no internal filter). I guess he digs girls who are good hostesses (get it?!) because this coming Saturday, we've been together for a whole year. What is wrong with him?

Anyway, a couple of weeks later and after hours of online research, I ended up buying some strange black walnut and wormwood tincture that tasted like fresh butts and cement. It was rumored to be a natural dewormer and after I started taking it, every bowel movement was a terrifying gamble with fate. Was this the time I would look into the toilet and see a giant worm? Lucky for me (or unlucky for me) it never happened. At least if I would have seen a definitive worm, I would know that I didn't have them anymore. There were only two options: either I never had worms (less than a 40% chance of that!) or the tincture was ineffective. I guess the only way to know for sure is to hit up the parasitologist and explain my paranoid wormy thoughts to him. One day.


  1. I can't even explain how creeped out I am right now. I am effectively convinced that I'm harboring some secret worm cling-on inside my intestines. Thanks. D:

  2. I'm sorry! I just had to share the story though. I think I have them too, if it makes you feel any better.

  3. It's okay. At least I have something blame being fat on now though. "Oh, this pudge? No, it's cool. I have worms."

    ... That should work, right? :P


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