It can be difficult to invest in our own health. While we might tell our loved ones to head to the doctor for symptoms no worse than a head cold, we will often ignore our own internal issues, pushing through indeterminable pains for far too long.
Closing his eyes to a chronic discomfort is exactly what one east coast man had been doing for years before he finally had enough. As his medical condition became too severe to just brush off any longer, he caved and finally saw a doctor. That’s when the unfathomable truth behind his troubles finally came to light.
Raymond Thompson suffered from a medical condition not uncommon among older folk. However, in the case of this 62-year-old Maryland resident, nothing about his condition was common at all.
For 20 years, he fought the overpowering urge to urinate. “When I have to go to the bathroom at night,” he said, “I have to run.” In the dead of night, he had to be an Olympic sprinter—this wasn’t something he could battle with over-the-counter meds.
Finally, in 2013, Raymond went to the doctor’s office, where medical professionals performed specialized tests collecting samples of his blood and urine. What did they find?
Nothing. The samples showed that Raymond was a seemingly healthy, 62-year-old man—a frustrating revelation. Would he have to spend his days and nights in a porta potty? Well, not if his own hypothesis was true.
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“Something’s in there,” Raymond told the doctors holding his all-clear paperwork. So medical professionals conducted an ultrasound to finally get to the bottom of things…
What doctors found floored them. Hidden within the meat of his abdomen pressing on his bladder was a giant peritoneal loose body, below. Um, a what?
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“It looked like an egg” when doctors removed it, Raymond said. But then, he revised his description. “It looked like a shiny pearl. Big.” It was, he knew, the source of his 20-year-long problem.
How did the giant peritoneal loose body get into his abdomen in the first place? And what can others do to ensure they’re never carrying one of those not-so-bejeweled egg-shaped masses around themselves? Doctors explained…
Dr. Rachael Sussman, front and center, at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, said the mass started forming when a piece of fat inside Raymond’s body broke away.
“When [the fat] falls away from its attachments and its blood supply,” Dr. Sussman said, “it can turn to calcium. And over time, the mass can grow and grow and grow. Kind of like a pearl in an oyster.”
Believe it or not, the masses themselves aren’t unheard of, but case reports in the U.S. National Library of Medicine suggest that they’re rare. Raymond’s stomach egg, according to Dr. Sussman, was unusual.
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“It’s unusual,” Dr. Sussman said, “because it’s the largest one ever reported in the literature.” Indeed at four inches long and nearly half a pound, Raymond carried around a seriously huge calcium mass about the size of a potato.
To put that into perspective, your average, run-of-the-mill peritoneal loose body might only grow to be 1-5 centimeters—the size of a pea or tiny diamond. Clearly, Raymond’s was a beast of a specimen.
With the mass diagnosed and pinpointed, Raymond sought surgery to have the thing removed. He had one simple request for whoever would be wielding the scalpel.
“I said, ‘well, when you take it out, I want to keep it,'” Raymond said. “‘It’s my property.'” Those were terms doctors could agree to, and Dr. Sussman herself put Raymond under the knife.
“I basically just scooped out the mass and removed it,” she said, eloquently. Once done with the surgery, doctors cut the mass into little disks and dyed it green for contrast to help them identify any abnormalities, left. To Raymond, it looked like an avocado.
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Dr. Sussman wrote about Raymond’s egg-shaped mass for The New England Journal of Medicine, and later surmised he might’ve been carrying the mass for much longer than 20 years! So how did he feel after its removal?
Without the mass, a half-pound-lighter Raymond confessed he still has to take late-night trips to the bathroom. But now, he said with a smile, “I have to walk fast, but I don’t have to run.” Reporters asked one last question for Raymond…
They asked him how it felt to produce a record-breaking mass and making medical history. He said with a smile, “I expected it. I’m a special person.” A special person who doesn’t have to pee quite so much anymore, bonus points!
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The human body, although an amazingly complex and powerful scientific specimen in its own right, can produce some pretty unsightly waste products from time to time. And mucus is certainly one of them.
Even though mucus is an everyday byproduct of a perfectly functioning respiratory system that all healthy human beings on the planet should have, that doesn’t make it any less disgusting to us. Mucus is just gross.
David Goehring / Flickr
To be quite frank, the same could be said about a number of other perfectly normal bodily functions. Yet in some of the most extreme cases, it’s easy to set all of that scientific knowledge aside and think, “How on Earth did that happen?”
Shane Adams / Wikimedia Commons
One man had this kind of experience one day after he complained of a clogged nostril. The feeling was so unbearable that he visited the doctor. But once the doctor looked inside to see what the problem was, he was immediately taken aback. This was no ordinary ball of snot!
The doctor was absolutely stunned. Usually, when a problem this serious arises, there is some sort of history of a similar issue with the patient. However, this was pretty much the nasal obstruction from hell.
Because the blockage was restricting airflow, the doctor needed to act fast. He used a clamp in order to help open up the nostril so he could get a better look. This massive mucus needed to be removed immediately.
Most of the time, even the stuffiest of noses is simply a common symptom of significant congestion. It’s uncomfortable, of course, but it’s usually not a sign of a truly threatening medical condition.
William Brawley / Flickr
Most of the time, this kind of congestion can be cleared up with some simple over-the-counter cold medicine. So while a stuffy nose shouldn’t be ignored, you usually don’t need to see a doctor… usually.
MarkBuckawicki / Wikimedia Commons
That said, there are definitely some extreme cases of congestion, and most of the time, it’s caused by something far more unusual than the common cold. This woman, for example, had a bug in her nose!
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But as for this poor man, it was going to be a slow and meticulous process for the doctor to fully remove the blockage, whatever was causing it. Unfortunately, it was the only way to ensure that it would be taken care of once and for all.
The doctor had to access the inside of the man’s nostril without causing any damage to the surrounding tissue. The worst part? All that hard work wasn’t going to result in anything pretty, that was for sure!
After a few minutes of prodding around, the doctor was able to grab hold of the offending obstruction that was causing the man’s severe nasal blockage. He needed to ease it out slowly so he could extract the entire thing; he didn’t want to leave anything behind.
We’ll save the real gory stuff for the video. As it turned out, the blockage was caused by nothing more than a booger… but it was quite an enormous one! Still, losing it was a huge relief to the man. “And you wondered why I was uncomfortable,” he said, smiling…
As you might imagine, the intense procedure took a lot out of the patient. Anyone who goes through something like that, especially while not under anesthesia, is going to need time to recover. “My eyes are watering,” the man said.
It’s difficult to overstate how humongous, not to mention disgusting, this booger really was. If you think it was gross to look at, just imagine how it must have felt to have something like it in your own nose!
Don’t believe this man’s booger could be so bad? Just watch as the doctor yanked it out from his nose. This definitely isn’t for the squeamish, but you’re going to want to stick it out all the way until the end…
(Warning: Some viewers might find this video disturbing.)