Wiggly

INSIDE THE ISOLATION ROOM, my three-year old patient is struggling for freedom. A machine helps him breathe normally. His hands and feet are restrained by torn pieces of yellow cloth attached to the bed. If left alone, he'd take the endotracheal tube where the oxygen is passed to his lungs. We're observing him closely.

His grandmother, who's ordinarily calm, yells, "Dok! May lumalabas sa ilong niya!"

I tell her to stand aside. "Saan po?"

"Sa ilong!"

"Baka polyp lang po 'yan." I look at the nostril.

"Gumagalaw po! Tatlo na pong ganyan ang lumabas sa ilong at bibig niya kanina."

And I see it—a shiny, almost corrugated, white strand of a worm, the size of a noodle, stuggling to get out and see the sunshine.

The first thing that comes to mind: pasta carbonara.

5 thoughts on “Wiggly”

  1. As gross as this story is, I must know more! Where did the worms come from? Why were they coming out of his nose and mouth? What moral can this cautionary tale give today's grubby (no pun intended) children?

  2. We think the child has a parasitic disease called ascariasis. At risk are those who practice poor hygiene. The parasites penetrate the body's barriers, multiply inside, and migrate to various parts of the body as they grow. The moral? Cleanliness can do wonders.

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