The Uninvited Guest Living in a Woman’s Nostril
In 2014, Daniela Liverani, a 24-year-old woman from Edinburgh, experienced a bizarre and unsettling incident that would leave anyone questioning their sense of well-being. What started as seemingly innocent nosebleeds escalated into a medical mystery, unveiling an uninvited guest that had taken residence in her nostril – a three-inch leech she affectionately named “Mr. Curly.”
Liverani initially attributed the nosebleeds to a burst blood vessel caused by a recent motorcycle accident in Vietnam. However, her assumption took a spine-chilling turn when, during a routine shower, she felt a peculiar movement in her nose. Upon closer inspection in the mirror, she was horrified to discover something protruding from her nostril.
Rushing to the hospital, Liverani was met with astonishment from medical professionals who swiftly identified and removed the unexpected tenant. The leech had been residing in her nasal passages for approximately a month, causing her persistent discomfort and unexplained nosebleeds.
Liverani recounted her shocking experience on BBC Radio Scotland, revealing that she initially believed the intruder was a mere blood clot resulting from the motorcycle incident. Her attempts to extract the foreign object proved futile until she noticed peculiar movements during her showers. The warmth and steam caused the leech to emerge, its ridges becoming visible – a far cry from a typical blood clot.
Describing the surreal moment, Liverani said, “On Thursday, I jumped out of the shower and I unsteamed the mirror and I had a proper good look, and I could see little ridges on him.” Realizing the severity of the situation, she promptly sought medical attention, where a doctor skillfully removed the leech using a pair of tweezers.
Liverani’s unsettling encounter didn’t end there. In an effort to dispose of the international stowaway, she boiled Mr. Curly and discarded him in the trash. The entire episode left both the patient and medical staff simultaneously horrified and intrigued.
Mark Siddal, a leech expert and curator at the American Museum of Natural History, shed light on the potential origins of the leech, suggesting that it could have been acquired during water-related activities in Vietnam. Leeches of this type do not grow rapidly, and Siddal proposed that the creature might have entered Liverani’s nose through water exposure or even ingestion.
This bizarre incident evokes memories of a similar discovery in Peruvian rivers, where a new leech species, Tyrannobdella rex, with ferociously large teeth was found in the noses of children. The case serves as a reminder of the unexpected encounters one might face while exploring unfamiliar environments, prompting a closer examination of our surroundings, both on land and in the water.