When she first felt the itch in her nose, she hoped it would just go away by itself. She really didn’t want to get tested and discover something she just didn’t want to know.
But as the doctor came back into the room, her heart sank to her stomach as she realized that leaving this for an entire month was not the right move at all.
Daniela Liverani was glad to be home. She’d had an amazing time backpacking in Cambodia and Vietnam, but the cool breeze of her home town of Edinburgh was a welcome respite from the hot jungle treks.
But the 24-year-old had brought something home from her travels that would have raised more than a few eyebrows at customs had they found it.
While in Cambodia, Daniela was involved in a nasty motorcycle crash. The backpacker was wearing a helmet, so she emerged relatively unscathed.
The owners of the car that Daniela and her travel companion hit were furious, but they exchanged details before heading to the hospital, thinking they could just work out who owed what after they’d been checked out.
The doctors patched Daniela up after the collision, but for weeks after, she was suffering regular nose bleeds, which she assumed were due to burst blood vessels in her nose.
And it didn’t help how itchy it had become. She did her best not to touch it, but the sneezing fits had made it impossible. Daniela was worried she was starting to get sick.
When she finally got home to her family, the awful memories of the collision just drifted away on the breeze.
But as Daniela waited for a friend at a cafe, she noticed people were staring. Daniela felt uncomfortable and clutched her bag to her chest. It was then that she realized her nose was bleeding again. She had to get out of there.
Daniela was afraid at this point. Her nose was now really itchy. She didn’t have a cough or other symptoms, but she was dreading what the doctor might tell her she’d brought home with her.
She needed to clear her head. A shower was always good for that. But that’s when she realized something was seriously wrong.
All Is Revealed
As the steam in the shower opened up her sinuses, she noticed the irritation became much worse. She pulled back the curtain and pushed her nose up to get a look inside.
Daniela threw on the first pair of jeans and t-shirt she could find and had a friend drive her to the emergency room.
Fearing The Worse
Daniela had feared the worse – permanent damage to her nasal passage from the motorcycle crash, or even some kind of deadly disease she hadn’t been immunized against before she went traveling.
But when the doctor informed her what was causing the constant itchiness and nose bleeds, what her vivid imagination had cooked up almost seemed preferable.
The doctor put something on the table he said she should take home with her. Daniela almost threw up, but was grateful for what the medics had done for her.
“The doctors did a great job! Hats off to them, because obviously they don’t see something like that every day”, Daniela told BBC Radio Scotland.
The doctors had used forceps and tweezers to remove a three-inch leech from Daniela’s nose, something she had unknowingly picked up in the jungle.
She named the stowaway beast “Mr Curly”, which took doctors half an hour to completely remove. “It was as long as my forefinger and as fat as my thumb,” remarked the unfortunate traveler.
“Your initial reaction isn’t to start thinking, ‘Oh God, there’s obviously a leech in my face,’” noted the traumatized young woman, but she would soon have her revenge.
Because while the leech had been successfully removed from Daniela’s nose by the doctors, the creepy-crawly was still very much alive. But Daniela would soon see to that.
“He’s in an Edinburgh City Council trash can,” said Daniela. “He’s probably long gone by now. I boiled him first.”
It can be daunting to get something that’s worrying you checked out by a doctor, but if you take anything away from this story, it should be that you want to avoid month-long uninvited guests in your nose at all costs. Don’t wait, get it looked at!