Thanks to my sanitized little buddy, I can use the royal we without feeling pretentious...
Takes all kinds to fill a freeway
I've read a bit about this in the past and it's super interesting.
Because the headline is a question, I'll answer. My own experience comes down hard on: NOT FUCKING ME, but I'm selfish with my digestive tract these days. My own time hosting an intestinal parasite was many months of nausea, vomiting, heartburn, pain and general TMI unpleasantness.
I wish now that I had written down what I was hosting, but at that time (about 18 years ago) I just wanted to feel better. I was desperate and just wanted to enjoy eating again, and not worry about the aftermath. And, after two weeks of heavy duty antibiotics that made everything taste of metal, I did feel better. And, those particular problems never did come back. Thanks, modern medicine!
I have no need currently of a hookworm, but I would definitely get a fecal transplant if I ever had a recurrence of Clostridium dificile. That bug knocked me on my ass out of work for 10 days, required one trip to the ER for fluids, and left me unable to eat much beyond bland foods for 2 months after that. Cut that recovery time to 24-48 hours with just one shitty enema? You betcha!
We always use it since we are 9/10ths non-human bacterial cells in any case.
The symptoms sound like they could have been giardiasis. After trekking in Nepal and eating with locals, I managed to get giardia. (Intellectually, I knew better than to eat uncooked vegetables, but I was a guest and someone offered to share their food; I found it impossible to refuse.)
In any case, I had a single 1000mg dose of Tinadazole which cleared it right up, but I did feel like I had a block of burnt aluminum in my mouth for a few days. Restoring GI flora and fauna to the point where I could eat again involved a lot of yogurt, which fortunately is plentiful on the subcontinent.
I agree -- big ups for modern medicine! It allowed me to be somewhat stupid, and not pay the true consequences. (later, on the same trip, I picked up an amoebic dysentery due to a faulty water filter while in the deserts of India. If my traveling companion had not had a stash of "just in case" ciprofloxacin with her, I probably would have died.)
Man, I remember reading that story on Kuro5hin 1 back then. Internet nostalgia moment! I've always wondered what had become of this avenue of research. Thanks for the update Maggie!
I wish I knew what it was. It did freak me out that the doctor needed a few days to research the specific parasite, because it was unfamiliar to him. (I admit that I panicked a little when he said that.) He was in California, but I picked it up in Central America, so he probably wasn't used to seeing that kind of thing. When I lived there, I was used to drinking the water, eating whatever fruit and veg I wanted, but then our little sea-level town flooded. I was tip-top until then, so I'm guessing it was the mixing of the wells and the septic tanks, but I can't be sure.
I heard the hookworm story on Radiolab - amazing!
Yes, by cell count as you said. But remember that eukaryotic cells are typically 10x larger diameter (1000x larger volume), so that mans I am 99% human by weight (still surprising to most folks, definitely).
We are a democratic (and somewhat socialist) monarchy. One cell, one vote.
"...infect himself with hookworm by walking barefoot in a steaming mound of human excrement."
Christ, don't we have anything better to do, anymore?
Do it God Dammit!
But Ancylostoma duodenale is impossible to remember, so it might be better to refer to him as Captain Higgins. Wait, that name's already taken, different parasitic worm. Hmmm.
Generally I do not pick up hitchhikers.
We are the 99%!
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