Did you know that toilet paper production reaches nearly 84 million rolls per day?
If you would have told me I had a one in 84 million chances at winning the lottery, I’d laugh and keep my dollar. There must be a lucky winner eventually though, right? I mean, someone must be picked.
What if that person was you?
I have been using toilet paper like every other person ever since I was potty-trained. It is honestly second nature to use the disposable cloth to wipe myself.
However, every time I use it now, I’ll always have that thought in the back of my mind, what if it happens again.
Then I laugh and shake my head at such crazy thoughts. It happened only once, there’s no way it will happen again. It was crazy enough that it happened at all!
Let me explain.
I always buy the same brand of toilet paper. (Note: I legally can’t disclose which brand.) I had never had problems with this brand before, so I was shocked when my bottom got red, swollen, and itchy after the first use.
I flushed the remnants of my waste and grabbed some aloe to rub on my bum, but it didn’t help. The feeling began to spread, and I eventually started to feel hard lumps forming under the skin on my rear end.
I chalked the symptoms up to hemorrhoids.
I tried the usual remedies: diaper rash cream and sitz baths, but nothing gave me relief.
Soon, I was going to the bathroom up to six times a day.
When my friends started complaining about their swollen, itchy bums after using the bathroom at my house, I knew that it wasn’t just my issue any longer.
We all sat around and brainstormed about what could be happening, and we finally concluded that the company must have changed what type of chemicals they used. We had to just be allergic to this brand. It didn’t make sense to me, but I laughed it off anyway.
About a month later, I was standing in the bathroom doing my makeup when I had a sudden itch fill the inside of my nose.
It wouldn’t let up, I couldn’t take it anymore, it felt like something was crawling around in my nose. I grabbed a tissue and tried to blow my nose, and what came out nearly sent me to my knees in a panic. A small, black fly sat in the tissue, then proceeded to fly around the room.
I started to gag as revulsion set in. How in the world did a fly get in my nose?
I have heard the occasional story of a bug getting stuck in someone’s tampon, but I didn’t realize those things could really happen to people. I thought those were just horror stories you read online.
I tried to forget about it and continued getting ready for the day.
By the time night rolled around, this incredibly itchy feeling swarmed up and down every inch of my body. I had red marks all over my body from the incessant scratching. It felt like ants were running around my eyeballs, like caterpillars were running up and down my legs, and like a flock of birds were tickling my bum with the tips of their feathers.
My scalp itched like crickets were jumping to and from each strand of hair, and don’t get me started on the inside of my mouth. My inner cheeks felt like minnows were swimming through my veins.
I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night, but the next morning is when the horrors started to unravel.
It started in the crease of my groin.
As I said before, I had those hard lumps on my bottom region after using the toilet paper, but they had spread. Now they were all over every inch of that area. These lumps looked different today though, something black was sticking out of it. I continued to itch this spot and within seconds, the black thing came all the way out; another fly.
I couldn’t believe my own two eyes at this point. I felt myself holding back stomach bile as I tried to swat the buzzing insect. After a few hard swats with my palm, I got the little bastard.
I ran to the bathroom to wash my hand, and what happened next is almost a blur to remember. I’ll try to tell you as much as I can remember before I passed out.
I had turned the faucet on to wash the bug guts off my hand when I felt my cheek get this intense itch. I casually ran my fingers across my cheek to satisfy the itch when I felt a bump.
I turned the running water off and put my face up to the mirror. I could see the lump moving up my cheek. It looked like it was headed for my eye. I started to panic and scratch at the bump, but it kept moving up higher in my face until my eyeball started to itch. It only took a few seconds for the fly to peel its way out of the flap of my eyelid.
The fly sat on my nose and spread its wings as it dried itself out in preparation to fly.
My palm was twitching, but without a second thought, I flattened the bug on my nose. Black and grey guts splattered onto my cheeks and the smell of rot filled my nose.
I could feel the lumps down below splitting open, proceeded by little-winged bugs running up and down my legs, flapping their wings against my skin. Some of them got stuck in the fabric of my shorts and bounced around between skin and fabric.
My heart was racing, my hands were sweating, and I started to scream a song that I’m sure the neighbors could hear. That’s when the flies started to come out of my mouth, one by one the insides of my cheeks ripped open as the burrowed insects made their escape.
I must have passed out at this point and thank goodness, because I don’t want to remember what happened after that.
When I arrived at the hospital (somehow an ambulance showed up, again, my neighbors probably heard me screaming) I saw one of my friends who had been to my house. She had long red gashes across her body as she laid on the bed. I gave her a pitied look and proceeded on to my room.
You won’t believe what the doctors concluded as to how this happened to me.
The doctor said it was botflies.
Apparently, this was traced all the way back to the farm that the cotton was produced on. Botflies usually lay their larvae in a host, but they think that one of the flies got trapped in a bundle of cotton. With nowhere else to lay the larvae, the fly deposited them into the cotton. The cotton was then manufactured into toilet paper, and lucky me, I just so happened to buy the pack that had the larvae deposits. (Well, they think I’m the only one…there could be more cases reported in the coming weeks.)
When I wiped with the toilet paper, it gave the larvae an opportunity to enter my body. The larvae traveled throughout, looking for different spots to latch on until they were ready to leave.
They said they had never seen anything like this before, I was the first case. Of course, I got the typical antibiotics to make sure I didn’t catch anything from the invaders.
As of today, I’m physically fine. There was no permanent damage done to my body, and the holes seem to be healing just fine. However, I can’t quite say I’m fine mentally. I don’t think you ever completely recover from something like that. I will always be afraid of flies, and I will always wonder if a mosquito bite or a pimple is a botfly waiting to hatch.
I hope this never happens to anyone else, but hope isn’t full proof. You read these stories online and think, that poor girl.
Then one day, you’re looking in the mirror, and it’s happening to you.