I’m not a real doctor,
But I am a real worm

I’ll admit I’m fairly suggestible when it comes to other people’s illnesses. If someone has a cold, I start to sniffle. If someone suffers from gout, my foot throbs. If someone has erectile dysfunction, I have phantom penis pain. If someone has a worm in her brain . . . (passes out)

Yeah, you heard me. Some poor lady went in for tests after experiencing numbness and blurred vision. What did her MRI reveal? To quote the neurosurgeon: “something not good.” Why does a neurosurgeon speak like Daisy the Curly Cat? Never mind. The doctor, expecting to find a tumor, supposedly “chuckled” after the surgery. WHY??? Because he found a worm, not a tumor. This doctor laughed at a brain worm because he was “so pleased to know that it wasn’t going to be something terrible.” So, according to our medical community, a brain tumor is terrible (agreed), but a brain worm is hilarious.

Not to me, it isn’t. Here’s the way I see it:

Scenario 1

You have a brain tumor. That’s very bad news, no getting around it. You’re devastated, but you seek medical help. You have an experienced doctor, a great support system, an optimistic attitude. Maybe you do some online research to learn more about your condition. You undergo chemotherapy, surgery, other treatments, and with luck and time and possibly prayer, you make a full recovery.

Scenario 2

You have a worm in your brain. You stick a barbecue skewer in your ear to get it out. You die. Who’s laughing now?

Because wouldn’t you just immediately HAVE to stick something in your ear if you thought there was a worm in there? Ask ANYone what they’d do in this situation, and I bet you, nine out of ten people will answer “Stick (random long, sharp object) into my ear.” You wouldn’t calmly go to a doctor, sit in a waiting room, leaf through People magazine, wait for MRI results, all the time knowing that a worm was inching around your brain. You’d HAVE to get that worm out NOW.

Obviously this woman didn’t know she had a worm in her brain. And, lucky for her, it was removed, and she’ll be fine. Wait. No. FINE? How can you ever be fine after that? How do you live with a brain that had a worm in it?

How to Tell If You Have a Worm in Your Brain

Numbness, blurred vision, seizures, even headaches are all signs that you may have a worm in your brain. I would add to this list the distinct sensation of a WORM crawling through your BRAIN! I had a headache last week, so I’ll be sharpening my barbecue skewer.

Hold on! Do me a favor: Ask your friends what they’d do if they had a worm in their brain. Report back to me. I’d be interested in knowing if there are better tools than a barbecue skewer.

(Disclaimer: JD in no way means to imply that a brain worm is somehow worse than a brain tumor. But it’s NOT funny, either!)

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46 Responses to “I (Probably) Have a Worm in My Brain”

  1. 1 The Incredible Woody

    Knitting needle. Up the nose.

    The Incredible Woody’s last blog post..Family Drama

  2. 2 Lena

    I’d use one of those tiny hooks you use to fix your knitting when you screw up. That way you can hook the bugger and pull it out. Ewwwww….. And I second the nose idea, Woody.

  3. 3 Tiggy

    If a worm can survive in your brain, what else could live in there? Caterpillars? Spiders? I’m sure a bee flew into mey ear when I was a child and never came out.

    Tiggy’s last blog post..Is That Supposed To Be Raw? Mysterious Restaurant Meals

  4. 4 Babs - beetle

    Spacky dance all around the house, arms waving frantically – a WORM? in me?!!!!!

    Babs – beetle’s last blog post..A House in North London – Part 2

  5. 5 Daisy the Curly Cat

    Did you know that for a while I was studying to become a doctor? I have my very own Milton-Bradley home study course. It is called “Operation.” It was a little bit hard, so I have put my medical studies on hold. For now. Until I can figure out how to remove the Spare Ribs.

    Once, at the shelter, a cat went poop and a 3-foot long tapeworm came out. Maybe it originated in the brain? I don’t like werms very much. Or maybe tapeworms start in the ‘testines, then go to the brain?

    Daisy the Curly Cat’s last blog post..Monday Mystery: Another Riddle!

  6. 6 absepa

    Well, I would just have to kill myself. It just stands to reason that, if there was one worm in that lady’s body, there may be more. And the possibility that I may have multiple worms in my body would not be something I could live with.

    As a side note: don’t you think this is the best argument for washing your hands, ever? The next time I see a certain co-worker leaving the restroom without washing, I’m so going to email her this article. She won’t wash her hands for basic cleanliness, but maybe the brain worm will convince her. (EWWWW!!!)

    absepa’s last blog post..A Paradigm Shift in Household Chores

  7. 7 Val@ 0800Numbers


    Never heard of such a thing before, worms in the stomach yes, but not in the brain.

    Did she actually have to go through brain surgery to get it out and I wonder what route it must have taken to get there in the first place!!!

  8. 8 Lola

    This reminds me of that Grey’s Anatomy episode with the “Penis Fish”. The candiru (penis fish) episode was in Season 4, Episode 21. (How do I know this, because I googled it, and because I’m catching up on episodes because I didn’t watch the show as it aired.) Somehow I think a carnivorous fish stuck in a man’s unmentionables is considerably more gross than a brain worm.

    Well first off, I’d want to know how the heck that worm got in my brain.

    Did it crawl in my ear while I was sleeping?

    Did it crawl up my nose while I was sleeping?

    Maybe while I was reading? Perhaps it was a bookworm?

    Did I swallow the worm in that tequila last night and it crawled right up into my brain? If that’s where it came from, maybe I can just flush it out with more tequila?

    I don’t know about you, but I’m voting for MORE TEQUILA!


    Lola’s last blog post..Freakin’ Out about Thanksgiving?

  9. 9 feefifoto

    Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase: “I have something on my mind”, doesn’t it?

    feefifoto’s last blog post..Hey, I Got An Award!

  10. 10 Trade Show Guru

    If you want to get a brain worm out of your head, stick your head in the toilet and keep it there…

    Have you ever noticed that after a heavy rain, earthworms come out of the ground and can be found crawling around?
    ~ Steve, the incredibly intelligent, medically-certified trade show guru

    Trade Show Guru’s last blog post..Five Keys to Marketing Success

  11. 11 Natural

    Calling friend: Can I ask you a question. If you had a worm in your brain, what would you do? “Probably throw up.” Okay thank you.

    Now my question is the same as when I was told there was a baby in my womb: HOW THE H*** DID IT GET IN THERE!

    How do you get a worm in your brain? By falling on the pavement after a hard rain? “I have phantom penis pain.” TOO FUNNY! Hey JD you scared me for a second, stay away from sharp objects okay. That’s actually kind of nasty, (the worm that is) grossed me out.

    Natural’s last blog post..Being Human In the Age of the Electronic Mob

  12. 12 unfinishedrambler

    I’d put a(n extra long with a razor on the end) Q-tip in my ear, because I agree with this guy that Q-tips are the greatest invention of all time. How about that? Plugging another site other than my own in the comments, pretty cool, huh? It’s not all about me. In fact, sometimes it’s about you too and when that times comes, I’ll let you know. :)

    unfinishedrambler’s last blog post..Meandering Monday #8: Everything from winning a castle to being spanked again by Leigh

  13. 13 Jaffer

    A worm in the bwain ?! That explains a lot ! May be that’s why I never really growed up !

    I’m scairt now !

    - Daisy fan

    Jaffer’s last blog post..5 point 1 Me

  14. 14 Jay

    Not funny!! (Hahahahahahahahaha!!) Nope. Not funny!!

    Worms in the brain are usually in the form of a hydatid cyst. These can form when people ingest the eggs of a hydatid-forming tapeworm NOT designed to be living in people – the most likely one here in the UK is echinococcus granulosa, whose normal host is the sheep, and whose intermediate host is the sheepdog. If you walk your dog in sheep country, or if you give your dog raw sheep’s offal to eat, you must regularly worm them with the correct tapeworm killer to make sure they aren’t shedding eggs which you might accidentally swallow.

    There. That’s the way to avoid brain worms. Aren’t you glad I told you? :D

    Feel better now?

    Or worse.


    BTW – I think I have a brain worm….

    Jay’s last blog post..Let’s call a spade a spade

  15. 15 JD

    The Incredible Woody: A HA! I had not considered the nasal entry. Interesting.

    Lena: Another nasal-entry fan. And, yes: a hook would come in very handy, but are those crochet hooks (knitting hooks?) long enough? You’d really have to be able to reach w-a-a-a-a-y in. I’m thinking.

    Tiggy: There’s no reason not to suspect all manner of bugs and possibly even woodland creatures of taking up residence in your brain. That bee might be responsible for a LOT of things, if you think about it.

    Babs – beetle: Your spacky dance—however entertaining—will NOT dislodge the worm, no matter how frantically you wave your arms.

    Daisy the Curly Cat: I think you need to brush up a little on your medical studies so you can come back and explain tapeworms to everybody. And I’ve seen you practicing your “Operation” course. It did look very hard!

    absepa: EWWWWW! I hadn’t even THOUGHT about multiple worms, but you’re absolutely RIGHT! Why wouldn’t there be more than one? I hope everyone who neglects to wash their hands does find out about this. It’s gross enough that they don’t care about getting sick but, yeah. A brain worm is pretty good motivation.

    Val@ 0800Numbers: Errggh. Yes, I believe the worms make their way up the stomach and into the brain. Rare, but it happens. As I understand it, yes, she did have brain surgery, they found it (laughed), and removed it.

    Lola: I knew I could count on my readers to match my gross-out story with even worse items, like the PENIS FISH! That makes me want to start watching Grey’s Anatomy. I admire your scholarly approach to the worm dilemma. I don’t know if I’d have the patience to ask all those questions. But I think you’re on the right track with tequila.

    feefifoto: HAR! Yes, indeed it does. I would say, “I need to get something off my mind” and then proceed with the barbecue skewer.

    Trade Show Guru: So by your logic, the brain worm would sense the toilet water (like rain water) and come out? Well, that makes perfect sense to me. And it does seem somewhat safer than sticking a barbecue skewer in my ear. I wonder how long you have to wait . . .

    Natural: I’m sorry I grossed you out, but this IS a very important safety topic that needs to be discussed. Never mind how that worm got in there: It’s THERE! Now, throwing up may make you feel better, but I doubt it’s going to expel the worm.

    unfinishedrambler: Woo! When will it be about me? When? WHEN? No, seriously, that was very cool of you. I like OK Crazy, and that picture of the Q-Tip is way cute. As for a Q-Tip with a razor? Now you’re talking!

    Jaffer: Hee! Hey, Daisy fan! I bet reading Daisy regularly keeps the worms away. I just have a feeling.

    Jay: I DO feel better! And I suspect many of the above commenters do, too—at least those who may not be likely to be dealing with raw sheep’s offal (urg). I thank you. (Are you sure it wasn’t the tiniest bit funny?)

  16. 16 mlm

    Would you believe this is the SECOND time today I’ve read about worms entering people’s bodies? How freaky! (The first time was in a David Sedaris book about a guinea worm in his boyfriend’s leg!) Aaargh!

  17. 17 Maureen

    Ew, Ew, Ew!!!!!!

    When I saw that video, I just freaked out.

    Then I tried to forget about it… pushed it to the back of my mind (har!)

    And then I come here. And read this.

    And can’t stop thinking about brain worms again.


    Maureen’s last blog post..Ma Tom Ith Nom

  18. 18 Puglette

    I just want to know if said earworm was singing Black Betty when it was removed.
    Bam A Lam

    Puglette’s last blog post..Made with Love

  19. 19 Kathy

    “Something not good.” That’s as Daisyesque as it gets. Or how ’bout “It’s a little bit bad.” That doctor is a laugh riot.

    I have nothing to offer in the way of worm therapy. All I’m going to say is I just had dinner, read this post, and now I want to vomit. Especially after Jay’s really specific information.

    I do have one question, though. Do I win a prize or something for watching that whole video? They show the worm coming out of her brain, you know.

    Kathy’s last blog post..Hello, 10,000!

  20. 20 The Hawg!

    I think my 12-year-old son might have a worm in his brain. All that whining, erratic behavior and general insanity is likely caused by a worm, don’t you think?

    A worm. Explains everything.

    The Hawg!’s last blog post..King of the stump and dad wrote a book

  21. 21 Regan

    Huh. Now I’m going to have to think of something sharper to jab into the brain to remove a worm. Ugh, now I just know in the middle of the night I’m going to wake up screaming that I have a worm in my brain.

    Why not use a sharp needle?

  22. 22 JD

    mlm: ACK! I remember that essay! That was horrifying. And wasn’t his boyfriend really calm about it? I would be digging into my leg with a Swiss Army knife. If necessary, I would chop off my leg to keep the worm from getting to my brain.

    Maureen: The moral of this story is: you simply can’t escape from brain worms. And that’s a good thing! You’ll be more vigilant about any strange sensations in your brain.

    Puglette: HA! Now that I would like to see. And hear. Bam-a-WORM!

    Kathy: Yeah, I’m surprised the doctor didn’t say that the worm was “jumping all around” or something. No prizes for watching the video, other than the knowledge that you must have a cast-iron stomach. Which makes it harder for worms to move around.

    The Hawg! I DO think so. I think a LOT of people—parents in particular—are going to be very grateful to this woman for bringing brain worms into the public eye. Ew, not like that!

    Regan: A knitting needle? I’m thinking it has to be long. I certainly hope you don’t wake up screaming. Your parents need their sleep!

  23. 23 Tim

    You can’t make me watch any videos!
    But! Think of the upside here. Now I can say to my kids, “You had better wash your hands, little ones. Remember how I told you about that lady JD who wrote about brain worms? Clean hands mean clean brains!”
    We have to get our dogs inoculated for (shudder!!) heartworms. I think that is even worse than brainworms. Apparently without the treatment our pets are at risk of horrid worms eating their heart out…

    Tim’s last blog post..Spam-a-Lam-a-Ding-Dong – Spametry Lives On

  24. 24 Stephanie Barr

    What do they say? “Drill, baby, drill.”

    You know, things like brain worms are one of those things I’d want a second opinion about. I hope you don’t actually have one.

    But, if you do, THANK YOU, for having one so I don’t have to. Or better yet, THANK YOU for thinking you have one so I don’t have to.

    I’ll stick with “brain cloud”

    Stephanie Barr’s last blog post..It Touched Me

  25. 25 chat blanc

    oh. my. gawd. I would have to be immediately sedated!!

    chat blanc’s last blog post..My big fat ideal Thanksgiving

  26. 26 ImitationAngel

    When I first saw this story I had to laugh. It’s not funny but just strange enough to make you laugh. All I could keep thinking is how. Was that worm desperate for heat and shelter or what? Hey at least the worm is the lesser of two evils.

    ImitationAngel’s last blog post..When Did Suicide TV Become So Popular?

  27. 27 Stephanie Barr

    By the way, I’m sure this happens multiple times daily on your blog, but I just gave you the Rock Star award on my blog.

    Stephanie Barr’s last blog post..I won a blog award. Hey, I rock.

  28. 28 Singular Girl

    Tweezers. The length of barbecue tongs. Up my nose. And if that didn’t work then I think eminent death would be in order because foreign creatures living inside my body is way too creepy for words.

    Singular Girl’s last blog post..I Heart Pumpkin Pie

  29. 29 Tomas

    … a worm in brain – this awful diagnosis was the first words that I red in your post. Wow, I too have a hole in my head (my head bones were crashed and I walked on the edge of the death… only the miracle returned me to life again) Thus our experiences made us the destiny brothers and therefor I immediately scrawled down to comments without reading further – I was in a hurry to welcome you. People with disabilities suffer the most from their forced loneliness. The rejection by the world hurts them even more than physical pain.

    … Ooops! It seems you were just joking. WHY?!!!

    One of my blogs is dedicated to the art therapy club Modus Vivendi, that is located in the hospital for the people with the psychiatric disorders in Klaipeda, Lithuania. The awful disease blossoms out indeed with smile here. Have a look at the wondrous color of the gratitude for being alive at http://trustlight.blogspot.com/

    I red your post once again and became ashamed for my irritation. It maybe that I didn’t understand something in your writing (such possibility is great because my reading depends on my English-Lithuanian dictionary and thus lots of word colors may be lost) I red your post once again and just wanted to rewrite lots of the verses to my notebook.
    I red your post once again and want to invite you to visit my pictures that travel on web in the archives of my blogs. You are welcome to

    I hope you will have a good time here and I will receive your feedback. I will greatly appreciate that.

    Tomas Karkalas

    Tomas’s last blog post..fine art in reality

  30. 30 Regan

    Well, I didn’t wake up screaming because I usually forget what I dream about and my mom would of told me if I did wake up screaming. I hope. But I know at school I’m going to feel something burrowng deep into my head….. and then convince other people they have something burrowing in their heads, too.

  31. 31 MomZombie

    This is horrifying on so many levels I want to puke. Would the worm “worm” its way out somehow, say through your nostrils? During an intimate moment, or a job interview? Would you wake up to find other worms trying to get in to hang out with the brain worm?

    MomZombie’s last blog post..Death by housework

  32. 32 dawn

    I’m with Chat Blanc …
    A little immediate sedation – because I would be pissed!
    Because of all the thousands of things to go wrong with the human body, this is what I get?
    I’ve heard of people drilling holes in their heads – but I don’t remember what the explanation for it was.
    Maybe it was brain worms?

    dawn’s last blog post..Thanksgiving Activities For The Kids -

  33. 33 JD

    Tim: Oh, boy. I’ve heard of heartworms, and they are serious. Poor little animals. They don’t even have a clue. But little kids DO, and I love your new household motto: Clean Hands Mean Clean Brains! That is awesome. That’s what restaurants should post in their washrooms instead of “Employees must wash hands before returning to work.”

    Stephanie Barr: Yeah, you’re right about the second opinion. Actually, I haven’t even gotten a first opinion, unless you count my own, which you probably shouldn’t. Hey, if it raises awareness about brain worms, I’m happy to take one for the team.

    chat blanc: You mean you’d have to be sedated BEFORE having a knitting needle or barbecue skewer inserted into your eyeball? Yeah, good thinking. I’ll take a muscle relaxer first.

    ImitationAngel: Yes, the worm is definitely less serious than a brain tumor, no doubt about that. But still . . . brrrrrr. And who knows the worm’s motivation for burrowing into the brain. Maybe he was just trying to find the way out? It can’t be very pleasant in there.

    Stephanie Blanc: WOOOOO! I’ve never received that award! I’m on my way . . .

    Singular Girl: Do they make tweezers that long? I’m sure they do. As mentioned earlier, you’d want something that could p-u-u-u-u-ll the worm out, not just stab it. Otherwise? Yeah. Death.

    Tomas: I’m sorry if you were offended, and I hope you realize that this blog is supposed to be funny. I make fun of a lot of stuff here, including stuff that is kind of serious. Thanks for commenting and including your links. Your arthiker site is really cool!

    Regan: The most important part is convincing as many people as possible that they might have a brain worm. You can’t be too careful. Your friends will thank you. Maybe.

    MomZombie: Oh, you bring up some truly awful scenarios. The worm may well try to crawl out some orifice at the worst time possible. I hadn’t thought of that. It reminds me of the tapeworm stories where a bowl of milk is placed in front of the victim’s open mouth, and the tapeworm, attracted to the milk, slowly crawls out. GAH!

    dawn: Interesting reaction. You’d be more pissed than disgusted? I guess I’d be a little embarrassed to have to admit I actually had a brain worm. People would probably laugh at me. As for the hole-drilling—YES! I bet it was brain worms.

  34. 34 Jenny

    I love how the Fox news reporter said “It all came to a head on the first day of school” … HAR! This poor lady sure got an education that day. And “it” sure did come to a head …

    Did you hear the doctor say they are “seeing this MORE and MORE” … ?????

    Wash your hands, people. Make the water nice and hot, and lather up. Now do it again. Again.

    I wonder if Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is worse than brain worms? Or better? Could it be better? Comfort me, JD!

    Jenny’s last blog post..One Chose Life

  35. 35 mlm

    Maybe you can organize a fund-raiser for brainworms, similar to the one Michael Scott on “The Office” organized for rabies! Hah!

  36. 36 absepa

    Gah, indeed! I’ve never heard that story about the milk and tapeworms, and it is truly horrifying. My family jokes that I have a tapeworm, since I’m always hungry, but I don’t think I’m going to let them anymore. That’s too freaky.

    @Tim: I think “Clean Hands Mean Clean Brains” is one of the best slogans I’ve ever heard. I might make a sign to post in the ladies’ room in my office–there are a couple of women who seem disinclined to wash their paws.

    absepa’s last blog post..A Paradigm Shift in Household Chores

  37. 37 TigerTom

    The doctor was happy because there are simple treatments for worms, while brain tumours are anything but simple.

  38. 38 flit

    did you know that typing with 2 broked wrists HURTS?

    But I was here anyway.

    think I shall skip the video though

    flit’s last blog post..Ouch!!!

  39. 39 brooke

    I don’t think I’m having seizures or blurred vision so I think I’m okay. Phew!!!!

  40. 40 JD

    Jenny: It’s better, it’s definitely better!!! At least in this situation. YUCK! Yes, PLEASE, people, wash your hands in hot soapy water laced with bleach for at LEAST an hour. And then wear gloves.

    mlm: Yay! A fellow Office lover. Does anyone have any Bruce Springsteen tickets?

    absepa: I’ve never been accused of having a tapeworm (my appetite is prodigious but my figure reflects it), but if I were you, yeah. Knock off the tapeworm jokes, people. We definitely have to do something about Tim’s slogan. If you post it in the ladies’ room, be sure to add some graphic pictures, so everyone knows exactly what you mean by “clean brain.”

    flit: What a trouper! Ouch! How did that happen, you poor thing? And just in time for Thanksgiving. I hope someone will be able to feed you drumsticks!

    brooke: Headaches? What about headaches?

    TigerTom: You’re right, of course. But still. Is it appropriate to laugh? Or say that a brain worm isn’t terrible? EWwwwwwwwwww!!!!

  41. 41 Margaret (Nanny Goats)

    Oh my God, you KILLED me with this post.

    “You have a worm in your brain. You stick a barbecue skewer in your ear to get it out. You die. Who’s laughing now?”

    I am, thanks to you! Out loud.

    “I would add to this list the distinct sensation of a WORM crawling through your BRAIN!”

    If I were a meme award perpetuator, you would win a virtual Emmy for this episode.

  42. 42 Margaret (Nanny Goats)

    Oh, and how awesome are you getting your Tim Gunn post up in the BlogHer ad network – woo hoo!

  43. 43 JD

    Margaret (Nanny Goats): Wow, thank you! Just the thought of possibly getting a virtual Emmy is enough. I can’t take too much credit tho. A worm in the brain just BEGS to be funny. You really can’t miss.

    (Yeah, I saw the Tim Gunn link! Woo hoo!)

  44. 44 Florida Girl In Sydney

    Eeeewwww. Did I steal the barf bag off the airplane.. because I’m feeling a little (cough, cough, cough) blehhhhh. Good thing I steal stuff from airplanes.

  45. 45 JD

    Floriday Girl In Sydney: Maybe I should’ve included a disclaimer at the top of the post: “Do not read unless you have a barf bag handy.”

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