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A Piece of My Mind
November 5, 2008

Worms

JAMA. 2008;300(17):1976-1977. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.593

My first encounter with “worms” occurred just before Christmas during my second year in medical school. My wife Anne and I had attended a potluck dinner on the Friday following my final examination in microbiology. The next morning I woke with cramps and loose bowels. When I groggily noticed a bunch of yellow kernels in the toilet bowl, I panicked, quite naturally assuming that the kernels were tapeworm proglottids. There's a cestode in my intestine! I must have picked it up in the communal outhouse earlier that autumn on a weekend camping trip in West Virginia. How can I tell Anne, who by now is probably also infested with a food-sucking worm? No wonder I’ve felt overwhelmed for the last two months. No wonder I’m always irritable and too fatigued to study.

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