Doctors untangle the strange case of the giant hairball
It may not be the most appetizing reading before a hearty holiday meal, but the New England Journal of Medicine is devoting part of its Thanksgiving issue to a giant hairball -- and not the feline kind.
The prestigious journal details the case of a previously healthy 18-year-old woman who consulted a team of gastrointestinal specialists.
She complained of a five-month history of pain and swelling in her abdomen, vomiting after eating and a 40-pound weight loss.
After a scan of the woman's abdomen showed a large mass, doctors lowered a scope through her esophagus.
It revealed "a large bezoar occluding nearly the entire stomach," wrote Drs. Ronald M. Levy and Srinadh Komanduri, gastroenterologists at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.
For the uninitiated, a bezoar is a hairball.
"On questioning, the patient stated that she had had a habit of eating her hair for many years -- a condition called trichophagia," they wrote.
"It seemed like she'd been doing this for several years," Levy told CNN.
The woman underwent surgery to remove the mass of black, curly hair, which weighed 10 pounds and measured 15 inches by 7 inches by 7 inches, the doctors said.
Five days later, she was eating normally and was sent home.
A year later, the pain and vomiting were gone, the patient had regained 20 pounds "and reports that she has stopped eating her hair."
That's pretty impressive really. A 10-pound hairball in the shape of a person's stomach. I thought it was a fucking dead beaver at first.
It's too bad that they don't don't say what they did with it. At the very least, it should be sent to someone as a practical joke or something. Cover it up with some slime and then drop it on the carpet of someone who owns a cat and watch them freak out when they discover it. That's what Thanksgiving means to me.