A New Zealand woman suffering throughout her life from intermittent sinus pain finally found the cause of her woes not long after receiving a nasal COVID-19 test—there was a calcified “tiddlywink” game piece lodged deep in her nose. Of course, this begs the following two questions:
What the hell is a “tiddlywink?”
What the hell?
“For most of her life, hospital kitchen worker Mary McCarthy often had a pain on the right side of her nose,” explains the publication, Stuff, adding “...The reason became obvious on Thursday when a surgeon at Christchurch Hospital extracted a yellow tiddlywinks piece–37 years after it was lodged in her upper nose as a child.”
Tiddlywinks, as you can probably guess from the name, is an extremely British board game for children first developed in the 1860's, and apparently is played using small discs called “winks,” which one then uses a “squidger” to launch into a pot for varying points... like we said, extremely British. According to McCarthy, she remembers playing the game with her seven siblings when she was 8 years old. At one point, the children “took the game on a tangent by putting one piece up each nostril and ‘blowing them out to see how they would go.’” Unfortunately, McCarthy accidentally inhaled.
“I was a bit too scared to tell my mother, so I didn’t. I remember being terrified at the time, thinking ‘Where it has gone?’” she recalls, although she never apparently got around to telling anyone, and kinda-sorta forgot about the whole thing... despite nearly four decades of resultant sinus troubles. To be fair, she sounds like she has a lot on her plate, what with working full time in a hospital cafeteria while also taking care of her 22-year-old non-verbal, severely autistic son.
Late last year, one of those awful COVID-19 nasal swabs dislodged the game piece, causing an infection that was eventually discovered by ENT doctors. “A CT scan revealed an object in her upper nose, although it did not look like a tiddlywink. The doctor tried to remove it while she was awake, but it was too big and too painful.”
A subsequent surgery forced the large tiddlywink piece through her nasal cavity and into her mouth, where it was then removed. “There was calcification around it and that was probably why my nose had grown a bit crooked,” McCarthy said, which sounds like a safe bet to us.
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