That Worm Feeling

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The NextCare doctor suggested Carroll and Nelms take her findings to dermatologists at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, who took skin scrapings and confirmed the Russian's diagnosis.

The garden outside Carroll's house is gone now, and the carpeting inside is new. So is the linoleum in the kitchen, the furniture in the living room, and the air ducts in the walls.

"We got rid of it all," says Carroll. "I got itchy just looking at the couch. It was a nice sectional, but it had to go."

From one perspective, Carroll and Nelms underwent a nightmarish ordeal, real "eye of newt, tongue of dog" stuff. From another, they're lucky it lasted only as long as it did. Severe cases of creeping eruption can last more than six months. The worst case on record in the United States is that of a New York man who sunbathed nude on a beach in Rio de Janeiro and came home with an infestation that took 55 weeks to get under control.

Carroll and Nelms still take daily doses of Thiabendazole (relapses are common in creeping eruption cases where patients prematurely stop taking their medicine), and though they say they still have less energy than normal, it's nothing compared to the utter lethargy and depression that hammered them at the height of their infestation.

Their Afghan hound is getting better, too.

Absent-mindedly scratching at a scab on her leg, Carroll lights another smoke.

"I thought it would be good to talk about this and get it off my chest," she says. "And I guess it is, but it's giving me the creeps. I mean, you really have no idea how creepy worms are until you get some in you."

Contact David Holthouse at his online address: [email protected]

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David Holthouse
Contact: David Holthouse