Sunday, 9 November 2014

What lurks within: The part after the last part

Say hello to your intimate friend

Do you have a parasite? I'm not talking about the 180 pound lump sitting on your sofa eating chips and drinking your beer. That's your son. I'm talking about organisms that have made a tidy home within you. Parasite infestation is inevitable. By definition a parasite is an organism which feeds on its host and gives nothing in return (your/my son). Indeed the consequences are not always ill health. The well evolved parasite is wise and prudent if it makes its presence unknown. Makes no sense to destroy your home and livelihood.  Many organisms reside in the human body but not all are parasitic. In fact many of them are beneficial and would be difficult to live without. Consider the many species of intestinal bacteria, for instance.

Most folk associate parasite infestation with third world countries. If you are of this frame of mind you need to think again. Indeed, beasties within are quite common in the civilised West. Thirty percent of Americans harbour one, or in some instances, more than one intestinal parasite from a list of 19 species.

The favoured route of entry is by mouth. Although some enter through the skin. Undercooked meat is an obvious source. But parasites are canny beasties and infestation may occur through contaminated water or faeces. But you don't usually eat shit, or do you? Incidentally, eating poo is called copraphagia and is the legitimate form of nutrition in some species of animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. I digress. Unfortunately some folk are not particularly fastidious when it comes to toilet behaviour. Infected individuals, if not careful about washing their hands, can leave parasite eggs on door handles or even the phone. When your mom said you couldn't catch stuff from toilet seats- she lied.

So how do you know whether you are infected? Tis often difficult to tell. Nasty intestinal parasites may make their presence known by unpleasant symptoms. Do you suffer from intestinal gas? Do you have trouble falling asleep or wake up multiple times in the night crying out for your favourite Teddy bear; Pandy Loo, where are you? Do your muscles inexplicably ache? If you are on statins discount this symptom. Are you fatigued and depressed? Does your arse itch, especially at night? Itching can be such a distraction. To combat itchy arse syndrome (Arse) I usually give the itching an intensity number from 1 to 10. This sometimes helps. Where 1 is a mild tingling and 10 an overwhelming urge to rake the region until the area is red raw and proffering blood. If you really can't help yourself, wear surgical gloves and use a medium grade of sandpaper. The relief is exquisite and the pleasure engendered is enough to transform a man into a god.  

To be honest an obsession with parasite infestation is one of my many quirks and foibles. Let's be frank, I am not easy to live with. Ask Mrs Saxon (not much of a life/wife). Anyway, I have a routine. Every month I examine my own shit. I take note of it's form and odour. Usually this states: 'torpedo shaped, brown and smelly'. Now the real fun begins.  Select a firm member from the collection, you can discard the rest in the conventional manner. Take a vertical slice. I recommend not using your regular cutlery. Examine said portion using a high power lens. You are looking for parasite eggs. Sweet corn is an unnecessary distraction. Resist the urge to pick them out and recycle. No profit will come from this bizarre and ultimately disgusting behaviour- please, get a grip! Look for small, pale, ovoid objects. These are the likely suspects. If found try to count as per the area under investigation. This will give you an estimate of the your likely level of infestation. There are numerous guides online which will help you identify the species from the gross morphology of the egg. Occasionally, you may be flattered by finding an actual parasite itself. This is a cause for celebration. Gather said item, carefully wash and pickle in cheap gin. This is an item worthy of  wonderment.

Obviously there are other tests that can be performed. I am privileged in this regard as I have access to a modern and well equipped laboratory. Perk of the job, I suppose.

Am I to be pitied or exalted- you be the judge.           

Perhaps the ultimate and best evolved parasite

1 comment:

  1. Upon seeing the word "parasite", my thoughts immediately went to The Palace of Westminster, The Town Hall...