Here's a reason to leave any and all tonsil examinations up to the professionals. From an article last year in the journal BMJ Case Reports comes this anecdote about a woman who managed to keep a pen marinating in her gut for a quarter-century until doctors plucked it out. Report the authors, who are physicians in Exeter, England:
A 76-year-old female, with a blameless medical history other than well-controlled depression, was referred for urgent investigation due to weight loss and diarrhoea. A flexible sigmoidoscopy demonstrated severe diverticulosis and a subsequent CT abdomen showed a linear foreign body in the stomach but no other abnormality. Her symptoms resolved spontaneously. On subsequent questioning, she recalled unintentionally swallowing a pen 25 years earlier. While she was interrogating a spot on her tonsil with the pen she slipped, fell and swallowed the pen by mistake. Her husband and general practitioner dismissed her story and plain abdominal films done at the time were reported as normal. A gastroscopy demonstrated a plastic felt-tip pen sitting in the lumen of the stomach without evidence of any gastric damage [...] The pen was still in working order (figure 2). This case highlights that plain abdominal x-rays may not identify ingested plastic objects and occasionally it may be worth believing the patient's account however unlikely it may be.
Now — for the sake of testing an old aphorism — somebody needs to swallow a sword and email us the findings 25 years from now.
[Via Improbable Research]