Woman Suffering of Nose Pain for 37 Years Discovers Board Game Piece Stuck in Her Nostril

After suffering from pain on the right side of her nose for most of her life, a New Zealand woman was shocked to discover a plastic board game piece that had apparently been stuck in her nostril for 37 years.

Mary McCarthy, from Christchurch in New Zealand, had always struggled with pain and breathing difficulties on the right side of her nose, but having put up with it since childhood, she never bothered seeing a doctor about it. But last October, following ab excruciatingly painful nasal swab test for Covid-19, her nasal issue got even worse. Her nose would be leaking constantly and she was in a lot of pain, so she finally decided to get medical help.

Photo: Pi/Wikimedia Commons

The 45-year-old woman saw several general practitioners who put the pain down to a chronic sinus condition, but she wasn’t satisfied with that verdict, so she decided to see an ear, nose and throat specialist. Unfortunately, she could only book a checkup in August, but because the pain had become so bad, she decided she needed help sooner, so after a painful day’s work, she went to Christchurch Hospital’s emergency department.

Luckily for McCarthy, the doctor on duty at the hospital believed it was more than sinus pain, and asked her if she had ever put anything in her nose that could have gotten stuck there. This question triggered a memory of the woman playing tiddlywinks with her seven brothers and sisters as a child, and putting the small plastic discs in their noses to see how far they would go when they blew them out.

Only one time, 8-year-old Mary inhaled through her nose and sucked a small “wink” in her nose. Not knowing where the small plastic disk had gone and too scared to tell her mother about it, she just put it out of her mind, and, as time went by, forgot all about it.

A CT scan revealed that there was indeed something stuck in her right nostril, but it didn’t look like a tiddlywinks piece. The doctor tried removing it while she was awake, but it proved too painful so she had to undergo an operation that involved pushing the mysterious object through her nose and extracting it through her mouth.

It turned out that the object was indeed a small plastic wink, only with years of calcification built up all around it. The doctor told Mary that the Covid-19 swab test had dislodged it after nearly four decades and caused an infection that amplified the pain she had put up with all this time.

“I always had difficulties breathing through my nose over the years but never gave it much thought,” Mary McCarthy told Stuff.co.nz. “There was calcification around it and that was probably why my nose had grown a bit crooked.”


This story is remarkably similar to one we posted last year, where a 59-year-old man in Zelenograd, Russia discovered he had been living with a metal coin stuck in his nose for 53 years, after sticking it in there as a kid and forgetting about it.

Posted in News        Tags: , , ,