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Cause Of Man’s Chronic Sinus Infections Turns Out To Be Drugs He Tried To Smuggle In His Nose 18 Years Earlier

Sometimes the past comes back to bite you—in the nose. 

A 48-year-old man who lives in Sydney, Australia, recently discovered the cause of years of headaches and sinus problems. 18 years’ worth, to be exact.

The drugs he attempted to smuggle way back when were still in his nose.


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Nearly two decades ago, the man was incarcerated on other charges. But little did the police know the man was also in possession of illegal cannabis.

To avoid further charges, the man shoved a rhinolith—the medical term for a small object lodged in the nasal cavity—up his nose. To make matters worse, his girlfriend brought a small balloon with her during one of her prison visits, to apparently help to further conceal the drugs hidden in his nose. 

This is where it gets really cringe-worthy.

He shoved the drugs so far up his nose, he was unable to take them out himself. 


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In a recent police report, the man confided that, after a time, he actually believed he swallowed the drugs and they were no longer a presence in his nose. Thinking it was no longer a concern, he simply forgot about the rhinolith. 

Though he was able to get by without anyone detecting the drugs, what he had done was hardly what you might call a success story.

Now, 18 years later, the man was finally fed up enough with his headaches and sinus problems to go see a doctor for a check-up. During the appointment, they discovered an obstruction, which turned out to be the rhinolith and balloon he’d tucked away years before. 

They were able to safely remove the objects.

Now three months later, the man is feeling much better and has no other complications. 

Obviously, though, some people have questions about how the man could go so long without realizing what the problem was. 

Whatever the man’s thinking was, at least the problem was corrected and he’s on the mend. 

It surely makes for an interesting story. Maybe it’s even spooky enough for Halloween. 

Though it’s no The Red Spot by Alvin Schwartz…

Love a good medical conundrum? Get 12 episodes of Forensic Files: Medical Mysteries here.

McKenzie Lynn Tozan

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.