Today’s menu includes linear foreign object
For obvious reasons, we here at Outliers have always subscribed to the adage the pen is mightier than the sword, but we believed the saying referred to the power of the written word, not the surprising durability of pens. Consider us impressed, based on a finding published recently in BMJ Case Reports, that a standard felt-tip pen is able to remain in working order after spending 25 years submerged in stomach acid, and enduring countless English breakfasts.
According to the report, “An incidental finding of a gastric foreign body 25 years after ingestion,” a 76-year-old woman in England went to her doctor last year suffering from sudden weight loss and diarrhea, and an abdominal CT scan revealed a linear foreign object in her stomach. The woman recalled an incident 25 years earlier when she had slipped and fallen and accidentally swallowed a pen; at the time her husband and doctor dismissed her story but the new CT scan confirmed her tale. After some deliberation, the pen was removed, and a scrawled H-E-L-L-O on a sheet of paper proved it to still be in working order.
The report’s authors concluded that this incident shows that “occasionally it may be worth believing the patient’s account however unlikely.” And it must have been sweet for the patient to finally deliver a 25-year delayed “I told you so” to her doubting spouse.
It’s your choice. But we’d opt for eating the apple.