A woman who swallowed some big bucks
There was a short item in a news magazine a couple of weeks ago that said a woman in Colombia ate $9,000. Her husband found that she had hidden money from him. When he demanded a share, she began eating $100 bills, according Jim Smart to the article.
She soon was Of All
having pains and Things was taken to the hospital, where, said the article, $5,700 was removed from her stomach in good condition. The rest of the bills were ruined by “gastric fluids,” a surgeon reported.
This left me puzzled. The ingested currency was described in U.S. dollars. Was she really hoarding our kind of money?
The basic Colombian bill is the peso, which tends to waver a bit in value, but recently has been rated at approximately 3,000 pesos equaling one of our dollars. If she ate $9,000 worth of pesos, that would equal about $27 million in our dollar bills.
I assumed that if she used local money, she probably did her cash swallowing in bills of higher denominations. Online, I found pictures of some Colombian bank notes, and they do look tasty, if one feels the need to eat them.
I would recommend the bluish pastel 20,000 peso bill, which has a picture of Julio Garcia Armero, a Colombian astronomer, on one side and the moon on the other. Each bill is worth about $9.70 American.
After reading about the incident in the magazine, I checked on the internet. Most sources reported the amount devoured as $7,000. Many also specified that amount as coming in U.S. dollars. One TV network made it $9,400. The overall reporting was rather, to quote an old Pennsylvania Dutch acquaintance, “slip-slop.”
A British news service online claimed that “she swallowed around 57 hundred dollar notes,” and illustrated the report with a stock photo of a pile of $100 Ben Franklins.
A Canadian news site called Global News had photographs of surgeons admiring, spread out on a table, the actual bills pulled from the woman’s innards, and they were U.S. hundreds.
The British report quoted a surgeon from the University Hospital of Santander, who said that the money was neatly wrapped in rolls. Most were extracted from an orifice opened in the stomach, he said, “through which some extra rolls were found in the intestine, which advanced to the colon, the lower part of the intestine, in order to be evacuated by normal means through the patient’s intestinal movements.”
He did not estimate the value of the money, presumably additional to the identified $5,700, that will arrive by those normal means or guess its likely condition.
I became curious about the name of the hospital and learned that it is not related to the bank from Spain that has popped up in our area. Santander is a city in Spain.
It is also the name of a Colombian department (like a state) in the Andes, probably named for Francisco de Paula Santander, an early 19th century Colombian political leader.
Its citizens, known as Santandereanos, are known for being grouchy and outspoken, though very gentle and friendly. One of their local food delicacies is hormingas culonas, which is roasted ants.
Adding to the unpleasantness of researching the woman who ate the money, when I investigated the situation by typing “woman eats money” into Google, that allknowing source also offered to provide me with information on “woman eats baby,” “woman eats cat hair,” “woman eats mouse” and “woman eats mattress.” I declined the opportunity. Visit columnist Jim Smart’s website at jamessmartsphiladelphia.com.