Florida woman Katie Holley woke up to the realization a few weeks ago that a cockroach had crawled into her ear while she was sleeping. And according to her headline in the article she wrote for Self magazine about the incident, it was as horrifying as you might think.
Katie Holley says she woke up one night in April feeling “a weird movement” in her ear, as if something were burrowing inside. She rushed to the bathroom for a cotton swab and gently wiped inside her ear. On the swab she saw two “skinny black lines” that looked an awful lot like roach legs.
“I started to hyperventilate,” Holley told TODAY. Her husband, Jordan, was soon awake, looked inside her ear with his iPhone’s flashlight. He calmly announced he could see the back end of a palmetto bug, a type of cockroach that familiar to hot, humid climates.
As Holley went into “meltdown” mode, Jordan gently inserted tweezers in her ear to try to grab the roach. “I was kind of twitching because the roach was twitching,” Holley recalled.
After grabbing one of the legs, Jordan decided to drive Holley to the hospital and let the professionals extract the bug.
Nine days later, at her own doctor’s office, Holley revealed she was still experiencing a “heaviness” in her ear as well as residual pain. An examination of her ear revealed something dark still wedged inside.
After flushing Holley’s ear, the doctor began removing additional roach parts — six pieces in all. Seeing still more, she arranged for Holley to visit an ear, nose and throat specialist that afternoon.
The specialist went to work immediately. “He grabbed these crazy looking curved scissors … and he had me lay on my side and … and he pulled out the head and upper torso and two-inch antennae. All in one piece,” she said. “And that was it.”
Unfortunately, without Lidocaine the second time around, Holley could feel — and hear — everything the doctors did, which she says was the most traumatizing part of her ordeal.
“I could literally hear the sounds of the legs being dragged against my ear canal and feel the crunch of it,” Holley said. “It’s disgusting. It’s horrible!”
But the ENT also shared some info that made her feel less alone: It’s not all that rare for bugs to crawl into people’s ears.
“It didn’t make me feel better,” said Holley, who now sleeps with cotton balls stuffed in both ears, “but I was like, ‘OK, I’m not the only person this has ever happened to. At least there’s somebody else out there.’”