<p>Mary had chronic nose pain, and was shocked when she discovered the cause (stock picture, posed by model)</p>

Mary had chronic nose pain, and was shocked when she discovered the cause (stock picture, posed by model)

Getty Images/iStockphoto

A woman who had suffered from chronic nose pain for 37 years recently discovered the cause of her discomfort – a yellow Tiddlywink that she stuffed up her nose as an eight-year-old.

When Mary McCarthy, a 45-year-old hospital worker from Addington, New Zealand took a Covid test in October last year that requires a swab to be poked up both nostrils, her pain worsened.

After undergoing surgery to find out the root cause of the problem, both the surgeons were shocked when they extracted a yellow Tiddlywinks counter that has been stuck in Mary’s nose for nearly four decades.

In fact, the counter had been there so long that it had calcified matter growing around it – the process that happens when calcium builds up in body tissue, blood vessels, or organs.

“I always had difficulties breathing through my nose over the years but never gave it much thought,” she told Stuff NZ.

The surgery meant that Mary could finally breathe properly again for the first time since she took the Covid nasal swab test eight months previous.

Surgeons believe the Covid test lodged the counter further up her nose and caused an infection.

Mary is now recovering from her surgery at home, and she says she remembers playing Tiddlywinks as an eight-year-old with her seven brothers and sisters.

The game that Mary played as an eight-year-old that led to her sinus problems after a counter got lodged in her noseGetty Images

They started playing their own game with the counters, by putting one piece up each nostril and “blowing them out to see how they would go”.

Mary told the same publication: “One time I accidentally inhaled one instead of blowing it out, and I was a bit too scared to tell my mother, so I didn’t. I remember being terrified at the time, thinking ‘where has it gone’.”

Tiddlywinks is a game which originates from the 1860s in England where players use a plastic “squidger” and aim to shoot a “wink” into the pot.

Before her surgery, Mary developed sinus problems where her nose would be “leaking constantly” and she would be “in a lot of pain.”

She was told by several general practitioners that the pain was due to chronic sinus condition.

Eventually, the pain became too much and Mary visited Christchurch Hospital’s emergency department.

A CT scan revealed there was an object stuffed up her nose. Doctors tried to remove it when Mary was awake but it was too large and painful. So, an operation was needed to remove the Tiddlywinks counter and was a success.

After being in her body for most of her life, Mary kept the Tiddlywink as a souvenir.

Do we need to say it? We will anyway.

Don’t try this at home...

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)