Doctors recently came to the aid of a man by pulling a 2 centimeter long cockroach from his ear after the insect crawled inside while he was sleeping.
Hendrik Helmer says his ordeal began in the wee hours of Wednesday morning when he was woken by a sharp pain in his right ear, the ABC reports.
"I was hoping it was not a poisonous spider ... I was hoping it didn't bite me," he said.
He told 105.7 ABC Darwin radio station as the pain got worse, he used a vacuum cleaner to try and suck the creature out before squirting water in his ear, which only appeared to anger it.
"Whatever was in my ear didn't like it at all," he told the broadcaster Friday.
With the pain increasing further, Helmer’s roommate took him to the Royal Darwin Hospital, where a doctor poured olive oil down his ear canal. This only forced the roach to crawl in deeper, before it eventually began to die.
"Near the 10 minute mark ... somewhere about there, he started to stop burrowing but he was still in the throes of death twitching," Helmer said.
At this point the doctor put forceps into his ear and pulled out the cockroach.
“She [the doctor] said, ‘you know how I said a little cockroach? That may have been an underestimate’,” Helmer told the station. “They said they had never pulled an insect this large out of someone’s ear.”
Helmer’s experience is not uncommon. According to The Huffington Post, Dr. Ian Storper, director of otology at the New York Head & Neck Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital, has seen many cases of in-ear cockroaches, including last year when doctors in Taiwan discovered mites and mite eggs in a 70-year-old man’s ear.
“It’s much more common to see a cockroach in the ear,” Storpe said. He claims part of the problem is that bugs don’t have a hard time crawling into the ear canal, but cannot walk backwards in order to escape.