A vacationer spent three months in hospital and became paralyzed on both feet after being immersed in a lake in southeastern Africa – when a parasitic worm swam in the penis.
James Michael went swimming in Lake Malawi with friends two years ago and had no idea that a parasitic worm had broken into his body.
The parasite laid eggs inside it, which slowly made it so badly affected its immune system and attacked the spine, reports the Daily Record.
Doctors fought for three months to get the infection under control while marketed at a London hospital. Doctors gave him only a 30% chance of recovery.
But after a wheelchair, problems with digestion and toileting and using crutches for four months, he finally made a full recovery.
The 32-year-old, from London, said: "When I look back at photos of my time in Africa, it's strange to think that this is where the parasite raised my penis.
"This was not exactly the way I imagined a lifetime trip with my friends – the whole experience was surreal and weird.
"Planning a line, it was like going straight from paradise to a hospital bed, almost helpless and helpless.
"This journey has made me definitely think more about my health and how I take care of myself – like reading about the health risks when traveling.
“I would urge anyone thinking of getting into Lake Malawi not to.
"It's just not worth the potential risks of little worms climbing into your body through your parts. It's a grotesque, painful thought.
"This was awful. It feels like an endless mountain that I had to climb."
Ames went on a "lifetime trip" to Africa with three friends in August 2017.
They traveled from Zambia to Zimbabwe before visiting Malawi for five days.
A group of three swam and canoeed for three hours each day on Lake Malawi – before returning to the UK.
"Even though I got infected with the infection, nothing happened and I managed to go home thinking nothing was wrong," he said.
In October 2018, James began to notice a loss of feeling in his legs as well, initially thinking it was tiring to ride a bike.
"I assumed it was from exercise, so I didn't care about it," he said.
"But the feeling of tiredness has never wavered and actually worsened that month."
But it got worse over the course of a few weeks until it took him five minutes to climb 15 steps to his apartment.
He went to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in November 2018 when he woke up uncontrollably sweating, and began worrying about having MS or motor neuron disease.
Concerned James received antibiotics and sent him home, but he still felt awful, and a week later, losing consciousness, went to hospital.
"I explained to them that something serious was going on," he said.
"I went to the neurology department and they did blood tests to see what was there.
"They determined pretty quickly that my immune system was attacking my spine, which led to a loss of control of my legs.
"I was put on a six-month course of steroids to counter this, but they didn't really know what caused it."
Tests revealed that his immune system was attacking the spine, and he eventually lost his legs due to a combination of pain and loss of feeling.
Doctors at the Tropical Disease Hospital told James Panic that a parasitic worm had filled his penis and laid eggs in his body.
A week before Christmas he was diagnosed with bilingualism – an infection caused by a parasitic worm that lives in fresh water in the subtropical and tropical regions – and received appropriate medication.
He said: "It killed the infection, but I remained basically weakened.
"They told me there was a 30 percent chance of a complete recovery – ten years from now.
"It was a terrible feeling – I felt completely helpless and the chances were not good. I couldn't wish anyone what I went through. "
In all, he was forced to spend three agonies in the hospital using a wheelchair and then four months on crutches, until April.
During this dark period, he also had to endure extreme acne caused by steroids, diarrhea and catheter use because he could not use the hole.
"The pain was like nothing I ever knew," Ames said. "At times, it was a huge physical pain that weakened her.
"At the beginning of my recovery – sometime in January – I had a really terrible acne that fell on my back and down my hands.
"I couldn't sleep for a month because I was lying on my back. I couldn't even be under the water, so I had to shower the front instead.
"The loss of feeling and use of my feet has affected every part of my life. I couldn't practice much because of the infection, which was difficult.
"In January I couldn't use the toilet normally, so I had to use a catheter. It was quite embarrassing because it's not something you hang out with young guys.
Ames also lost her appetite and fought to have sex with her girlfriend.
He said: "My girlfriend couldn't hug me because they just touched me and we weren't intimate with each other because it was too painful for me.
"I will probably think twice before dipping into Lake Malawi."
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