Hendrik Helmer of Darwin, Australia will probably be sleeping with earplugs from now on after he woke up at 2:30 a.m. last week with a cockroach in his ear canal.
Feeling a considerable amount of pain but not knowing exactly what it was that was inside his ear — he suspected it was a small insect, Helmer grabbed a vacuum cleaner and tried to suck the bug out of his ear. This seemed to make the roach angrier, and the pain in his ear got worse.
“Later on, when I stood up and it happened it would sort of hunch me over and drop me down to the ground,” Helmer told 105.7 ABC Darwin radio station. “I was hoping it wasn't a poisonous spider. I was hoping it didn't bite me.”
Helmer wound up at Royal Darwin Hospital, where doctors first tried pouring olive oil down his ear canal. That only caused the cockroach to burrow deeper into Helmer’s ear. Doctors then used forceps to finally extract what turned out to be a 2 cm roach from Helmer’s ear.
“[The doctor] said, ‘you know how I said a little cockroach? That may have been an underestimate,’” Helmer told 105.7 ABC Darwin. “They said they had never pulled an insect this large out of someone's ear.”