Everyone’s worst nightmare came true for one woman, when doctors discovered that she had a live spider inside of her ear.
In a TikTok posted Oct. 18, user Desirae Kelly (@desiraekelly) recorded herself waiting in an urgent care room, after being seen by a doctor. To her dismay, the doctor confirmed that there was in fact “something” in her ear, and that it was “curled up” inside of it.
She shared that she was waiting for nurses to flush her ear out in hopes of removing the insect, and expressed her embarrassment over the situation.
“That’s so gross,” she said in her video. “And I’m a clean person. But also… it’s an uneasy feeling.”
Breaking down in tears and laughing, she said, “There’s a bug in my ear!”
Afterwards, Kelly recorded herself again, looking harrowed by the experience. She then delivered the nightmare-inducing discovery— it had been a spider inside her ear, and it was still alive when it was flushed out.
“I’m never sleeping again,” she said.
its ok to laugh♬ original sound – desiraekelly
By Monday, Kelly’s video had over 40 million views. “It’s ok to laugh,” she wrote in the video’s caption.
Commenters were horrified by Kelly’s story.
“ALIVE??! I would no longer be upon recieving that information,” one user wrote.
“I’M GONNA BE SCARED FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE,” another shared.
“None of us are ever sleeping again,” another wrote.
Although the recommended search feature on TikTok suggested “ear covers for sleeping” and some commenters shared that they will now be sleeping with earplugs in, it’s not particularly common for an insect to crawl into a person’s ear.
In an interview for SELF, Nancy Troyano, Ph.D., a board-certified entomologist and director of technical education and training for Rentokil North America, shared a few scenarios in which a person may be at risk of a bug making its way into their ear. Among them were sleeping in a room with an active cockroach infestation, sleeping on the ground while camping, and the presence of flying indoor insects.
Some of the common symptoms associated with a bug in the ear include redness, itching, swelling, and pain. It’s also possible to hear or feel movement from inside the ear, if the bug is still alive.
This was the case for Kelly, as she described in a follow up video telling her story.
@desiraekelly Replying to @Jackson Family ♬ original sound – desiraekelly
Kelly said that she woke up in the middle of the night to the feeling of a strange sensation in her ear, but she didn’t think anything of it until she felt movement from inside her ear, which she described as a “fluttering.” As she was waiting at Urgent Care, she felt the sensation again, but it had become painful.
“It felt like a big clump of wax was moving at the base of my eardrum,” she said.
Kelly shared that it took several tries to flush out her ear, until finally she could feel the intruding insect “crawl out” of her ear and land on her sweater.
“I should have known this wasn’t just a normal little bug when the nurse jumped back a step,” she said.
Upon seeing that it was a spider, Kelly said that she had a panic attack, and was physically sick. Many commenters expressed that they would have reacted the same way.
“Girl I’m traumatized and I wasn’t even there,” one user wrote.
“this is the appropriate reaction,” another agreed.
In a second follow up video, Kelly shared the type of spider that had crawled out of her ear— a jumping spider.
In a twist happy ending, Kelly’s horrifying story going viral has helped to boost her TikTok Creator Fund earnings, and will allow her to pay off the bill from Urgent Care.
The Daily Dot reached out to Kelly via TikTok comment.