Awhile back my boyfriend told me a story over dinner that pretty much put me off my food. I then proceeded to tell just about everyone I know about said story and then just as quickly forgot about it. That is until it came up again tonight.

And now I just can’t resist sharing it with you good folks.

But first, a disclaimer: This story was told to me by my boyfriend, who heard it from his coworker. Therefore I cannot guarantee its veracity, nor my accuracy in its telling. It could be an urban legend for all I know. But, really, who makes this stuff up?

Now for the story:

My boyfriend’s coworker and his roommate were sitting around one day when the roommate’s girlfriend came over looking incredibly distraught.

The two men of course asked her what was eating at her. And she told them her best friend had just been hospitalized.

Naturally, they wanted to know why she’d been hospitalized.

She told them it had been for a possibly fatal case of Toxic Shock Syndrome.

You may not have read my post about it, so I’m just going to tell you here that I’m completely paranoid about TSS, which means even by this point in the story I was totally terrified.

“Did she forget to take out a tampon?!” I asked my boyfriend.

“Oh no, it gets worse,” he replied.

The two men ask the woman what caused the TSS.

She hesitates for a minute, maybe bites her lip. She reminds them that her friend, let’s call her Betty, is a little bit overweight.

And, well, apparently she’s a little more overweight than her best friend would like to admit because good ole’ Betty got pregnant and didn’t even realize it more than six months into the pregnancy.

Nor did Betty realize that when her period finally came again, it was actually her having a miscarriage.

Which is why she was shocked when the doctors asked her how long she’d been pregnant. And even more shocked when they told her the baby had died more than two months prior to this emergency room visit. And probably horrified when they told her that her Toxic Shock had been caused by the rotten fetus still inside her.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, a rotten fetus. This is what my boyfriend brought up at the dinner table.

And the moral to this story is: If you’re a sexually active obese woman who has irregular periods, keep some home pregnancy tests on hand.

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REBECCA ADLER is from Sacramento, CA, where she is a grad student in applied linguistics and works as a freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in Jane & Jane, Sacramento Business Journal, and Comstock's Business Magazine, among others. She also keeps a book review blog and can be found on Facebook or Twitter.

One response to “The Stuff Urban Legends Are Made Of”

  1. Original Comment Thread Below:


    Comment by 1159
    2008-05-12 08:22:02

    Ugh, Monday morning reading. Well, um certainly – urban legend.
    Too awful for reality.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Greg
    2008-05-12 13:23:48

    Fuck. Me.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Josie
    2008-05-12 15:18:16

    No, Greg – sexually active could lead to TSS.

    “who makes this stuff up”

    That made me laugh, sister.
    I’ll tel ya who – writers.

    Oh yeah, you know it lol 🙂
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Jim
    2008-05-12 16:12:47

    I heard that legend ten years ago, but the fetus died shortly AFTER birth, and (get this) — it had a HOOK for a right hand!!!
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Richard Ferguson
    2008-05-12 16:22:08

    After reading this all I can say is, Thank God I’m not an obese woman. Nor do I have irregular periods.

    I am a little sexually active, though.

    But that’s another story.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Christina
    2008-05-12 18:44:04

    I can validate the authenticity this came up in my Anatomy and Physiology class. This isn’t at all common but very plausible.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Rebecca Adler
    2008-05-12 20:00:12

    59: Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays.

    Greg: Haha. I think Josie’s response says it all.

    Josie: I swear I didn’t make this up.

    Jim: Hm. Sounds like a different story after all 😉
    Rich: I’m also glad you’re not an obese pregnant woman.

    Christina: Horrifying. Simply horrifying.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Emma R
    2008-05-13 02:10:48

    Gag. Your boyfriend has some lovely dinner conversation. But, like you, I wouldn’t be able to resist telling people.

    Also: I think maybe I’ll go for a run today. And do some sit ups. It’s scary to imagine being that out of touch with your body.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Liesel
    2008-05-13 14:00:16

    Pardon the length, but I did pre-med : )

    Sepsis (or toxic shock syndrome) is basically a bacterial infection – the only difference is that when it occurs in places that are highly vascularized
    (ie- uterus, lungs, abdomen, intestines, etc) it just got on the autobahn to every square inch of your body – not a lot of time to fight it – spreads like wildfire – and is much harder to “get to” with medical intervention

    So – a miscarriage, piece of placenta, a tampon… etc… if left inside the highly vascularized uterus/vaginal area – is basically affecting your body’s chemistry in a way that can lead to bacterial infection that will enter the bloodstream and could be lethal

    BUT – infections take a while – you can go around toting any of these foreign bodies for like 10 weeks without anything happening – in some cases.
    when sepsis STARTS you will get an onslaught of crazy symptoms that should send you to the doctor in time to get help in the form of antibiotics
    you would have to literally ignore days of constant fever, massive headaches, tachycardia, dizziness, vomitting, siezures or severe shaking chills… etc etc…
    but if you ignore those kinds of symptoms in the first place – you have bigger things wrong with you anyway!
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Rebecca Adler
    2008-05-13 16:40:03

    Liesel: She did have a lot of those symptoms for at least two weeks before she finally went in. I guess she just thought she had a flu or something. What’s tachycardia by the way? You’ve got me interested!
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by liesel
    2008-05-13 17:50:50

    Tachycardia is a rapid heart rate, usually defined as greater than 100 beats per minute. There are different types. Sinus tachycardia happens when you excerise or get worked up emotionally – you can definitely feel it – like a flutter in your chest. It happened to me a lot when I had the bad habit in college – of taking the terrible original now illegal Xenadrine formula stackers…
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Chason
    2008-05-13 20:53:28

    Wow. No wonder you didn’t feel like eating after that.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Rebecca Adler
    2008-05-14 07:36:08

    Liesel: Ah. Thanks. I would have looked it up but I had a super slow internet connection earlier.

    Chaz: Yeah.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by liesel
    2008-05-14 09:17:31

    no problem!

    this is a hilarious post – good stuff

    it is reason # 37 why you love your boyfriend and reason # 645 why it’s just plain bad to be obese
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Rebecca Adler
    2008-05-14 21:29:44

    Liesel: Hahahaha!
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Colin Matthew
    2008-05-31 21:39:18

    Oh my god. That’s gross.

    but funny…

    but still gross..
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Natasha Burton
    2008-06-04 09:09:06

    This reminds me of an “urban legend” that went around my high school. Basically, a guy passed out with some girl after a night of drinking, went to the bathroom in his boxers while sleeping and then, upon waking up, took the poop out of his boxers (somehow, no ones knows) and put it into her underwear so she thought she was one who crapped her pants.

    At best, it was a funny/scary story that made me very suspect about drinking in high school (I was–am–such a goody two shoes). At worst, I never looked at the guy the same way again, and when I did, I laughed.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Becca
    2008-06-10 14:28:06

    Natasha: I’m horrified by that story. Ick, ick and more ick.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Jeffrey Pillow
    2008-08-03 10:01:09

    Goes great with pizza and orange juice.
    Reply to this comment

    Comment by brenda
    2008-09-02 12:18:25

    This is a little late, but as for the Toxic Shock Syndrome story, I can validate it. Your Boyfriends story is correct! My co-workers husband (I know that is how all Urban Legends start, but really) works for Betty’s parents. My co-worker came in every day and gave me detailed updates on Betty.

    All I can say is KEEP UP on you monthly visitor and go to the doc if she doesn’t visit in a few months. Don’t wait 6 months with back pains and flu symptoms, especially if you are trying to conceive your second child.

    And yes it did turn out to be fatal.
    Reply to this comment
    Comment by Rebecca Adler
    2008-09-04 21:06:36

    Brenda, that’s so awful that it was fatal. I feel really bad for writing about this so flippantly knowing that….
    Reply to this comment

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