A firefighter said he was almost dead and underwent an open heart surgery due to a piece of popcorn stuck between his teeth.
The father of three Adam Martin ends up fighting for life after his fight to get the sweet surprise out of his mouth.
The 41-year-old was told he hadn’t gone to the GP when he did “he could have died in three days”.
Adam had contracted an infection called endocarditis that occurs when germs from another part of your body, such as the mouth, spread through the bloodstream and damage areas of the heart.
Doctors questioned him about a possible cause and the only thing Adam can think of that may have caused the infection is his constant gasp and grasping of food between his teeth, Cornwall Live reports.
Adam said he blocked everything from a pen lid, a puzzle, a piece of metal wire and even a metal nail in his mouth in a desperate attempt to remove popcorn.
The constant play with his mouth caused his toothache after he had damaged his gum, but instead of going to the dentist he did nothing.
A week later Adam developed night sweats, fatigue, headaches and finally a heart murmur, all of which are signs of the infection.
The Coverack firefighter in Cornwall said: “The doctors told me that if I didn’t go to the GP when I did, I could have died in three days.
“Most people die when they’re at 350 degrees on an infection scale and I die at 340. The infection completely destroyed my heart valves.
“If I had gone to the dentist in the first place, none of this would have happened. At one point it was quite touching and gone. It was the worst experience of my life.
“I wasn’t far from the door of death and I’m extremely lucky. Popcorn stuck between my teeth is the only possible cause that comes to mind. I will never eat popcorn again, that’s for sure.”
Adam’s fatal ordeal began when he shared a lot of popcorn while watching a movie with his wife, Helen, 38, in late September.
The popcorn got stuck in a tooth in the back left of his mouth, drove him crazy for three days and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t take it off.
Adam admits that he was playing with his rubber with random things he found lying around to remove it.
A week later Adam developed what appeared to be a cold, which then turned into what was supposed to be the flu, and went to his GP on October 7th.
Doctors diagnosed a mild heart murmur and sent it for blood tests and x-rays, which returned showing nothing more significant than the slightly raised inflammation markers.
Adam was sent home with medicines to recover under his own steam, but a few days later, he still had flu-like symptoms.
He also developed a blood bubble on the tip, which was later diagnosed as a Janeway injury, an external indication of infectious endocarditis.
Endocarditis is an infection of the endocardium, which is the inner lining of the heart chambers and heart valves.
It can lead to the spread of bacteria through the bloodstream and damage areas of the heart. If not treated quickly, endocarditis can damage or destroy the heart valves.
Concerned about his deteriorating current conditions, Adam went to Royal Cornwall Hospital on October 18th.
He said, “I had a feeling there was something seriously wrong. I slept a lot and felt very bad.
“I had pain in my legs and I wasn’t feeling well at all. I was hospitalized the same day for tests. At this point I was very worried.
“I was feeling pretty bad and I knew I wasn’t right at all.”
Muscle pain in the leg turned out to be an infected clot, wedged in the femoral artery which required a five-hour operation to clear.
Adam was treated with drugs to combat the infection, but chest scans revealed that his heart had been badly damaged and needed urgent surgery.
He was transferred to Derriford hospital on October 21 and underwent a seven-hour open heart surgery to replace the aortic valve and repair the mitral valve, damaged by the infection.
Adam said: “My heart was no longer functioning properly. It was essentially destroyed. The infection had destroyed the valves.
“First I should have gone to the dentist. I don’t want anyone to go through what I’ve done.
“It all happened so fast and he made sketches. I won’t go near popcorn again, that’s for sure.
“It is foolish to think that all this happened for this. It was something so trivial.”
Adam made a rapid recovery after the surgery and returned home to his wife, Helen, and three children Megan, 15, Holly, 14 and George, seven, in late October.
Teacher Helen said, “Any sign of toothache, bleeding gums, abscesses: check it out!
“It is also worth noting the date in case” flu-like symptoms “occur. If Adam’s infection had been previously detected, it could have been treated with antibiotics.
“Your gums are a bacterial highway for your heart.”