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Man Coughs Up Nail

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Original Title:
Man Coughs UP Nail 35 Years After Accident

In 1970, a bizarre gardening accident embedded a small nail deep inside Guy "Bud" Hart's body.

More than 35 years later, the nail made an unexpected return, much to Hart's surprise.

The Placerville man was stunned earlier this month when a coughing fit expelled the inch-long sliver of metal, completing its decades-long trek inside the 84-year-old's body.

"I didn't think something like that could happen," Hart said.

The story of Hart and his unexpected passenger began in Minnesota back in 1970. While mowing grass one day, Hart felt a slight pain in his throat and saw a small trickle of blood.

"It was like a bee sting," Hart said. "But I didn't think much of it."

Hart wasn't overly alarmed, but just hours later, the discomfort began.

"The next day, when I coughed, it was like I had a hot knife in there, cutting me," Hart said.

His family rushed him to the hospital with a 105-degree temperature. There, doctors found the culprit, a small nail that had dropped down inside Hart's body cavity and nestled inside his ribcage.

Doses of penicillin helped Hart heal, but since removing the metal would require major surgery and doctors suspected the nail would seal itself off in Hart's body, the foreign object was forgotten for years.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," Hart said.

Years later, the nail turned up again on a doctor's x-ray, but again, the unobtrusive item was left alone.

Then, three weeks ago, an internal camera captured an image of the nail during a routine doctor's office visit. But it wasn't in Hart's ribcage area as he'd always thought -- the object was actually in Hart's lung. As Hart and his doctors made plans to remove the nail once and for all, natural physiology took over.

Hart was in the bathroom, brushing his teeth last week when the 35-year partnership finally came to an end.

"I'd been having this tickle in my throat," Hart said. "Pretty soon, I started coughing. And it plopped right out."

Since the pair were separated, Hart's been feeling fine and doctors have no reason to think the nail had any lasting impact on his health.

Hart keeps the nail in a small plastic bag but doesn't have any long-term plans about what to do with the strange artifact.

"Sell it to the Smithsonian Institute?" Hart laughed. "No, I never gave it much thought.

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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