Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Crazy Mystery Case of the Man With the Giant Head

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There are a plethora of diseases out there in the world that are extremely rare and sometimes

hard to diagnose.

Some diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can hit a person and often doctors really

dont know how to treat it.

Sufferers can hardly move for days on end, and theres not much the medical community

can do to help them.

Then theres the mysterious Morgellons disease, described as people having small fibers or

tiny particles emerging from their skin sores.

It feels like things crawling on them.

It can be ruinous, yet it remains pretty much a controversial mystery.

And you certainly dont want the condition known as Pica, which might drive a person

to eat rocks, sand, glass, and in one extreme case bicycles, TVs, shopping carts, and an

entire Cessna 150 airplane.

Today we have a case for you which astounded people this year.

The case of a Filipino man whose head swelled so much some media reported it to be three

times bigger than it was when he was in good health.

There are numerous photographs of this man out there as well as a sad-looking video of

him playing guitar and singing.

What the viewer sees is something that could be said to be very strange and sad, so much

so a person might wonder if these images have been doctored and its all a big hoax.

If it is a hoax, that hasnt stopped news media from all over the world publishing the

photos and telling the story.

The man we are talking about is called Romulo Pilapil.

He was 56 when the news reports were circulating around the Internet in July this year.

You can see before and after photos of this carpenter from the Philippines and the after

photo is nothing short of extraordinary.

His head is indeed incredibly swollen, as if it has been pumped-up.

His lips looks like theyve been inflated; his eyes swollen beyond recognition.

He also has quite a slight frame, which accentuates his oversized head.

(use photo

Heres the story of what happened to him, according to those reports.

Around three years ago he developed sinus problems as well as itchy eyes, something

anyone who's had allergic rhinitis, aka, hay fever, has to put up with at various times

in their life.

But Romulos condition got worse.

He was of course just diagnosed at the beginning with having sinus problems, but then things

started to swell.

It became unbearable for him and in time his eyes swelled so much that he couldnt see.

Because of that he couldnt work, and financial troubles ensued.

At the time doctors on the island of Leyte where he lives said they just didnt know

what was happening to him and he needed to go to Manila to get treatment.

That was hard because he had no job and not enough funds to travel to the capital and

receive treatment.

In photos taken in what is presumably his home, an edifice built from wood and corrugated

iron, its clear that he is quite poor.

Its reported that his kids had to drop out of school to work and his wife had to

take a job as a street sweeper.

He was put on a course of medicine to treat his swelling, but nothing seemed to work.

You can only imagine how alarmed this man would be looking in the mirror and seeing

his head expand like that.

His nephew, John Santos, told the media, “His eyes looked irritated that day, and his nose

was red.

He had colds so everybody thought it was sinusitis, then his face started to swell.”

John said no local doctors knew what to do with his uncle and they just said he needed

to see a specialist.

That wasnt possible and Romulo lived with this swollen head, unable to work and no doubt

in some amount of pain.

The western media stopped there.

End of story.

This case was so bad some people have commented that it wasnt real, that it was some kind

of hoax.

For that reason we tried to find the source of the information.

We dont want to be telling you stories that arent true.

We tried to find Romulos story in the media of the Philippines and it seems it wasnt

reported in the oldest English language newspaper, the Manila Times.

We also tried to find it in the Philippine Star newspaper and the Manila Bulletin and

a Google search didnt provide us with a story.

Is this a case of one tabloid writing a story and every other tabloid repeating the same

story, whats sometimes calledchurnalismor possibly a case of fake news churnalism?

From what we can see, the stories from each news media organization or blog or website

postingviralcontent use the same photos, same quotes, and tell the same story.

The news also appears on various video news media, but again the source doesnt look

like it did much investigating and instead repeated the story everyone else has told.

In the comments sections of various media and on YouTube clips people do seem to believe

the story, but we want to know for sure that this is not some kind of deep fakesome

people have made that accusation.

Surely scores of well-known media wouldnt publish a deep fake hoax as a real story and

would have done their due diligence.

From what we can see, some sources tell the story and then say something like, “according

to the Daily Mailoraccording to the Daily Mirrorand that could be in numerous

languages from different countries.

We even tried to find a Romulo Pilapil on Facebook, and while we found lots of people

with that name we couldnt find an account with a profile photo that matched our man,

before or after.

And as he cant see and is oldish and poor, its very unlikely hed have an account.

We doubt social media is high on his list of concerns.

Finally though we had a breakthrough.

We found the Facebook page of a man called John Kevin Delos Santos, the name of the nephew.

He posted the story of Romulo and asked for help, and then left phone numbers for people

to call.

Of the 28,000-plus people that commented on one post many of them left the hashtag #KMJS,

which stands forKapuso Mo, Jessica Sohoand is a television news magazine show in

the Philippines.

Some people even asked Senator and renowned boxer Manny Pacquiao to come to Romulos


We went through Johns photos, which were public, and indeed found more photos of Romulo

from the past.

In some of these his head was bandaged and its a sad sight to see.

We also found more video footage of Romulo sitting on a chair while what looks like his

family standing around him.

A woman seems to be praying for him and while his eyes are swollen shut, tears seem to be

falling down his face.

At the end everyone sings happy birthday to him.

As we said, we just wanted to check this before we told you the story was real.

We can say that it looks real, so now we need to try and understand what happened to Romulo.

Its certainly a horrific case of swelling that must be very, very rare and we hope this

man can get the money to find a specialist who can help him.

Thousands of people have seen this video, and at least in the Philippines, many people

wished him good luck and blessed him.

One such comment, translated into English, read, “Happy birthday.

Get well soon papa.

God knows everything for the good and you will get well soon.

Just hold on.

Don't give up.”

In fact, the majority of comments tell the sick man that God will look after him, and

while we dont want to dispute this, we think what he also needs is some money to

travel and to see a medical professional who can reverse that extreme swelling.

What Romulo needs is to see clearly again; to have his singing mouth back like it was

in the past, to be able to blow out his birthday candles like he could do before he was visited

upon by this unusual condition.

But what could he have?

What happened to him?

Well, weve all heard of severe allergic reactions to certain foods, say peanuts or

shellfish or tree nuts, and we know that these reactions could cause swelling of the face.

This can be deadly as the swelling can make it hard to breathe.

But with this kind of reaction, called anaphylaxis, it tends to go down quite quickly.

As we know, Romulo has been this way for a long time and doctors would know very well

if it was anaphylaxis.

We found something called Angioedema, which can also cause swelling of the lips and eyes,

but in most cases this goes down, too.

This could be an allergic reaction to food or prescribed medicine, but it could also

be hereditary.

Britains NHS tells us that hereditary angioedema can't be cured, but with medication it can

be treated quickly.

There can be severe cases, and it could have simply happened because an insect bit him.

It might also have been caused by lupus or leukemia.

But again, it should be treatable even if severe.

Because Romulo has seen doctors and taken meds and his condition is still said to be

mysterious, perhaps its not that either.

On the Facebook page of the nephew numerous times its said that doctors just cant

come up with a diagnosis.

We did find one story in the Atlantic, though, about a girl whose face swelled and she had

rashes and it wouldnt go away.

She was quoted as saying, “I awoke one morning with a thick, swollen tongue, half-shut eyes,

and red welts the size of half-dollars across my body.”

She went to see many doctors for months and they couldnt make it disappear.

She said she had angioedema, but hers just hung around and made her life hell.

She wrote, “Every morning there are new hives, different things swollen.

Perpetually tumescent, I've become a living blow-up doll.”

Shes says shes just learned to live with it, and while this must be very hard

its likely her case of swelling isnt anything near as extreme as Romulos.

We would also think that Romulo has been given antihistamines and the immune suppressing

steroid Prednisone, which is given to decrease inflammation in patients.

We also found one report from the National Institutes of Health that said one 27-year

American man suffering from Angioedema was treated with steroids and antihistamines.

He improved, but the moment he stopped taking them it came back.

That report tells us, “Consequently, we decided to try a course of inhaled cannabis

as modulators of immune cell functions.

The use of inhaled cannabis resulted in a complete response, and he has been free of

symptoms for 2 years.”

Is there a chance that if Romulo has an extreme case of Angioedema that this could work for


We looked at other conditions which could cause the face to swell such as Cushing's

syndrome, but from the example photographs we saw peoples faces werent anywhere

near as swollen as Romulos.

In fact, its hard to find a case of facial swelling as bad as his.

We did find one instance in which a mans face was terribly swollen, much like Romulos


This was in 2015 when a Chinese factory worker was rushed to hospital after his face swelled

to enormous proportions.

Central European News reported that several hospitals turned the man away because they

didnt know how to treat him, but one doctor diagnosed him as having something called neonatal


This is an exceptionally rare skin disease that can be fatal.

The doctor who treated the Chinese patient said the culprit was likely a mosquito, adding

that if the critter gets a person in the lymph node it could cause this kind of intense swelling.

According to some sources, this condition might stick around.

Still, looking at photographs we cant find a case that matches Romulos, and apparently

the Chinese man was fine soon after seeing a doctor.

Unfortunately, we at the Infographics Show are not medical experts and so cant say

what happened to Romulo, but we hope his condition changes.

We have tried to contact the nephew to check on his uncles condition but so far havent

had a reply.

Well let you know if he gets in touch with us.

Until then, could any of you offer an opinion?

We saw how well crowdsourcing worked for the New York Times writer and doctor who turned

her stories of undiagnosable diseases into a Netflix show.

Maybe you can help out, if so, tell us in the comments.

Also, be sure to check out our other video The Only Man To Survive TWO Nuclear Bombs.

Thanks for watching, and as always, dont forget to like, share and subscribe.

See you next time.

The Description of The Crazy Mystery Case of the Man With the Giant Head