Woman surprised by attention after admitting she swallowed ring

Diane Bell
The San Diego Union-Tribune

“So, in case you missed it, I swallowed my engagement ring in my sleep on Tuesday night.”

That was how San Diegan Jenna Evans, 29, began her Sept. 12 Facebook post.

She proceeded to give details about a vivid dream involving a high-speed train, bad guys in pursuit, and her fiance urging her to swallow her diamond engagement ring to keep it safe. So she took it off her finger and gulped it down – in her sleep.

Probably few Americans, or Europeans, for that matter, missed Evans’ story. Maybe space station astronauts and researchers working in the Arctic remained unaware. It was picked up on local media plus CNN, NBC News, the Today Show, CBS News, USA Today, even BBC and numerous tabloids across the pond.

Her revelation was broadcast on “Inside Edition.” But, of course.

She was interviewed by three radio stations in New Zealand (after all, “The Lord of the Rings” was filmed there) and contacted by Yahoo Lifestyle of Australia. One woman informed Evans she read the hard-to-swallow story while having coffee in Hong Kong.

Evans, an IT specialist, has had little chance to sleep, let alone dream, since her saga hit the news last weekend.

Going viral: Within five days, her Sept. 12 Facebook post had attracted 117,000 likes, 68,000 shares and 42,000 comments.

She has read many of them. “Amazingly, a lot of people said, ‘I did something very similar,’” Evans said.

About 15 attested to having accidentally swallowed AirPods or foam rubber ear plugs. Some talked about dreams of eating a marshmallow or popcorn. One woman swallowed a household cleaning liquid because she inadvertently left the bottle on her nightstand, awoke thirsty and groggily downed it.

Several women told Evans they had swallowed earrings. Others related having dreams that their husbands made them angry and they’d taken off their rings and thrown them across the room in their sleep, Evans said.

Her Facebook entry recounts her visit to urgent care, the X-rays that clearly show her ring mid-torso, the medical procedure by Sharp Rees-Stealy gastroenterologist Andrew Su to remove it, and her post-operative celebration with her fiance. Famished, she headed right to In-n-Out Burger (no pun intended) despite her doctor’s suggested menu of soup, yogurt and light fare.

While her platinum ring with about 2.4 carats of diamonds emerged from the endoscopy procedure not so shiny, Evans’ humor has sparkled throughout.

Unexpected aftermath: She was surprised by the media attention. “I would have thought there were more important things happening in the world than this,” said Evans. But she’s happy about the lighthearted nature of her story, in which she pokes fun at herself and makes people chuckle. “I’m not trying to change the world. I’m not trying to make a statement. It makes me feel good to make other people laugh.”

Well, not all people. She has gotten unsolicited advice about her diet, snarky analyses of her X-ray photos, orders to see a dream analyst and condemnations of her stupidity and materialism. The hurtful, judgmental responses were not to her Facebook saga, she said, but rather to news coverage.

“My guess is news posts don’t provide as much context,” Evans theorized. “It sounds like a stupid thing to do if you don’t read about it in context. You have to see the humor in it.”

Apparently major media agree because they are seeking her out. ABC’s “Good Morning America” flew Evans and her fiance, Bob Howell, and his two kids to New York to be on Thursday’s GMA3 edition with Strahan, Sara and Keke. Fox’s “America’s Newsroom” also has contacted her.

As for her fiance, Evans said, “He’s a trooper. He’s really encouraging.” She sought his approval before doing any news interviews.

“If I had known it was going to go viral, I don’t think I would have shared it publicly,” she said in retrospect. “I know people on the Internet can be cruel. It’s hard to take such criticism from people.” In fact, she says if she were to do it over, she would limit Facebook shares to her friends – with one exception, that is. If Ellen DeGeneres called, it would be worth enduring the public humiliation just to meet her idol.

Evans no longer worries about swallowing her ring because she isn’t wearing it to bed any more.

Turns out, there was some useful counsel from those givers of free advice, after all. Sleeping while wearing a ring can result in a scratched cornea, and its prongs can snag on the bed sheet and loosen.