Imagine living with a thermometer stuck inside your lungs. That is exactly what a woman in China has been doing for the past 44 years.

The women, identified as Liu, told doctors that she accidentally swallowed the thermometer when she was 12-years-old. At the time her family could not financially afford to have the thermometer removed, and it never caused her any trouble. According to MSNBC, Liu's doctors just discovered the object in her left lung during a routine checkup. Doctors feel that if the 2-inch-long tool breaks it could cause serious damage to Liu's body due to the mercury.

Mercury, an element of the earth's crust, can be found in fish as well as items in the home, like a thermometer. Exposure to mercury is more commonly found from the consumption of fish. According to, at high levels the element may cause harm to the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system. However, how severe the effects are depends on many factors. Chemical form of mercury, the age of the person exposed, the duration of time exposed and the general health of the person exposed to mercury all contribute to how harmful the exposure is.

If exposed, symptoms of mercury may include impaired peripheral vision, pins and needles feeling, poor coordination, impaired senses as well as muscle weakness.

Liu's doctors are currently unsure how to remove the thermometer. For fear of mercury poisoning, they're going to have to play a real-life version of the popular board game Operation.