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Scarlet Fever

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Those Good Old Time Diseases

August 25, 2017

I was a first-grader at Van Nuys Elementary School the first time I came into contact with the medical system. As a healthy child, the only thing that slowed me down was the occasional off-color weenie on “Hot Dog Friday.” None of the hair-netted ladies behind the steam table thought for a minute that I could have something as serious as Ptomaine Poisoning and wouldn’t have been able to recognize it even if I had. Instead, one of them took off her apron and marched me downstairs to the nurse’s office where she laid me down on an old army cot that smelled of other 6-year-old kids.

Nurse Blumenthal looked like every other grammar school nurse – a clinical version of the Pillsbury Doughboy with a red cross centered squarely on the front of her hat. She was probably a cracker-jack clinician at some point in her career. But, you could sense that 30 years of working nights at the V.A. hospital had eroded her diagnostic skills to the point where she was grateful just to have a place to spend the twilight years of her career. read more

All Entries Health Home Life Humor Medicine

Better Living through Drug Addiction

November 18, 2016

I’m hopelessly addicted to drugs. You name a pill, syrup, lotion, cream, antacid, vitamin, tranquilizer, hormone, douche or suppository and I’ve not only taken it, but I’ve abused it. Largely because I have an addictive personality. Anything worth taking is worth taking a lot.

In all fairness, I can’t take the blame for my wayward behavior. It began the day I popped out of my mother’s womb when the pediatric nurses started basting me with petroleum jelly and baby lotion like I was a Thanksgiving turkey. In those days, babies were always covered with something. Pediatricians were convinced by the drug companies that it was dangerous for a baby’s skin to come in direct contact with the air or sunlight without a protective layer of gook. Then came the decongestant drops and saline nasal sprays they shot up my nose – which would come in handy years later when I got addicted to cocaine.

Expectant mothers today are lucky if they spend 24 hours in the maternity ward. Doctors almost recommend that new dads just leave the engine running. Thanks to  new insurance guidelines, babies are delivered faster than you can lance a boil. When I was born, new mothers were allowed to wile away a week or more in the hospital after giving birth before they were sent home. That gave newborns plenty of opportunities to get strung out on all sorts of drugs and be exposed to leprosy from the guy down the hall. There wasn’t much to do in the pediatric ward as a child, so I started smoking cigarettes and hanging out with a rough bunch of newborns in “The Cribs.” We were constantly in trouble with the staff for soiling our diapers, spitting up our breakfast and peeing on people whenever they picked us up. By the time I left the hospital, I was hopelessly strung out on the Pedialyte they gave me to counter the dehydration from a week of projectile vomiting and diarrhea. read more

All Entries Family Health Humor

Dealin’ Delbert’s Fine Used Babies

August 11, 2016

With the economy in the toilet for the third straight year, Matt and Kimberly Williams were beginning to doubt they’d ever be able to afford the large brood of kids they dreamed about while dating at Harvard. Matt lost his job as the Chief Financial Officer at Preston Porsche & Audi, while Kimberly was reduced to reading Tarot Cards in their basement.

In addition to building a life filled with memories and adventures, the couple was looking ahead to the practical aspects of having children – cheap labor for household chores and someone to roll them over and change their diapers when they slipped into old age. The problem, however, was the cost of having children the conventional way. To make matters worse, Kimberly didn’t want to endure the pain of childbirth or lose her sorority-sister figure, so the couple began contemplating adoption.

“Are you sure?” asked Matt. “When you buy a used baby, you never know if there’s anything wrong with it until you get it home. Who was the previous owner? How well did they maintain them? Have they been in any accidents, and if so, how badly were they damaged? You just can’t tell by looking at them.” read more

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