Get diagnosed…at the airport By Dr. Dave Hepburn

Dr. Dave Hepburn:

Being a Wisequack means making wisecracks at every opportunity where doing so fulfills some innate need in my soul to prevent me from ever truly maturing. I remain in the chrysalis phase of life and doubt I will ever really metamorphosize into the butterfly or a Sear sucker munching moth that I should be. Fellow Wisequack Rob Sealey is frankly, well…larval.

And so it was that traveling back from Phoenix, I couldn’t resist myself while standing in a full body scanner at airport security with my arms in the air looking like I got my shoulder joints stuck halfway though performing the crowd “wave” at my son’s hockey game.

I turned to the TSA security gal and winked “I feel like I need a smoke. Was it good for you?” But my wife thought that this was pretty lame repartee for me. “What you should have said dear” she suggested “is “Ummm listen, I was just swimming….”” “Babe, that’s a great line!! That’s absolutely hilari…wait a second!”  “…in the Arctic Ocean.”

Gone thru the full body scanner yet? The technique usually involves FM radio waves which, if tuned properly should be playing Barrys White and Manilow, given the intimate experience that awaits. For those who prefer not to go through these scanners, you can opt, as Sealey does, for a pat down. In fact, I heard him once ask for a cavity search believing he could get a cheap dental check up. Should have seen the size of his pupils after his check up, as “they checked up everything except my friggin’ teeth.”

But taking a good look inside our bodies is a huge part of everyday medicine and as technology reveals new technological technologies, diagnostic imaging has improved dramatically. One of the brightest new lights is the PET scan, more commonly known as  positron emission tomography.

Positron Emission Tomography - Dr. David Hepburn
Positron Emission Tomography – Dr. David Hepburn

Getting all the details from the pet shop boys, I am told that PET scans are extremely sensitive scans that allows doctors to see how organs function rather than simply looking at a fuzzy still image of them. It’s like the difference between snapping a still photo of, say a parliamentary debate or actually watching a 3D video of assorted vegetables, clothing accessories, pagers, pages being hurled across those esteemed seats of government. PET scans like to look at the metabolically active areas of our body that use a lot of energy ie. sugar that comes from our diet, our tissues and of course our lovely Snickers Bar organ.

Currently, PET scans are most commonly dealing with detecting and assessing treatment of cancer. When a cancer occurs in our body, the nasty cancer cells are very metabolically active as they multiply like an Osmond family in the spring.  Because those cells are so active, they suck up a lot of sugar, virtually stealing it from the rest of the body and literally starving out our pleasant normal cells.

This starvation is why the symptom of “unexplained weight loss” may be an indication that there is an active cancer. PET scans actually show us where there is this increased metabolic activity in our body. If it locates an area of high metabolic activity then there could well be a cancer present. If during cancer treatment, a PET scan shows no decrease in that metabolic activity, then that particular treatment regime may not be working so well.

Besides the cancer world, PET scans are also very useful in detecting heart problems (such as coronary artery disease and damage to the heart following a heart attack), brain disorders (including brain tumors, memory disorders, seizures) and other central nervous system disorders.

But a Pet peeve that many of us have is that while there is a Pet scanner in every hospital, clinic and Burger King in the US, it is rare to spot a stray pet anywhere in Canada. The only Pet scans in my city are when Tinkymuffin, the family Shih-tsu scans the kitchen table when you take a bathroom break. But should, one day, you decide to get a PET scan, or a body scan of any type… don’t go swimming first.


Useless organs By dr. David Hepburn

Dr. David Hepburn: 

Leo, my Havanese dog (by the way, we Havanese owners are an uppity bunch and always use the word “Havanese” when referring to our “dog” so that you don’t think we are owners of a Shih-tsu or Deputy Dawg) wears his emotions on his butt. Happy, and his tail becomes a weapon of mass destruction. Sad and it wilts like a Viagra failure. Excited and it becomes a merry-go-round game to pursue, Frightened and it somehow makes him look bigger like a fuzzy toy rabbit, albeit a fierce-some one, of course.

But how important is a tail to we bipeds? In fact, what is your most useless organ? (My wife’s response was “What or who?”) Turns out we have several organs and tissue, that are vestigial, just junk in our trunk. Useless, useless, useless, Trump, useless…or are they?


The tailbone, more fun to call coccyx if you’re a ten year old tempting your naughty vocabulary, is a collection of five fused (or sometimes separate) vertebrae. These fused vertebrae are the only vestiges that are left of the tail that other mammals still use for balance (cheetah), communication, (lions) and, for some primates in Africa and DC, as a prehensile limb. However, the coccyx, unlike Washington, isn’t completely useless. It allows ligaments, tendons, and muscles to attach to it that have a few important functions, including the role it plays in enabling us to sit properly. The coccyx used to be removed when people injured them but nowadays it is rarely taken out.

Coccyx Bone - Dr. David Hepburn
Coccyx Bone – Dr. David Hepburn

There are cases of infants born with extra vertebrae, giving them tails. There are no real adverse health effects of such a tail, unless perhaps the child was born in the Dark Ages. In that case, the child and the mother, now considered witches, would’ve been killed instantly, which we usually file under adverse health effects.


The tonsils are another useless part of the body that can cause a bit of grief. Open your mouth wide and you’ll see a tonsil on each side of your throat, unless you’ve had them removed, in which case you’re much less likely to see them. Tonsils lurk about the back of your throat while adenoids hang out in the back of your nose. Tonsils and adenoids (T&A) are lymphoid tissues that are prone, in kids, to becoming infected and inflamed and as such were indiscriminate targets of scalpels.

Tonsillectomies would cause kids to miss school and eat way too much ice cream, making them sick yet again. Any child with a decent criminal bent could stretch this surgery-induced holiday to two weeks, particularly if you suggested that your coccyx was also sore. I am proud to say that I missed 136 days in Grade 3, just shy of the record set by Capone. But are they troublesome, evolutionary vestiges or ardent defenders of the body? Both tissues function in antibody production and cell-mediated immunity and might well be important as a lymphoid defense mechanism organ in the upper respiratory tract.

Doctors are now a little more reluctant to remove the tonsils or the adenoids no matter how badly Junior snores, snorts or schnoozles. When studies indicated that there was no decrease in the number of colds, sore throats, and other respiratory infections between children who had them removed, and those who did not, Benny & Jerry stocks completely tanked.

Vermiform Appendix.

The appendix is a narrow, muscular tube that attaches to the large intestine. Its purpose was to digest cellulose back when we were cattle or sheep or dentists. But as we have advanced our diet to one of less prehistoric tree bark and more Snickers Bars, the appendix seems useless, unless you’re a surgeon who spends way too much time playing Blackjack. But recently it was discovered that the appendix actually stores good bacteria that can be used to repopulate the gut in cases of severe diarrhea.

It is a reservoir of probiotics! While not so important in countries not devastated by diarrheal diseases, those who live in nations with poor sanitation may need these in-house probiotics. The vermiform (meaning “worm”like) appendix really did resemble a worm when I was living in the jungles of Vanuatu and took out appendices that were jammed up by the disgustingly large Ascaris worms.

Appendix- Dr. David Hepburn
Appendix- Dr. David Hepburn

OK, enough for today as I have been sitting here way too long typing up this life-saving information and frankly… my coccyx needs some ice cream.

Mosquito Misery By Dr. David Hepburn

Dr. David Hepburn:

I take my Aunt Bertha with me to a lot of functions, specifically outdoor functions.

“Wow she must be cool!”

Well no, not really. She’s 5’3” tall and 5’4” across. She sweats like an artesian well and her dentures have a life of their own. But mosquitoes love her and always select her over me. So I dress her up in a dark muumuu and take her with me to BBQ’s and bonfires. When I go snipe hunting at night, I get her to hold the “flashlight” for me. She is my own personal citronella coil. For those of you who think this is mercenary of me, buzzzzz off. Keep in mind that she gets free burgers and plenty of exercise slapping at her neck and ankles.

Mosquito bite - Dr. Dave Hepburn
Mosquito bite – Dr. Dave Hepburn

Why are some people mosquito magnets while others, like myself, are so completely repulsive? Bertha is among the 20 percent of people who are high attractor types, not to be confused with highly attractive types. Noting that Bertha is rather Rubenesque and tends to give off a pong like a hockey bag in a Phoenix summer, mosquitoes, who typically will hone in on dark, odiferous objects, salivate when she is in the area.

The main smell that attracts these flying syringes is CO2, better known as what my sons like to power their BB guns with, prior to firing them indiscriminately in the direction of the neighbor’s greenhouse. Those with higher metabolic rates produce more carbon dioxide, as do larger people and pregnant women. In addition, other smells, emanating from: estrogen, exercise-induced lactic acid and even acetone from your breath, mark you as a good landing spot. Your body temperature, or warmth can make it worse. Mosquitoes may flock to pregnant women because of their extra body heat.

Here are a few other fascinating facts for dinnertime discussion tonight, should that discussion tend in the direction of mosquitoes, the tax man or other blood sucking pests.

-Some mosquito species are leg and ankle biters; they cue into the stinky smell of bacteria on your feet.

-Other species prefer the head, neck and arms perhaps because of the warmth and closeness to carbon dioxide released by your mouth.

-Mosquitoes are more attracted to women than to men, particularly ovulating women.

-Given the choice, mosquitoes would usually rather bite a blonde. Absolutely true! In fact, my blonde friend, aware of this, bought a large scarf for a recent bonfire. (She returned it later saying that it was too tight.)

-Mosquitoes like to aim for moving targets. The Maple Leafs are bite-free.

-Biting increases 500 times during a full moon so… reduce your full moons under a full moon.

-When female mosquitoes drink blood, they leave a small puddle of urine on their victim’s skin. Adds a little insult to injury.

-Only females make that annoying high pitched sound. Mosquitoes too.

-The more times you get bitten by a particular species of mosquito, the less you’ll react to that species over time. Great? There’s more than 3,000 species worldwide.

-Garlic mosquito repellant is fairly effective. Also significantly reduces vampire attacks.

-Mosquito zappers may be popular, but they very rarely capture mosquitoes.

-Mosquito traps that are most successful are those which emanate the same odors, CO2, octenol, heat as Bertha. Personally I just use Bertha herself, adding “You would look absolutely incredible as a blonde. Trust me, I’m a doctor.”

-Even though they seem to move quickly, the average mosquito can only fly up to 1.5 miles per hour. The one exception is the one, obviously into the Red Bull, that spent the entire night in my tent last week at approximately 1500 mph.

-Most mosquito species can only fly about 300 feet before they need to rest. They leave you, fly 150 feet, turn around and 150 feet later, stop for a rest.

-A mosquito flaps it’s wings between 400 and 700 times per second. Ralph Swanson, the man who counted these flaps will attest to this if you talk to him up at the sanitorium. I stop in and see him when… I go to pick up Bertha.

Are you pro probiotics? – By Dr. Dave Hepburn

This column is only for billionaires, which… is all of you. You are rolling in veritable vault-loads of bacteria. You’re a bacterial billionaire. Some of your teenagers are extremely wealthy, as are their hockey bags. In fact, for every single cell in your body you have ten bacteria; on your skin, in your mouth, genital tract, your jockstraps and helmets.

Your colon, you’ll be thrilled to know, is the happy hellish home to most of these billions. But don’t be in a hurry to try and get rid of them courtesy of some primitive cultish practice like voodoo or colon cleansing, the latter which not only does no good whatsoever but may in fact be harmful. (For those gullible colon cleansing folks…you’ve been hosed…so to speak.) Stick to voodoo like my patients do, which may be the reason Dr. Dave bobbleheads are being snapped off the shelves and I have a constant pain in my prostate.

Your bowels are teeming with lovely, yet sensitive, bacteria with names like E.coli and Petunia. However, your bowels also contain a bowlful of nastier, tougher, bacteria with names like Clostridia and Kevin. All of these bowel beauties, good and bad, compete for your pop tarts. Millions of them eagerly waiting in the bowels of your bowels with saliva dripping from their wee bacterial beaks. Sleep well now, Billy.

Bowel Bacterias Dr. Dave Hepburn
Bowel Bacterias – Dr. Dave Hepburn

Normally, the Petunias and those of similar ilk outnumber the nasty fellas significantly, a good thing for keeping your bowel flora and fauna in balance, albeit an uneasy one. The good flora, as mentioned, are a sensitive lot and should they be insulted by say an antibiotic or a foreign invader, they get nervous, can’t eat and often faint. The hardier, evil bugs don’t care and so they take over the pop tart smorgasbord, and in so doing can cause some rather unacceptable symptoms like bloody diarrhea, pain, cramps and death and stuff.

So in this ongoing battle of the gut it makes sense to send in reinforcements from time to time. Welcome probiotics. Yes, you can deliberately add more of these sweet germy gems to that twisting cauldron of poop. That, in fact, is what a probiotic is.

The most famous probiotic is, of course, lactobacillus, found in yogurt. When I first learned of the enormous bacterial count in yogurt I was quite viscerally affected, which may explain the reflexive gagging sounds I make when I spot a roving Yoplait in aisle 6 at the Piggly Wiggly. It also explains why I reach for the soothing Snickers bars to make me feel better as no bacteria could ever survive in my Snickers bars thank you very much. But knowing what I do now about how great probiotics can be, I can almost tolerate a yogurt in the same room, as long as the lid is on and it doesn’t look me directly in the eye.

Lactobacillus - Dr. Hepburn
Lactobacillus – Dr. Hepburn

A live probiotic, taken at the same time that you might have to go on antibiotics, can restore the strength of the good bacteria, preventing the diarrhea often seen in those on antibiotics. Probiotics can also be useful in actually treating good old fashioned infectious diarrhea and possibly even irritable bowel syndrome. In addition to GI problems, probiotics are also considered in the treatment of vaginal, skin and respiratory infections and might even prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Most probiotics are bacteria similar to those naturally found in people’s guts, especially in those of breast fed infants (who have natural protection against many diseases.) Probiotics are available as supplements but are also found in foods like fermented and unfermented milk, miso, tempeh, and some juices and soy beverages. The bacteria may exist in these foods naturally or be added during preparation. Isn’t that a lovely thought? “Bill, add a pinch more salt to that miso and, ummm, do we have any more baby poop left?”

What is important is that not all probiotics are created equal and the correct probiotic, be it bacteria, yeast or Edmonton Oiler, must be chosen for the proper problem or it is a waste of time and bowel, and don’t we all hate bowel waste. If you took the wrong probiotic for a gut problem you might be disappointed to learn that it was the probiotic used for vaginal yeast infections, particularly if your drivers license contains words like Charles or Gordon. So for most of you guys of the male species, it may be better to just inhale deeply… from a hockey bag.

The Big Five By Dr. David Hepburn

Nestled in a bungalow on the Serengeti, deep in the Serengeti-ish part of Tanzania, we were warned not to leave the confines of our bungalow, even to venture the 75 yards to the main lodge, without first contacting security to escort us.

Thinking this a bit overkill, I nonetheless reluctantly called. Nanomoments later, a young man with an old gun appeared on our doorstep, just the ambience you want en route to dinner in the Serengeti. “Sorry to have to bother you.” I commented as we took the first couple of steps out the door. “You must hate doing this.” Suddenly, he swung his flashlight to the left and to my amazement, a few feet way away from where I was wishing I’d brought my Depends, were the intimidating tusks of a friggin’ elephant! Right there!! (African elephants and similar beasts are often officially described as “friggin’” given that they are the size of a friggin’ house or at least a friggin’ condo, and tend to make you sputter out words similar to friggin’, if not “friggin’!” itself, often expressed when you discover one 20 feet from your doorstep.) “Friggin’ thing!” I gasped.

Turns out that elephants, cape buffalo, lions and even leopards often made their way past our front door to get to the swimming pool for a chlorinated drink. And you thought clearing shad flies and ants out of your pool was a hassle. “Thaminiki, can you go grab the elephant net, oh and make sure to clean out any king-of-the-beasts clogging up the filter.”

We literally could’ve sat in our bungalow and witnessed 80% of the sought after African Big 5, the rhino being the only one of the Big 5 not in the vicinity. Why they are referred to as the Big 5 was not always clear to me. It isn’t the “biggest” 5 as the hippo isn’t included. It isn’t the tallest as the giraffe doesn’t make the grade. It isn’t the most dangerous given that hippo attacks are the most deadly in Africa, perhaps due to the fact they got left off the list in the first place. The Big 5 are the Big 5 because they are the most sought after and valuable animals in Africa.

The Big 5 of Africa - Dr. David Hepburn
The Big 5 of Africa – Dr. David Hepburn

Twice a week, I, like Lindsay Lohan, enjoy a drug lunch. This is when well-coiffed and well informed pharmaceutical reps with great teeth and tusks come by the office to provide lunch and chat about what is new in the world of pharmaceuticals. It is a welcome and needed opportunity to discuss the drugs we prescribe you.

“So what’s new Kevin?” I asked one of the reps whose name was Kevin as suggested on his name tag.

“Really Dave, not much. Drug companies continue to focus most of their resources on the Big 5.” Once again, the Big 5 refers to the most sought after and valuable. The Big 5 diseases that pervade our society. Diseases at which Big Pharma aims it’s elephant guns. Big bins of sample drugs addressing the Big 5 fill our big shelves. Listing these diseases tempts me to compare them to the African Big 5, as that is just the way my mind works or perhaps doesn’t work depending on if you’re me or my wife.

Diabetes, often due to diabesity and requiring a trunk full of medications, is the elephant of the group.

Depression. I don’t personally recall ever seeing an overly happy Cape Buffalo. They always look like they’ve woken up on the wrong side of the savannah. They are the grumpiest beast in all of Africa and are constantly complaining to those who would listen, which really would only be other Cape Buffalo and the occasional ox pecker on their backs.

Osteoporosis. Rhino horns are all too often turned into dust and powders in the name of medications, just as the eggshell skeleton of osteoporotics turns into chalk dust… requiring medications.

Asthma/COPD. When lions grab a Zebra, wildebeest or wild tourist, they simply clamp down on the windpipe and slowly wait for the victim to expire. This is exactly the sensation of obstructive lung diseases, though usually without the claws sunk deep into your cranium.

Hypertension. Leopards, due to their stealth, are not easily noticed in the Serengeti, until one suddenly rips you apart. Blood pressure, the silent killer, may not be seen coming until one morning you wake up dead. Leopards tend to go up trees to eat and stroke their fur. As our blood pressure goes up, we tend to stroke too.

Big 5 of Diseases -Dr. David Hepburn
Big 5 of Diseases -Dr. David Hepburn

And so as not to irk the irksome hippo, I would like to give the hippopotamus honorable mention as I would also like to do for cholesterol. Both are chomping at the bit to be part of a Big 6. Both are all about dangerous fat floating around, either in our blood stream or the Zambezi as the case may be. So keep your serum hippos down….friggin’ things.

Get hit by a brink truck By Dr. David Hepburn

Dr. David Hepburn, True Story…

True story here (and these are rare). I’d coaxed ol’ Ichiro, my Toyota Rustbucket, to a law abiding stop at the corner of a busy intersection. Cranking my creaky cranky neck hard to port to check for traffic prior to lunging out into the wilds of downtown traffic, I suddenly felt an explosion in Ichiro’s backside and I was instantly and violently launched onto Main St., somewhat sooner than originally planned. I had been rear ended, but not by an Escort (the car) or a Toyota Tin Can or a 92 year old commissionnaire on a moped, but rather by an armored truck! No guff. Stunned, more than usual, I got out of my car to survey the remains of my rear end when two guards got out of the Brinks, with guns! “Hey listen,” I urgently urged, “ If you keep those guns holstered, I’ll say it was my fault, heck I’ll say I was drunk.”

Now, though a Sherman tank had tried to mate with my Toyota, I honestly wasn’t upset as these fender benders are seldom intentional, hockey parking lots excluded. And though I wasn’t hurt or upset about my first ever MVA, or at least the first one that I hung around for, I noticed that my hands were actually shaking like Mohammed Ali working a Jack Hammer after a few Nabobs. I was quite studious of my involuntary fight or flight reaction and as fleeing was not an option I decided to take a swing at the 7’4” guard’s jaw and…

Neck Pain -Dr David Hepburn
Neck Pain -Dr David Hepburn

Dave, you promised a true story.

Alright, fact was, I felt no pain until later that night when my neck began to stiffen. By morning I felt like I’d been hit by an armored truck which is apparently not all that unusual when you’ve been hit by an armored truck. My left arm was now buzzing and tingling and my left shoulder was not an overly happy shoulder.

I called my doctor, who in his kind, considerate manner suggested that “You’re a doctor, what do you need me for?” obviously forgetting that it is illegal for a doctor to prescribe himself heavy duty narcotics. I called my lawyer who, realizing that he didn’t have to run down and post bail again for prescribing myself heavy duty narcotics, was actually excited to hear from me.

“A Brinks truck? Really?? Dave, this is a sign from God!”

Now this is often where the games begin. Over the years I have seen a trumpzillion patients with whiplash, a condition where your intestinal whipworms get jerked so hard that their eyelashes fall off.

Most of you who are hurtin’ a couple of weeks after an accident are legit but there are some of you who are faking it. I have news for you…we know. How, you ask? Well I shan’t tell you all of our secrets but simply put, we are watching you, and not only via surveillance with the Nano Oompa Loompas with their NanoNikons we surreptitiously insert into your ear when we examine you. We watch how you react as you perform certain tests to see if the pain you’re expressing is consistent with the injury. We also have methods to determine exaggerations, which again, I could tell you about, but I won’t.

But what I can reveal is that the truly objective findings such as palpable inflammation is something we can detect over the injured areas and not in uninjured areas. Muscle spasm, range of motion and fixation of the joints cannot be effectively faked. In fact, there was a study done in which a set of doctors treated patients which included real whiplash victims and “ringers” who were not injured but trying to fake a whiplash. In not a single case were any of the doctors fooled.

Whiplash Injury - Dr. David Hepburn
Whiplash Injury – Dr. David Hepburn

Another unusual study found that rodeo riders who suffered whiplash in a car accident actually got better and returned to work twice as fast as non bronc busters. And “returning-to-work” it isn’t exactly riding a steno chair or light duties on a Brahma bull. Is this because they are better athletes to start with or because they are just tougher or because of both?  Well undoubtedly, if we are already a flimsy weak-necked Ichabodish Crane type we might take a lot longer to get better. So when you are doing your regular resistance workouts, don’t forget your neck. 

Personally, I felt like I was getting better but my lawyer thought he noted that I had more blackheads than before and that I was dressing more and more like Lady Gaga. He also, very perceptively, deduced that I was suffering loss of enjoyment of life in that he noted I hadn’t bungee jumped naked a single time since the accident. Well, of course not, F.Lee. Wouldn’t want to get whiplash.

Geographically Challenged By Dr. David Hepburn

When on vacation and ending up in a place like, say, Syphilis, Iowa, have you ever wondered what medical legacies belong to that town? Likely not. But as my mind tends to wander in directions that frighten most people, here is my list of tourism brochures of actual places and diseases that might alter your travel plans.

Welcome to beautiful Coxsackie NY, a place with a name so distinctly attractive that if ever a place should have a disease named after it, Coxsackie should. AND WE DO! A lovely wee virus takes it name from our little piece of heaven on earth. We are the proud origins of the Coxsackie virus, one that causes Hand, Foot and Mouth disease in kids. Even though this is usually just a mild, benign rash of the hand, foot and mouth, it seems to cause daycares the world over to panic like an alligator in a purse factory. In adults, our little virus can cause painful blisters in the mouth, usually on the soft palate, a condition known as herpangina. You might think this an odd name as it has nothing to do with herpes or angina, but we named it after our mayor, Ralph Clinton, who has both a bad heart and…tends to campaign, um, uniquely.

Coxsackie virus -Dr Dave Hepburn
Hand infected with Coxsackie virus – Dr. David Hepburn

Run to Norwalk, Ohio, a town so flushed with pride that our streets run with excrem excitement. You won’t want to walk when you get here, you’ll want to run, so to speak. We too have a lovely little virus that loves to hang around the downtown colon core but often goes off on cruises where it can stop a ship in it’s tracks, given that Norwalk is responsible for 90% of all viral gastroenteritis. Come to Norwalk and enjoy our historic taco stands and hamburgers tartar. We are proud to say that half of all food poisoning comes from us. So don’t walk to Nor walk……Nor-run.

Getting ticked off at the world? Feel like life is a lemon and you need a lime break? Well burrow into Lyme, Connecticut. We are proud to have a disease named after us, one caused by a tick bite that leaves behind a nasty bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. Since “Burgdorfitis” was not garnering a lot of attention, we were asked to host this disease given the large outbreak we once had. Lyme disease can cause a very distinct (bull’s eye target) rash that may be the harbinger of a lifetime of arthritis, heart failure and nerve problems. So target our town, come on in and have a stiff one. Come to Lyme and make your friends green with envy. It’ll tick ‘em off.

Lyme Disease Rash- Dr. David Hepburn
Lyme Disease Rash- Dr. David Hepburn

You won’t want to leave the Hantaan River region here in Korea should you catch our virus, as you just might fall in love with one of the many nurses and hospital staff you will get to know. The Korean word “hanta”, translates into “Leave that mouse poop alone.” Should you have a penchant for rodent feces or urine, you’d be wise to wear a mask, or you could end up wearing a death mask. Our deadly, yet unique hantavirus is all yours should you inhale tiny particles of fresh saliva, urine, droppings or nesting materials which can be sent airborne from things like sweeping a garage or cottage. As in Lyme disease, the common deer mouse is the culprit so please learn to identify a deer mouse, just not by investigating its poop. The deer mouse, also common in Western Canada, is bug eyed, has a white belly and legs and is a virtual disease factory… not unlike a dear leader.

Stockholm Syndrome. Now if you were to be kidnapped, can you think of any better place than our captivating city, Stockholm, to be abducted. If the ransom isn’t paid you’ll remain a captive of the Society of Swedish Siren Sororities. You’ll suffer some psychiatric condition that will cause you to lose the will to negotiate your release. You’ll not return to your life on 279 Tedium Ave. where, between watching Three’s Company reruns, you end up watching 345 pound Orville Snodgrass next door mow his lawn shirtless? Many who come to this meatball Mecca actually demand to be injected with this disease and… transfered straight to ICU.