Friday, April 27, 2007

Welcome To Another Episode Of...

Point/Counterpoint- With Dr. Paul Donohue vs. Scottius Maximus.*

Once again, well-known and respected newspaper columnist Dr. Paul Donohue faces off with the bumbling blogger known as Scottius Maximus.

Dr. Donohue's readers write in to him with their medical questions, seeking his expert advice. No one writes Scottius Maximus with their questions, so he has nosed his way in in a most intrusive manner to give a reply also. Although nobody asked him to do so.

Let's get started...

"Dear Dr. Donohue: This past winter I had a bad cold. After it was over, I found I couldn't taste food. My sense of taste hasn't come back. Will this ever get better?

Dr. Donohue's reply: Loss of taste is a subject I dread. No medicine restores it. It sometimes comes back, but saying that yours will return is something I can't do. First, check your medicines with your doctor. Many medicines interfere with taste sensation, including blood pressure medicine. Illnesses affect taste. Viral illnesses like colds can dampen taste sensations. After the cold goes, taste may come back, but it may take a long time. Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, cancers, liver cirrhosis, radiation to the head and neck, and migraine headaches can diminish taste."

Scottius Maximus- Yeah, well I had a bad cold last winter too, Pops, but I didn't lose my sense of smell. So I doubt that had anything to do with it. Maybe you just come from bad stock. But is it really so bad? I bet you could stand to lose a few pounds anyway, so maybe this will help get your lard-encased keester to eat less and shed a few.

Donohue is barking up the wrong tree, I assure you. Let me ask you this. Do you have a lizard? Some lizards will crawl up close to the mouth at night and steal your taste sense. Not unlike cats stealing baby's breaths.

Also, a loss of smell has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease, like Donohue tries to point out. Most of our sense of taste comes from our sense of smell. So maybe you just can't remember whether you can taste or not.

Do you bathe? More often than once a month? 'Cause I gotta tell ya, the only guy I ever met who had what you have was ol' Pigpen Pomeroy.

More than likely, however, you are the victim of too much aluminum in your diet. You probably eat a lot of foil and smell nasty.

Dr. Donohue- Smell is an important component of taste, and allergies, nasal polyps and post-nasal drip greatly contribute to taste loss. Correcting the correctable conditions restores taste. One problem, often overlooked, is dry mouth. Saliva carries food chemicals that stimulate the taste buds. Without saliva, taste is diminished. Many things, including Sjogren's syndrome, bring on mouth dryness, and countering a dry mouth can perk up taste. Changing the way you eat also helps. Take a sip of water after each mouthful to carry food chemicals to the taste buds. Alternate foods with each bite. Your meals should include foods with a wide variety of textures to stimulate taste sensations. Liberally using flavorings you aren't accustomed to — spices, lemon juice, vinegar, pepper, curry, chili powder — helps taste sensation. The greater the range of flavors in a meal, the greater are the chances of your taste buds wakening up to those flavors.

Scottius Maximus- Hey, Donohue, I just said smell is an important component of taste. Try to keep up, will ya? And thanks for the physiology lesson, but this dude doesn't care about that, or your little Rachel Ray impersonation with the cooking lecture there. So you think it's better to drool all over yourself than to have no taste? Says who?

Look, mister, bottom line is this- you're screwed. My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.

Dear Dr. Donohue: I'm scheduled for knee-replacement surgery. I don't fear the surgery, but I fear needing a blood transfusion because of AIDS. My surgeon says this is needless fear. I'd like to hear that from you. Can I?

Dr. Donohue's reply: Sure, you can. It's needless fear. Prior to 1985, blood transfusions were a risk for transmitting AIDS. With a reliable AIDS test and with checking every unit of donated blood using that test, the risk for transfusion-acquired AIDS is very small. It can happen if an infected donor happens to be in the period between infection with the virus and the date when the blood test becomes positive. That period is only about 22 days. The probability that an infected person volunteers to donate blood within three weeks of infection is close to zero. Plus, knee-replacement surgery almost never calls for a transfusion.

Scottius Maximus- Hey doc, that's just flat out wrong. Listen, toots, with all due respect, I'm afraid that guy you're seeing may be a hack if he told you that. You got reason to be scared. People get AIDS from blood transfusions. They do. It's a fact. Notice Donohue doesn't say the probability is zero. Because it isn't. And with your luck, it'll probably be you that gets it.

You say you don't fear the surgery. Why the heck not? Do you know how many people die each year after knee replacements? Around one out of a hundred. So if your surgeon has done almost a hundred and no one has died yet this year at his hands, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, get on that table.

That doesn't even get in to the complications. Your leg's major arteries are just centimeters away from a power saw and other industrial hardware. And don't get me started on infections. The sight of teeming pools of bacteria oozing out amongst the pus of an infected wound can even cause a heart attack.

Also, how old are you? You do realize this knee won't last forever, right? Because the way you tore up the one God gave you makes me think you'll treat this one like crap also. I give it ten years tops. So if you're over 75, it might be a good move. But if you're younger, you'll probably end up a cripple later in life. You'd be better off seeing a witch doctor.

Well, that's all we have time for this episode. Here's to your health.

*For the dummies out there, this isn't real.


  1. "Not unlike cats stealing baby's breaths." My husband's grandmother insisted this was true and she was truly frightened because we had two cats which we KEPT IN OUR HOME (she was a farm girl).

    My father-in-law is also due for a knee replacement, but is afraid of some kind of weird infection that killed a couple of recipients five years (can't remember what kind it was). He probably wrote that letter!

    It's funny that you are a doctor and find his advice humorous/off base/etc. We civilians have much less training and have to interpret doctor's advice (or lack thereof) on a regular basis. I'd like to take a shot at this little exercise. I have one in mind and I'll see if I can get to it.

  2. Condolences on the loss of your reliever. Obviously his family is suffering the most right now. Prayed for them.

  3. TK!

    Thanks, but the only advice off base was my own. Sometimes I just get the urge to say off the wall stuff. Although sometimes deep down you do want to say stuff like this in real life.


    Thanks. Although the make up of the team was different (except the coaching staff, Pujols, Izzy, Carpenter and Edmonds), the memory of Darryl Kile is still too recent for this to be happening again.