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BREAKTHROUGH VITAMIN

Some time ago, USA Today, the most widely circulated newspaper in the world, carried a full page ad for "Vitamin O". Every word of the ad is literally true. "It's so safe, you can drop it in your eyes. It's so natural, it contains the most abundant element on earth...without the proper amount of oxygen our bodies can suffer serious health consequences." Next to a picture of an astronaut floating in a space suit, the ad explains that it was designed for use by astronauts. "Vitamin O contains stabilized oxygen molecules in a liquid solution of sodium chloride and distilled water to be taken orally as a supplement, usually 15-20 drops two to three times a day. Your bloodstream absorbs the Vitamin O and carries the pure oxygen straight to your cells and tissues. There, it maximizes your nutrients, purifies your bloodstream and eliminates toxins and poisons."

It must be admitted that the supplier, Rose Creek Health Products, seems to have correctly gauged the scientific literacy of the American public. They tell people exactly what it is they're buying-ordinary salt water. You can buy a two month supply (4-ounces) for $40 plus shipping charges. The 1994 Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act, exempts natural substances from FDA regulation.

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MANAGED CARE SYMPHONY
A managed care company president was given a ticket for a performance of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. Since she was unable to go, she gave the ticket to one of her managed care reviewers. The next morning she asked him how he had enjoyed it. Instead of a few observations about the symphony in general, she was handed a formal memorandum which read as follows:

1. For a considerable period, the oboe players had nothing to do. Their number should be reduced, and their work spread over the whole orchestra, avoiding peaks of inactivity.

2. All 12 violins were playing identical notes. This seems an unneeded duplication, and the staff of this section should be cut. If a volume of sound is really required, this could be accomplished with the use of an amplifier.

3. Much effort was involved in playing the 16th notes. This appears to be an excessive refinement, and it is recommended that all notes be rounded up to the nearest 8th note. If this were done it would be possible to use para-professionals instead of experienced musicians.

4. No useful purpose is served by repeating with horns the passage that has already been handled by the strings. If all such redundant passages were eliminated then the concert could be reduced from two hours to twenty minutes.

5. The symphony had two movements. If Mr. Schubert didn't achieve his musical goals by the end of the first movement, then he should have stopped there. The second movement is unnecessary and should be cut. In light of the above, one can only conclude that had Mr. Schubert given attention to these matters, he probably would have had time to finish the symphony

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HMOs

Q. What does HMO stand for?
A. This is actually a variation of the phrase, "Hey, Moe!" Its roots go back to a concept pioneered by Doctor Moe Howard, who discovered that a patient could be made to forget about the pain in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eyes. Modern practice replaces the physical finger poke with hi-tech equivalents such as voice mail and referral slips, but the result remains the same.

Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification?
A. No. Only those you need.

Q. I just joined a new HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I want?
A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your HMO will provide you with a book listing all the doctors who were participating in the plan at the time the information was gathered. These doctors basically fall into two categories: those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no longer part of the plan. But do not worry, the remaining doctor who is still in the plan and accepting new patients has just received his medical degree from the University of BF Egypt and has an office just a half-day's drive away!

Q. What are pre-existing conditions?
A. This is a phrase used by the grammatically challenged when they want to talk about existing conditions. Unfortunately, we appear to be pre-stuck with it.

Q. Can I get coverage for my preexisting conditions?
A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment.

Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine?
A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment.

Q. My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name brand. I tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomachache. What should I do?
A. Poke yourself in the eye.

Q. What should I do if I get sick while traveling?
A. Try sitting in a different part of the bus.

Q. No, I mean what if I'm away from home and I get sick?
A. You really shouldn't do that. You'll have a hard time seeing your primary care physician. It's best to wait until you return, and then get sick.

Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my primary care physician insists he can handle my problem. Can a general practitioner really perform a heart transplant right in his office?
A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $10 co-payment, there's no harm giving him a shot at it.

Q. What accounts for the largest portion of health care costs?
A. The largest portion of health care costs go to Presidents, CEOs, Vice Presidents and other HMO corporate bureaucrats who make your health care decisions based on profitability. The second largest portion goes to stockholders of the HMO. The third largest portion goes to HMO Sales commissions. The forth largest portion goes to Plan Administrators, who are awarded bonuses for identifying unnecessary care you have been receiving and denying payment for unauthorized visits to specialists.

Q. Will health care be any different in the next century?
A. No, but if you call right now, you might get an appointment from a doctor who didn't have enough sense to get out of medicine 10 years ago.

Q. Will my HMO provide the prescriptions I need?
A. Yes, provided it can be converted to one of the generic types of alternative medications provided by our crack pharmacist, Phillippe from his special Lab in Port Au Prince, Haiti. He uses only the finest traditional herbs and plants to formulate his special remedies, and with the approval and assistance of the local religious authorities. Hair samples from your enemies may be required. Animal parts and special equipment not provided.

Alternative Answer: Yes, provided the generic form is available from one of four approved multinational drug companies, in the standard bulk dosage. If your weight is under 350 lbs., you will be charged extra for your special dose requirements

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THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE

A couple, age 67, went to the doctor's office. The doctor asked, "What can I do for you?" The man said, "Will you watch us have sexual intercourse?" The doctor looked puzzled but agreed. When the couple had finished, the doctor said, "There is nothing wrong with the way you have intercourse," and he charged them $32.00 for the office visit. This happened several weeks in a row. The couple would make an appointment, have intercourse, pay the doctor and leave.

Finally the doctor asked, "Just exactly what are you trying to find out?" The old man replied, "We're not trying to find out anything. She is married and we can't go to her house. I am married so we can't go to my house. The Holiday Inn charges $60.00. The Hilton charges $98.00, we do it here for $32.00,and I get back $28.00 from Medicare for a visit to the doctor's office."

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Cute The Novel

MODERN MEDICINE

A man complained to his friend, "My elbow hurts. I better go to the doctor."

"Don't do that,"volunteered his friend,"there's a new computer at the drugstore that can diagnose any problem quicker and cheaper than a doctor All you have to do is put in a urine sample, deposit $10 then the computer will give you your diagnosis and plan of treatment."

The man figured he had nothing to lose so he took a sample of urine down to the drugstore Finding the machine he poured in the urine and deposited $10. The machine began to buzz and various lights flashed on and off. After a short pause a slip of paper popped out on which was printed: You have tennis elbow. Soak your arm in warm water twice a day. Avoid heavy labor. Your elbow will be better in two weeks.

That evening as the man contemplated this breakthrough in medical science he began to suspect fraud. To test his theory he mixed some tap water, a stool sample from his dog and urine samples from his wife and daughter. To top it all off, he masturbated into the jar. He took this concoction down to the drugstore, poured it in the machine and deposited $10. The machine went through the same buzzing and flashing routine as before then printed out the following message:

Your tap water has lead. Get a filter.

Your dog has worms. Give him vitamins.

Your daughter is on drugs. Get her in rehab.

Your wife is pregnant. Its not your baby. Get a lawyer.

And if you don't stop jerking off your tennis elbow will never get better.

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CURE FOR FLATULENCE

An old lady came into her doctor's office and confessed to an embarrassing problem. "I fart all the time, Doctor Blake, but they're soundless, and they have no odor. In fact, since I've been here, I've farted no less than twenty times. What can I do?"

"Here's a prescription, Mrs. Jacobson. Take these pills three times a day for seven days and come back and see me in a week."

The next week, an upset Mrs. Jacobson marched into Dr. Blake's office. "Doctor, I don't know what was in those pills, but the problem is worse! I'm farting just as much, and they're still soundless, but now they smell terrible! What do you have to say for yourself?"

"Calm down, Mrs. Jacobson," said the doctor soothingly. "Now that we've fixed your sinuses, we'll work on your hearing."

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RADICAL DUCKECTOMY

Five doctors went duck hunting one day. Included in the group were a general practice (GP) physician, a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, a surgeon and a pathologist. After a time, a bird came winging overhead. The first to react was the GP who raised his shotgun, but then hesitated. "I'm not quite sure it's a duck," he said, "I think that I will have to get a second opinion." And of course by that time, the bird was long gone.

Another bird appeared in the sky thereafter. This time, the pediatrician drew a bead on it. He too, however, was unsure if it was really a duck in his sights and besides, it might have babies. "I'll have to do some more investigations," he muttered, as the creature made good its escape.

Next to spy a bird flying was the sharp-eyed psychiatrist. Shotgun shouldered, he was more certain of his intended prey's identity. "Now, I know it's a duck, but does it know it's a duck?" The fortunate bird disappeared while the fellow wrestled with this dilemma.

Finally, a fourth fowl sped past and this time the surgeon's weapon pointed skywards. BOOM!! The surgeon lowered his smoking gun and turned nonchalantly to the pathologist beside him.
"Go see if that was a duck, will you?"

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NEWS FLASH

A recent Cincinnati Inquirer headline read, "Smell of baked bread may be health hazard." The article went on to describe the dangers of the smell of baking bread. The main danger, apparently, is that the organic components of this aroma may break down ozone.

I was horrified. When are we going to do something about bread-induced global warming? Sure, we attack tobacco companies, but when is the government going to go after Big Bread?

Well, I've done a little research, and what I've discovered should make anyone think twice....

1: More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread eaters.

2: Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.

3: In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever and influenza ravaged whole nations.

4: More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.

5: Bread is made from a substance called "dough." It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average American eats more bread than that in one month!

6: Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low occurrence of cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and osteoporosis.

7: Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after only two days.

8: Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter and even cold cuts.

9: Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.

10: Newborn babies can choke on bread.

11: Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.

12: Most American bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.

In light of these frightening statistics, we propose the following bread restrictions:

1: No sale of bread to minors.

2: No advertising of bread within 1000 feet of a school.

3: A 300 percent federal tax on all bread to pay for all the societal ills we might associate with bread.

4: No animal or human images, nor any primary colors (which may appeal to children) may be used to promote bread usage.

5: A $4.2 zillion fine on the three biggest bread manufacturers.

6. Form DOUR12 must be filled out and background check performed on bread purchasers.

7. Register all members of the NOA (National Ovenowners Ass'n), with the FBI.

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Lessons The Novel

NAMING EXERCISE

A pregnant widow gets in a car accident and falls into a deep coma. Asleep for nearly 6 months, when she wakes up she sees that she is no longer pregnant and frantically asks the doctor about her baby. The doctor replies, "Ma'am you had twins! a boy and a girl. Your brother from Maryland came in and named them."

The woman thinks to herself, "No, not my brother... he's an idiot!"

She asks the doctor, "Well, what's the girl's name?"

"Denise."

"Wow, that's not a bad name, I like it! What's the boy's name?"

"Denephew."

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WHAT THE DOCTOR WROTE

The following quotes were taken from actual medical records as dictated by physicians...

Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.

Since she can't get pregnant with her husband, I thought you would like to work her up.

She is numb from her toes down.

While in the ER, she was examined, X-rated and sent home.

By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling better.

Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it had completely disappeared.

She has had no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

The patient has been depressed ever since she began seeing me in 1983.

Patient was released to outpatient department without dressing.

I have suggested that he loosen his pants before standing, and then, when he stands with the help of his wife, they should fall to the floor.

The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

Discharge status: Alive but without permission.

The patient will need disposition, and therefore we will get Dr. Blank to dispose of him.

Healthy appearing decrepit 69 year?old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

The patient refused an autopsy.

The patient has no past history of suicides.

The patient expired on the floor uneventfully.

Patient has left his white blood cells at another hospital.

The patient's past medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.

She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions in early December.

The patient experienced sudden onset of severe shortness of breath with a picture of acute pulmonary edema at home while having sex which gradually deteriorated in the emergency room.

The patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of gas and crashed.

The skin was moist and dry.

Occasional, constant, infrequent headaches.

Coming from Detroit, this man has no children.

Patient was alert and unresponsive.

When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.

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MEDICAL DEFUNITIONS

ABERRATION
(ah-bear-ray'shun) A veterinary term: The amount of food required by the average bear per day.

ABSTINENCE
(ab'sti-nens) To be away or separated from."Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder."

ACETAMINOPHEN
A pain reliever with over 210 marketing names, all of which claim to be the most recommended, strongest nonprescription pain reliever you can buy.

ACETIC
(ah-se'tik) One who renounces a life of comfort and lives in austerity. A person with a sour disposition.

ACOUSTIC
(ah-koo'stik) (ah-koo'stik) [a: negate; + coo: the sound of a dove or pigeon; + stick: a small length of wood] A device used to coax sound from certain avians.

ACUITY
(uh-cue'tee) Someone or something perceived to be delightfully pretty.

ADDICTION
(ad-dik'shun) {add: to increment or increase; + diction: speaking] To become verbose.

ANALOGY
(an-al'oh-gee) The use of simile and metaphor in the teaching of proctology.

ARTERY
The study of fine paintings.

ARTHRITIS
(are-thur-eye'tiss) The favorite diagnosis of King Arthur's court physician.

BACTERIA
(bak-teer'ee-uh) A place where people come together to consume large numbers of microorganisms.

BACTERIOLOGY
(bak-teer-ee-all-logy) According to most authorities, the study of bacteria. A more specific definition would be helpful. What, exactly, do bacteria study?

CANDIDA
(can'dih-duh) A person running for political office who speaks in plain, understandable English. Obviously, an imaginary creature (a mythical yeast?)

CAUTERIZE
caught'er-eyes Made eye contact with her

CIRCUMCISION
"Circumcision is a rough operation. I had it done when I was born and couldn't walk for a year."

COPULATION
(cop-you-lay'shun) Number of policemen by region, as determined by census.

DEFUNCT
(dee-funk't) A person who has been deprived of the ability of being funky.

DEHYDRATE
(dee-hide'rate) The percentage of hospital patients who scoot for cover when they hear the doctor coming.

DERMATOLOGIST
A physician who makes rash decisions.

DILATED
(die'late'ed pue-pulls) Students who come to class late twice in a day.

DISCONSOLATE
(disc-on'-so-late) A CD being played after midnight.

DOUBLE-BLIND STUDY
Two medical students trying to read an EKG

DYSTROPHY
(dis'tro-fee) A decorative memorial offered to the winner of a contest.

ENEMA
(eh'neh-muh) Not a friend.

FLATULENCE
Effect of sitting on your eyeglasses.

FOREBRAIN
Descriptive of proponents of intellectualism.

FUNGAL
(fun'-gal) A particularly entertaining female

GALACTOSE
(ga-lak-toes) The little appendages on the end of a space alien's foot.

GENUS
Someone who is very smart. (note: claiming oneself to be a genus is typically a specious statement).

HERBAL TEAS
Name calling, wise cracking, or any other means employed to make fun of the concept of herbal therapy.

HIPPOCAMPUS
The grounds housing a college for hippo studies.

HMO
(aych-emm-oh) Acronym for Hand the Money Over.

INTESTINE
(in-test'in) Currently taking an exam

KIDNEY
In a child, the articulation joining the thigh to the leg.

MIGRAINE
(my-grain) Personal preference in cereal or bread types.

MUTANT
(mute-ant) A variety of ant that is unable to speak. Applied to ants that are good at keeping secrets.

OBSTETRICS
(ob-steh'triks) A unique medical specialty that, rather than offering "take out" medicine, provides delivery service.

ONCOLOGY
(on-call'oh-gee) The study of nervous disorders in sleep deprived residents.

PANACEA
(pan-uh-see'-uh) A super-drug, which broke up millions of years ago to form all the little drugs we know today. (Editor's Note: variously known today as ginseng, ginkgo, aloe, vitamin E, echinacea, shark cartilage, melatonin, and others

PAP SMEAR
To slander your father.

PARADIGM
(pare'uh-dime) Twenty cents.

PARALYZE
(pair'uh-lize) What the medical student says to explain failing two exams.

PARASITE
(pare'uh-site) Binocular vision.

PATELLA
(pat ell'uh) Grounds for a sexual harassment grievance.

PATHOLOGIST
An expert tracker.

PHLEBOTOMIST
(flea-bot'tom-ist) A practitioner specializing in anorectal maladies of the order Siphonoptera (fleas).

PITUITARY
(Pit-too'-it-air-ee) Onomatopoeic word describing the forcible ejection of fruit seeds or pits from the mouth.

PLASTIC SURGERY
Cutting up one's credit cards.

PNEUMOTHORAX
(new-mow-thor'ax) Old-time Scandinavian grass cutting device

PODIATRY
(poe-dye-eh-tree) Bad eating habits

PROTEASE INHIBITORS
(pro-teez in-hib'it-errs) Individuals hired to mingle with spectators at professional sports events to discourage fans from heckling the players.

RHEUMATOLOGY
(room-uh-tall-uh-gee) The study of interior decorating.

SENILE
(see'nile) An visual malady of those living in or visiting Egypt. (See also denial.)

SEX
(secs) Very short periods of time (usually male oriented). Usage: I'll be with you in a couple of sex.

SKIN GRAFT
Malfeasance by a dermatologist.

ULCERATE
The action of an ulcer. E.g., in answer to the query, "what is wrong with your stomach," the patient might answer, "My ulcerate it!"

ULTIMATE
(uhl'ti-mate) [L. ultimus: last + mate) The best of spouses.

URINALYSIS
yur-uh-nal-uh-sis Your personal interpretation or opinion.

URINE
(yur'in) What every medical school applicant wants to hear following the interview.

VACCINATE
Using controlled exposure to weakened or killed pathogens to provoke immunity. Out of vogue now because we have discovered that eating plenty of organic vegetables, while avoiding environmental stressors, free radicals, refined sugar, food additives, and wheat will ensure freedom from all illnesses.

X-RAY
A ray not suitable for viewing by children, as classified by the International Censor Board.

ZYGOTE
(zy-goat) A small farm animal used for milking.

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