A brief selection of some of the challenging problems currently facing medical science.
Usually caused either by an excess of cheese, or by woodpeckers nesting in the pancreas.
A curious and thankfully rare condition in which the patient is in two places at once, leading to much embarrassment and an overabundance of shoes.
A sexually transmitted disease which is quite common down under.
A remarkable disease which causes the patient to blend in with his or her surroundings. Not dangerous in itself, but sooner or later the patient is bound to get run over on a pedestrian crossing.
I have only ever seen one case of this. A woman came to my surgery claiming that she had creeping flange, and I have to say I saw the evidence with my very own eyes. Whilst she was sitting in the waiting room, her flange crept a considerable distance, rifled through some magazines and harassed a number of my other patients. I'm afraid I had to ask her to leave.
Usually affects athletes and sporty types. Bones can often drift considerable distances, leaving parts of the patient floppy and completely unsupported. In one extremely severe case I treated a man whose skull had slipped down the entire length of his body and had ended up in his sock. Naturally, this was of great concern to him - not only did his hat keep falling off, but he couldn't get his shoes on. In this case his treatment involved a rigorous programme of kneading and pummelling. It's a bit like trying to get the lumps out of a duvet after you've put the cover on.
Sadly, ducks are often fatal, and there is very little that can be done about them. Once you've contracted ducks there's no shifting them. Not only are they stubborn little bleeders, but they also have squatters' rights. Most of them also have damn good lawyers these days.
A highly embarrassing and distressing condition. Sufferers of Fat Ankle Syndrome often find themselves teased and ridiculed - and quite rightly so. They are freaks of nature, put upon this Earth purely to keep us normal folk amused. I usually suggest they they wear oversized clown shoes. This provides no particular benefit to the patient, but I think it does heighten the comic potential for the rest of us.
No, that's a truck.
Again, not really a medical condition, more of a bakery product.
Ah, now this is a serious condition. It's usually caused by being hit by a truck. Or standing underneath falling bread.
Erm... they were a prog rock group, weren't they? The Furious Scroffles? I'm sure they supported Yes at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1972. I'm gonna have to look that one up.
A really nasty condition, traditionally caused by smashing your cleaning lady's face against a table for a period not exceeding half an hour. This sort of activity can cause a great deal of damage - often stripping away the veneer and splintering the wood. It can also damage the table as well.
Not many people realise this, but knees are actually quite normal, and one of the most typical consequences of healthy, fully-functional legs. Without knees, going for a walk would be a much more complicated procedure than we're generally accustomed to, and tying shoelaces would be a practical impossibility for anyone who hadn't had the foresight to develop specially extended spindly fingers.
Some famous sufferers of this condition have included Abraham Lincoln, Harold Pinter and that bloke who used to be in the Troggs. Careless brandishing of a magic thumb can instantaneously materialise a rabbit from a top hat, saw a lady in half or even cause apparently solid rings to become mysteriously entangled. Sufferers are advised to wear gloves.
Now here's a mystery for you. The people living at numbers 43 and 47 Poplar Crescent, Fumechester, are all suffering from an advanced case of Mrs Johnstone. Mrs Johnstone lives at number 45 and is, by all accounts, one of the most annoying people you could ever meet. It's not normally possible to contract your neighbours, which is what makes this case so extraordinary. Experts are baffled, but have noted that Mr Johnstone seems to be immune.
I don't know what this is, but it sounds serious. I should try and avoid catching it if I was you.
Quite simply this is an over-sensitivity to rhinos. Sufferers are likely to experience episodes of extreme panic or have asthma attacks in the presence of these animals. In severe cases even a picture of a rhino or a mention of the name can bring the patient out in an ugly rash. The real danger of this condition is that a great many sufferers remain unaware that they have it until it's too late. This is understandable, since most people rarely come into contact with rhinos on a daily basis. However, it's as well to be prepared. Take a look at this next sentence.
Rhino, rhino, rhino, rhino, rhino, rhino.
Did you feel itchy? Perhaps you felt a strange tickling sensation at the back of your neck? If you did, then it's highly likely that you're suffering from Rhinosensitivity. To be on the safe side, try to avoid going to places where you might inadvertently run into a rhino - zoos, wildlife parks, supermarkets, etc. If you simply must go gallivanting around rhino infested regions, then there is a vaccine that you can get - although I'm obliged to point out that it is made from extract of polar bear and can make you allergic to fish.
A friend of mine once had a ruptured clutch. God how we laughed. It is, of course, a most distressing and painful condition, and one that can lead to a complete dependence on pain killers and special underpants. The condition is incurable and my friend was in absolute agony - but on the plus side, I was perfectly okay. Life is great.
I don't actually think this disease exists. Oh, I know a lot has been written about it in textbooks and journals; and I'm aware that there are been many fascinating and detailed case studies, but I still have my doubts. I think it's something that someone has invented just to get a name for themselves - like flammable glands and cheesy giblets.
I was attacked by a pair of spastic melons the other day in my local park. I was just walking along by the bandstand, when suddenly they leapt out from a bush and hurtled towards me at breakneck speed. Before I knew it I had been smothered in them and had to claw my way free before I was suffocated. Oh man, it was great.
You can get pills for it now.
Swollen teeth can be caused by a diet which is too rich in calcium. The teeth - usually those at the front - swell up to dimensions which most doctors would term 'stupid'. They will then interfere with the patient's lunch and seriously intimidate a light snack.
Similar to swollen teeth, but caused by a diet too rich in iron. It's nature's way of telling you that you've eaten too many chips.
Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2005
Visit the Toast Museum in Stoke-on-Trent!
North Sea crime figures fall
The role of water pistols in modern warfare
Guy Parker takes you for a ride
Nuns to be installed in post offices.
Maisy Donnington tells us how to sit on a chair.