River Wissey Lovell Fuller

What Does The Doctor think - April

May 2016

WHAT DOES THE DOCTOR THINK THIS MONTH? Whatever happened to talcum powder?

Those readers who are of my generation and have had children will have vivid memories of terry towelling nappies, nappy liners, a bucket full of Napisan masking a soup of poo and urine, waiting for the contents to be boil washed and dried, ready for the next time of use. Those of us with limited funds did not have many nappies and keeping up with the baby's use was quite testing. Fitting the nappy to the baby was quite a skill. Most people seemed to prefer the triangular approach but I much preferred to make a box nappy which seemed to me a lot squarer and neater. The whole process of caring for our seven babies relied heavily upon Johnson's Baby Powder and this was used liberally to good effect. I still have some in the bathroom cupboard, 40 odd years later! We now have 18 grandchildren and I usually invoke the Grandfather's right not to be involved in nappy changing. However, I did get involved the other day and I realised that Johnson's Baby Powder was not in evidence. I asked the daughter what was going on: “Oh, Grandpa” she said (have any of you noticed how your kids call you Grandpa instead of Dad as soon as they breed?) “That stuff is really dangerous and went out years ago”. Following my favourite maxim It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all possible doubt I kept quiet and went away to look it up. The powder is made by grinding talc rock to a fine powder which is highly absorbent, stops rubbing and absorbs odours. Breathing it in can cause coughing, eye irritation, diarrhoea, vomiting, collapse, respiratory failure, rash or fever (I just thought the child was tired!) and they may require oxygen, a breathing tube and intravenous fluids. Workers in the factory tend to develop serious lung disorders and even lung cancer. The powder's physical structure is very similar to asbestos and we know how dangerous that is. I was beginning to understand why talc has disappeared when things got worse. Without going into details and upsetting your sensibilities, apparently many ladies use/d the product to powder their nether regions in order to prevent chafing and to absorb odours. From there, the powder migrates north and internally and ladies who use the product have a 33% increase in the risk of ovarian cancer. An American lady, who died of the disease, has just been awarded $72 million compensation by Johnson & Johnson, who are appealing the verdict. All in all, I can see why the product has fallen out of favour and I shall keep mine locked away when we have small visitors. As a substitute, use cornflour, rice powder, baking soda or oat flour! We won't go any further down that road – it is a recommendation for absorbing moisture, not a recipe). While on the subject of female nether regions, here is a joke: A very prestigious cardiologist died, and was given an elaborate funeral by the hospital where he had worked. A huge heart, covered in flowers, stood behind the casket during the service and, at the end of the service, as all the doctors from the hospital sat watching, the heart opened, and the casket rolled inside. The heart then closed, sealing the cardiologist in the beautiful heart forever. At that point, one of the mourners just burst into laughter. When other doctors glared at him, he said “I'm so sorry... I was just thinking of my own funeral … I'm a gynaecologist!”

“Flash for Cash” car accident insurance scam

The insurance companies have rumbled those who perpetrate the whiplash scam – suddenly stopping in front of you and claiming for whiplash after the accident – so the “perps”, as they are called in USA, have changed tack. The criminal flashes his lights at you to let you out of a junction. When you pull out, he crashes into you on purpose, then claims for whiplash, loss of earnings, vehicle storage, car hire, recovery and so on. This is now costing the insurance industry a fortune, paid for by the premiums of honest motorists. The Highway Code instructs “Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or to intimidate other road users. Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed” I think it is a real shame that this friendly gesture, which has worked well for so long, representing courtesy and good manners, should now be so abused by the criminals. So, be very careful if someone flashes you to let you out. A traffic cop pulled alongside a speeding car on the motorway. Glancing into the car, he was astounded to see that the young lady driver was knitting. Realising that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the policeman wound down his window, turned on his loudspeaker and yelled, 'PULL OVER! 'NO', the young lady yelled back, 'It's a scarf!' Eddie was driving down the road and a met a car coming the other way. Although there was room to pass easily, Eddie forced the oncoming car to slow down and wound down his window and shouted 'Pig'. The other driver was really insulted and swore at Eddie before speeding off. Then his car hit the pig.

Best wishes to you all Ian Nisbet

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