December 02, 2008

Ask the Cabbage Doctor

Dear the Cabbage Doctor

I recently banged my arm while gardening and got a large, nasty bruise. It's not sore anymore and I wasn't worried about it until one of my friends told me I should get it checked out by my doctor. Do bruises really need medical attention? Mrs. V. Prunes, Southend.

Dear Mrs. Prunes

It's difficult to give a blanket answer to your question because there are so many variables involved. When you say "gardening," were you spraying brassica with pesticide or pulling up kale? Did you have specialist cabbage-gardening gloves on? Roughly how many acres of brassica had you already treated before you sustained your injury? All of these are pertinent to a definitive diagnosis. At the very least, you should consider a series of broccoli infusions and red cabbage tea.

Dear the Cabbage Doctor

A few months ago, my grandson started having fits and has since been diagnosed with epilepsy. He's been put on medication, which seems to have got it under control, but I'm always a bit worried because I don't know that much about his illness. What should I do if he has a fit? Mrs. B. Ford-Clinic, Southwold.

Dear Mrs. Ford-Clinic

Epilepsy is a disease of the inside-the-head, or, as we doctors prefer to call it, the brain. It's usually nothing to worry about unless, as in your grandson's case, he begins to exhibit symptoms of the illness, such as grand mal seizures, banging his head on the floor, thrashing around uncontrollably, foaming at the mouth, peeing his pants, and swallowing his tongue, all of which can be troublesome. If your grandson does have a seizure, make sure you have plenty of cabbage heads to hand. These can be placed under your grandson's head to act as a cushion. And to prevent tongue swallowing, force his teeth open and insert as many Brussels sprouts into his mouth as you can. Peeing his pants cannot be helped, but if you have any buckets of cabbage water handy, you can pour these over his trousers and the smell will easily mask that of the urine, no matter how large his bladder.

Dear the Cabbage Doctor

I'm a man in my early 60s and recently I've needed to get up more often during the night to visit the lavatory. Is this a normal part of the ageing process, or should I be worried? Mr. N. Stigma, Southwark.

Dear Mr. Stigma

No need to be worried. I can categorically state that what you have is a perfectly normal age-related illness known as restless-leg syndrome, which causes you to get out of bed involuntarily and walk about the house. Your legs naturally gravitate towards the places they know best in the house, usually the bathroom, and once there you naturally feel you may as well go to the loo. It's a classic Pavlovian response and nothing to worry about. Strap rhubarb stalks right around your legs every evening so that they function as splints, and you'll find yourself incapable of going anywhere without falling over. Also eat lots of cabbage. Any kind will do.

Dear the Cabbage Doctor

I'm having a very difficult time trying to get rid of head lice from my eight-year-old. I'm fed up buying lotions and potions, applying them to the hair and still finding head lice a week later. Mrs. E. I. Gaza, Southampton

Dear Mrs. Gaza

Kohlrabi is a cultivar of cabbage that will grow practically anywhere. You should already have some in your back garden if you have any sense. The swollen stems resemble small, hard, green balls and are delicious in salads, curries, and even eaten raw. Obtain a basket of kohlrabi stems (200 or so will do), stand about 5 feet from your child, and pelt the lice with the kohlrabi. Keep it up for around an hour and a half to two hours, and you will find that all the lice will be either dead or disappeared, driven away by the relentless barrage. Incidentally, this treatment also works extremely well for the casting out of demons (see epilepsy, above). Expect lots of mucous and possibly some blood.

Dear the Cabbage Doctor

When my niece complained of stomach pains recently, it turned out to be appendicitis. What's the best way to tell the difference between normal tummy ache and appendicitis? Mr. J. Lowfatski, South Shields

Dear Mr. Lowfatski

Put your niece on a diet of broccoli, kale and collard greens for a period of three weeks. If the stomach ache has not gone after this time or your niece has died, the problem is a blockage in the colon and may well be appendicitis.

Dear Cabbage Doctor

My sister is suffering from shingles. I don't know much about the illness, except that it is linked to chickenpox, which we both had as children. Is there a chance I could develop it too? Mrs. P. Nonbio, South Trafford

Dear Mrs. Nonbio

Don't be silly. Of course not. You are immune to your sister.

Dear the Cabbage Doctor

My teenage son has been suffering with severe acne now for six years, and I have been advised that this could lead to scarring and facial disfigurement if I do not get it seen to, but I just don't trust the medical establishment to do anything other than get him hooked on Big Pharma medication. Can you suggest an alternative? Mrs. K. Destry, South Park

Dear Mrs. Destry

I share your wariness. Big Pharma will never tell you that in addition to being packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and positive energy particles, cabbage has been shown in randomised double-blind tests to cure indolence, cack-handedness, and cancer of the teeth. It doesn't take a moron to know when there's a conspiracy afoot.

Your son can use either large cabbage leaves or Romaine lettuce leaves to conceal his acne. Poke two eyeholes in the leaves so that he can see out. No matter how disfigured he becomes, no one need ever know how ugly he is ever again, thanks to cabbage.

Dear the Cabbage Doctor

My daughter-in-law was involved in a car crash three years ago and has not recovered consciousness since. Staff at the hospital say she is in a permanent vegetative state and do not hold out any hope of recovery. Nevertheless, she is married with two children, and I don't want to be responsible for pulling the plug and depriving them of their mother or her husband of his wife without first getting a second opinion from someone who knows about these things. Please, please, please tell me what to do. Mrs. R. Chenemy, Preston

Dear Mrs. Chenemy

I'm not that kind of cabbage doctor.

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Stretch MacGibbon said...

Congratulations! the cabbage doctor is providing a wonderful service.

Doctor, I have recurring night-terrors where I am stuck in a Wax museum being chased by Kunta Kinte. Does this make me a racist? Do you think he will ever catch me? Most importantly, do you have a remedy?

The Cabbage Doctor said...

Dear Stretch MacGibbon--

Thank you for your comments.

Try scattering a couple dozen Brussels sprouts on your mattress before you go to bed. The resultant lumpiness should prevent you from reaching the REM state of sleep during which dreaming occurs, thereby avoiding Mr. Kinte altogether.

Yes, this dream probably does mean you are racist. But don't worry. You're in good company. Hitler was a racist.