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Wed, 1st June 2016

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you... If assaulted, turn the other cheek (hit me again, I love it)... A soft word turneth away wrath...". You see I had a very Christian upbringing, my father being chaplain of a large hospital. Good start but in real life, goodness and mercy were thrashed into my hide every Saturday afternoon by parents who believed Charles Dickens version of Solomon who said "spare the rod, spoil the child" punishment for the weeks misdemeanours (which I could rarely recall) was saved for the weekend hiding. Today, they would be jailed, but they "did it out of love and for my sake."

100,000, Cars

Well, so much for that. In adult life, my home and surgery were built on a quiet roadway which in the intervening years has developed into a 16 lane madhouse highway daily jammed with 100,000 cars all in a hurry to get somewhere, to repeat it all that night in the reverse direction coming home. In short, I live in hoon-ville. I witness Road Rage every hour of every day. Screaming brakes, sirens (police, ambulance, fire brigade, usually all three.) Today there is no room for the gentle texts quoted above. Look sideways at a bloke at the red lights. Raucous radio music shakes the territory… If you give him the finger, he'll probably get out and bash you up. Try and edge from driveway into this endless stream of crazies is life threatening. No gentle "turn the other cheek"…"make way sir".

Lights flash up and down, on and off, as profanities issue forth. Most drivers have probably been up half the night, partying or running a second or third job to pay the mortgage. Half are probably on mind-bending prescription drugs, like anti-depressants (which often send you cuckoo as well as un-depressed). How does one cope with road rage? Remain calm. Keep windows up, doors locked. Do not shout, swear, pull faces or rude gestures. Edge into moving traffic with great caution. Learn karate or some other method of self defence. Make sure your kids are similarly tutored from an early age. Learn how to use your legs and run fast, very fast.

Run Fast

Running beats confrontation. If you're caught, try hard and negotiate. Carry fifty spare dollars in your hip pocket and throw out as a peace offering. In short, in today's world, violence is rapidly taking root, and to cope you must be "ever vigilant" as the armed services still say. So, what about the start of this story? That was written 2000 years ago. I think I will still take up karate and learn to run fast and not give the finger sign. This is a practical medical advice column, for I have often treated the end product of road rage and related horrible social outcomes. It is not nice. Over to you dear readers.



Mum has developed an awfully sore tummy, and says she is bleeding, and feels bloated and distended. The doctor says "diverticulitis". Is this life endangering?


The colon, the last part of the gut system, can gradually develop tiny out pockets. These fill with food residue, empty, refill, empty and so on. Occasionally, some large ones may seal over, the food gradually rot and become infected. This is a lot like appendicitis. It may cause intense pain, and the general gut system distends, which may be agonising, and bleeding can occur. Diagnosis is usually by colonoscopy. Intravenous antibiotics and surgery is needed in severe cases, and part of the gut may be removed. Many do well afterwards.

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I have a horrible curve on my penis like a banana. It makes normal sex very difficult, sometimes impossible. My partner is now complaining.


This is Peyronnies disease. Cause is unknown, but most are probably due to a viral infection of the walls of the urethra, the urinary tube in the penis leading to the exterior. One side is usually worse, causing a gradual contraction and bending. Hard nodules called plaque can be felt underneath. Seek prompt referral to a urologist. Interventions, including removal of plaque, or other plastic measures can often produce a positive outcome.

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My dad sustained sudden chest pain on Saturday morning at 11. I drove him to the hospital where he was given immediate treatment. They whisked him off, put some stents in, and he was back home on Sunday afternoon and feels great. They said he was lucky and could have died without the prompt intervention.


This is a common story. An artery had probably narrowed and a sudden bit of clot in the blood jammed the vessel, leading to the chest pain called angina. It usually takes years to develop, but can also occur suddenly. A tube (catheter) is inserted into a large vessel in the thigh, tracked up to the obstruction (seen on a screen alongside). A balloon dilates the narrowed part, then a metal spring called a stent released allowing normal blood supply. Catheter is removed, and the patient is "cured". However, he must have follow on therapy for life to prevent recurrences in other vessels. This usually means cholesterol lowering and blood thinning medication. Also reduced animal fats, losing weight and blood pressure (if elevated), and more exercise.

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Is it possible to get tummy infections from chewing the finger nails?


Acids in the stomach are very powerful, and destroy most germs that are inadvertently swallowed this way. Just the same, dirt can accumulate on fingers and nails, many also killed by body secretions that cover the body. Ideally, don’t chew nails, wash hands before handling or eating food, and also afterwards to get rid of anything greasy or sticky.

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Is there any benefit in walking on the sand at the beach?


Yes, especially if demon tinea or other foot infections are present. Seawater is mildly antiseptic. The sand abrades away the smelly soft gunk that accumulates with tinea infections, usually between the toes. Then expose them to the sun for a while, which complete the job. Wash socks daily and dry in the sun. This kills tinea bugs. Avoid public shower stalls. Walkways of public bathing areas (e.g. public pools) are also hot spots for tinea, coming from infected feet of others. Tolnaftate lotion is often prescribed by doctors. I like prescribing tea tree oil too.

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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.



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