Paging Doctor Langley: Your Health Questions Answered

I recently became a Blogger for a Medical Journal. This means that I am now basically a Doctor, complete with stethoscope , terrible handwriting, and the flaming bags of Dog Turds which were left on my doorstep by Jeremy Hunt.

Image result for stethoscope

I celebrated becoming a full-fledged Medical Practitioner the only way I knew how: by going on Facebook, updating my status, and then spending the next three hours clicking “refresh” in the hope that someone else would Like it. Instead of Likes, however, I got emails. Emails from friends and acquaintances who for whatever reason could not see a Doctor or make it to a hospital, and needed me to diagnose, advise, and ultimately cure them.

As you may know, Doctors swear an oath to respect the privacy of their patients. So if I want to share some of the juiciest requests for help I got, then I am going to have aliases. Sorry. Not very helpful if you are trying to avoid sick people, I know. At least they will know who they are if they read this, right?

DOCTOR ADAM, I FEEL AWFUL. I HAVE BEEN VOMITING, I FEEL COLD ALL THE TIME, AND I CAN’T EVEN DRINK ANYTHING WITHOUT FEELING LIKE I HAVE BEEN PUNCHED IN THE STOMACH. CAN YOU HELP?

Gut Feeling

Ah, the old stomach virus. A two-week juice cleanse compacted into twenty-four hours. The good news is that these things tend to last a day. The bad news is that whatever you don’t throw up will probably be shitted out. Sometimes both at once.  Drink as much water as you can, binge-watch something on Netflix, go to sleep and stop being a baby. You’ll be fine.

DOCTOR ADAM, PLEASE STOP MESSAGING ME. I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT NOT REPLYING TO YOU WOULD HAVE MADE THINGS PERFECTLY CLEAR, BUT YOU JUST CANNOT TAKE A HINT. I DO NOT WANT TO HANG OUT, BECAUSE YOU WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY GET THE WRONG IDEA AND TRY IT ON AGAIN, AND I DO NOT WANT TO PUT EITHER OF US THROUGH THE GRIEF. SO KNOCK IT OFF.

Mixed Signals

In my medical opinion, this patient clearly needs some one-to-one therapy to address their commitment issues. Maybe at my place? Over dinner, see what happens?

DOCTOR ADAM, YOU’RE A RUNNER. HAVE YOU ANY EXPERIENCE WITH A PULLED HAMSTRING? HOW SOON CAN I RETURN TO TRAINING?

Sprinter

Pulled Hamstrings are the worst. But it’s not as bad as getting your foot run over by a steamroller. That would really hurt. I suggest that you keep telling yourself that as you put your kit back on and start running again, you absolute-I mean, come on, who lets a pulled hamstring slow them down? Honestly. All you get is excuses from some people.

DOCTOR ADAM, WHAT INJECTIONS SHOULD I GET IF I AM TRAVELLING TO SOUTH AMERICA?

Globetrotter

Can you believe this guy? Honestly, “what injections do I need in South America?”-What, like South America is somehow toxic to Europeans? Not English-Europeans. Because we are all one people, unlike what SOME people might think. Get out of my office!

DOCTOR ADAM, WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A RASH ON THE BACK? SHOULD I BE WORRIED?

Skin Problems

Only start worrying if it turns out you are growing  wings. True, you will be able to start fighting crime, but you will never be able to find a shirt that fits you again. I would start going to the gym now.

DOCTOR ADAM, I THOUGHT I MADE IT CLEAR THAT I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU AGAIN. IF YOU KEEP HARRASSING ME ON FACEBOOK, I WILL GET THE POLICE INVOLVED. LEAVE ME ALONE.

Increasingly Mixed Signals

If you are going to do things like block my account and report me to admins, how do you expect me to help you?

DOCTOR ADAM, I THINK I AM LOSING MY HAIR. CAN YOU HELP SLOW IT DOWN?

Clare Bald-ing

No. Don’t be daft.

If you have a medical question that needs answering, message me or leave a comment on the blog. I promise to be a far superior alternative to those do-gooders with offices and secretaries and medical licences.

 

 

 

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Chasing the Dragon: A cautionary tale from the world of Pokemon


After a brief delay, Pokemon Go is now available in the United Kingdom. Those of us who couldn’t be bothered or were simply too scared to bypass the settings on our phones and start playing when the game actually came out can now catch em all to our hearts content. But beware! Pokemon is no innocent game. It has the power to create and destroy a man. As I know all too well.

Our story begins in the year 2000. What a time to be alive. Bill Clinton was in the White House and Monica Lewinsky. The Spice Girls were literally months away from imploding. And in playgrounds across the country, children were collecting, trading, and occasionally stabbing each other over small pieces of cardboard with pictures of monsters on them.

Now, it may come as a bit of a shock to some of you, but I have always been something of a geek. And when Pokemon fever gripped the nation, I found myself diving headfirst into the world of Pikachu, Charmander and (ugh) Jynx. I watched the cartoon religiously. I saw the movies. I even memorised the words to Ant and Dec’s pokerap and had the sheer gall to be surprised years later when I finished Sixth Form not having so much as held hands with a girl. It was only to be expected that I would receive a pack of Pokemon cards for Christmas. What I did not see happening, however, was opening the pack to find a Shiny Charizard staring back at me.

(While we are here, why were some cards shiny? Was it supposed to make them more valuable to collectors or more enticing to the roving gangs of preteen muggers or what? Still don’t get it.)

Anyway, I thought that my new Charizard was a fairly cool card. But I had no idea how fairly cool other people would find it until I actually bought it into school. I couldn’t quite understand why, but once people found out about it, they suddenly started being a lot nicer to me. They would laugh at my jokes. They would invite me to sit with them at lunch. They would make gifts of gold, wine and women, none of which I actually wanted because I was ten at the time, but it would have been rude to say no. 

Over time, however, their intentions slowly became clear. Every conversation inevitably turned to if I was willing to trade my card. For two Ivysaurs, a Dugtrio, maybe even a Wartortle. Foolishly I ignored the signs and took the opportunity to become pretty darn conceited. But pride comes before a fall. In my hubris I traded my shiny card away, convinced that nothing would be changed. 

And to a degree, I was right. Nothing changed. I was still the same nerd that I was when I started, but now the kids had something else to tease me with now that the Pokemon craze had worn off. So take this as a lesson. Don’t be taken in by the siren song of Pokemon. Otherwise you will be chased home from the bus stop everyday by kids yelling Pikachu at you in between throwing things. Such as rocks, drinks cans, and on one occasion a doughnut.

On Calorie counting, Bin-Diving, and Other hallmarks of Recovery.

It’s been a year since I left the hospital where I was being treated for Anorexia. When they discharge you from places like the Clinic, you can guarantee that someone will tell you that the first year is the hardest. That you will not be completely recovered even though you have reached your target weight, and even with time you will still find things challenging or frightening or both. It doesn’t just go away because you no longer look like a Belsen inmate. Or words to that effect.

On the whole, things are good. I am living on my own in my own flat; I have a job which does not include regular insults or the threat of contracting an STD; I have actually been on holiday for the first time in over a decade. Life has improved in some ways. And if you, the reader, think that the things I might talk about will trigger you in some way, you should probably stop reading now. The last thing I want is to upset someone enough that they do something stupid or feel bad about themselves. But if we, the ones who actually live this won’t discuss it openly, then who will? We need to be as open as we can so that others going through the same thing might not feel so alone, so that “normal” people can understand what we might be going through, so we can keep raising awareness and hopefully find a new way of treating a disease that dominates the life of the sufferer. 

But if it’s going to upset you, please stop reading now.


The first thing you realise upon leaving the clinic is how little things have actually changed. On paper, you can eat or drink anything, anytime, anywhere, regardless of the calorie content or how much exercise you have done. For a while that might even be true. But then it starts again. The cold sweat at the thought of eating out in a restaurant. The furtive glances at food packaging, often putting it down in favour of a “healthier” option. The excuses you make to avoid going out for drinks after work, when all you really want to do is to go for a run. 

Slowly but surely, you begin to limit the amount you eat. But unlike the first time you did this, you actually end up eating more. This is because you now get hungry (thanks, therapy!) and the smaller and smaller meals that you try to live on just aren’t enough for you anymore. So you snack. And snack. And snack some more. On anything, it doesn’t matter. I myself can no longer keep nuts, crisps, chocolate, peanut butter, cocoa powder, pre-packaged ham, butter mints, shortbread or tubs of ice cream in the house because my self-control is apparently shot to shit, and I am sure I’m not the only one who has attempted to throw out the offending items only to go rooting through the bins a day or so later. You know it’s wrong, but you can’t stop. You are trash and trash is what you deserve.

But say you manage to avoid binging and bin-eating and ordering the salad while everyone else on your table shares a pizza. You still have to live believing that everyone expects you to fail. Relapse. How could they not? Always asking “are you okay? Are you eating enough?” Or at least it seems that way to you, already a paranoid product of six months worth of enquiries into your diet and mental wellbeing. It will seem as though no-one is willing to trust you, to rely on you, to believe that when push comes to shove you will make the right choice. The hell of it is that you know they are right to be concerned. You want it so badly. You want to look like the way you used to. Healthy, not the flabby specimen you see now in the mirror. 

But for all that, for all the hardship and the secrets and the near constant state of tension, things are still better than what they were. You are alive, for one thing, and with life comes possibility. You can still run in the rain,make people laugh, see things that are interesting or beautiful or just downright cool. You can learn a healthier way of living, develop a better attitude toward yourself and the nessecary evil of food. You might even, if you are lucky, finally find someone who likes you as much as you like them. 

So don’t give up. It’s only been a year. There’s much more to get through yet.

How I avoided Writing about Brexit

Now that the dust has settled following the UK referendum and all that remains is for the Government to decide which rampant homophobe they would rather have running the country, two questions remain: Just where the hell was I when all this Brexit malarky was going on? And now that I’m back, why couldn’t I have stayed there?

Don’t get me wrong, constant reader. I wanted to write something during the Referendum. But life-and the fact that you already couldn’t move for articles, op-ed pieces, youtube videos and rudimentary cave paintings spewing Pro and Anti-European sentiment-got in the way.

That’s not to say I was being lazy or idle. Far from it! Here are just a few things that distracted me from adding yet another half-baked opinion to an ill-concieved and ultimately catastrophic debate.

I WENT TO WORK

Under my current shift pattern, I am either at work from seven in the morning to three in the afternoon or from three in the afternoon to eleven at night.  If you know that the better part of your day will be spent sitting at a computer, you find that you want to do other things with your time that don’t involve keyboards, screens, or desk sharing.

I READ SOME BOOKS

Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse? The Postmortal by Drew Magary? The Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin? These are all examples of things that can be read, right?

I SLEPT IN

Because really, who gets up before Nine anymore? Unless you need to be in work for seven. (See above).

I WENT TO THE GYM

Where I got told off for running on the treadmill too fast, causing it to become unbalanced. Faulty equipment or an example of just how awesome I am at Cardio? You decide!

I TRIED MY HAND AT POETRY

My heart is Aeroplane Food

Undercooked Rice, Overheated Chicken

Stale Bread roll that is actually good

With the chicken sauce that you dip in.

It’s a metaphor. For how I clearly need a writing class.

I MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE DOWNLOADED THE NEW BEYONCE ALBULM

In my defence, “Sandcastles” is emotionally devestating.  Admitting that it may have made me tear up a bit does not make me any less of a man.

See? I was vey busy. And now that a second referendum has been rejected by David Cameron, chances are that there will be even more opportunities for me to procrastinate and not write about things that actually matter. Coming up next on Adam’s Blog-Does an Apple Watch make you more or less of a Penis? The answer will stun you!