Check out the article Ten weird and terrifying medical instruments from the past to see some interesting items from medical history. I love stuff like this!
There’s an email chain letter going around that I found interesting with a nice dose of humor. Basically, the email asks you to guess what the following image is:
A hint is that it was used by physicians!
The instrument in question is a tobacco smoke enema device used to well… blow smoke up people’s butts! It was thought that doing so could treat gastrointestinal discomfort and was even used in attempts to resuscitate victims of near drowning. Fortunately, people eventually realized that the nicotine actually poisoned patients. For more information, visit this link!
I always have been and surely always will be intrigued by bizarre facts and information. The more strange it is, the more interesting it always seems to be!
Thus, I have decided to start a “Bizarre Medicine” category on this blog and will attempt to regularly present some of the more unconventional medical phenomena throughout history and even presently. And what better way to start than at the end… the end of the alimentary canal that is.
So what is a nutrient enema? It’s exactly what it sounds like…. feeding through the rectum. Dating back as far as the ancient Egyptians, nutrient enemas were used when normal feeding wasn’t possible. The technique was not only executed for thousands of years, but highly encouraged by physicians of the 1800s. When U.S. President James A. Garfield was shot in 1881, he underwent the treatment until his eventual death. Fortunately, with the introduction of feeding tubes and IV feeding, the technique is no longer employed by modern physicians.
Here are a couple fun facts for the day.
“Eighty to ninety percent of the sensory experience of eating is olfaction.”
“We process visual input ten times faster than olfactory.”
Both facts are direct quotes from the book Gulp: Adventures of the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach