cupid’s disease or the wages of sin

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every time I read a site like this, I am thankful for the discovery of penicillin. because in the bad old days, if you caught syphilis, the treatments were either bizarre, ineffectual or even worse than the disease

Ulrich von Hutten was well acquainted with these ‘cures’, having suffered through the appalling mercury vapor treatment eleven times in nine years. As he explained the process in his book, patients were shut in a “stew,” a small steam room, for twenty or thirty days at a time. Seated or lying down, they were spread from head to foot with a mercury-based ointment, swathed in blankets, and left until the sweat poured down; often they fainted from the heat. Disgusting secretions issued from their mouths and noses; sores filled their throats and tongues, their cheeks and lips, and the roofs of their mouths. Their jaws swelled; often their teeth fell out. Everything stank.

Stranger methods for applying mercury were dreamed up, too. It could be taken internally, for example: one eighteenth-century recipe called for mixing the liquid metal with hot chocolate, though the author cautioned against this exotic beverage because he felt that the chocolate was too dangerous for those afflicted with the French disease. One entrepreneurial medic marketed underpants coated inside with a mercury ointment.

the ravages of the disease were ghastly and I’ll spare you the details but if you’re feeling either very brave or particularly reckless this is an amazing French site with what I hope are only wax replicas from the 18th century. you can scroll backwards or forwards but they are not for the faint hearted.

prostitutes, actresses and women of loose morals were often blamed for the spread of the disease. here’s a picture of some happy loose women to help you recover if you clicked the link and saw the chancre mou

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if you survived long enough to reach the tertiary stages you would eventually succumb to insanity. there were plenty of gimcrack hospitals around then but you can be sure they weren’t staffed with nurses as pretty as ours.

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image sourced here

nursemyra’s advice of the day: to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, always check your condoms for holes before use…

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Published in: on December 20, 2007 at 7:29 am  Comments (16)  

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. There has to be a hole at one end – doesn’t there?
    I didn’t click the link – cos I’m very sensitive – so I’m looking forward to hearing other people’s reactions ………….. I’m waiting …..

  2. I’ve learned through bitter experience that the words “if you’re feeling either very brave or particularly reckless” aren’t to be taken lightly. If you need me, I’ll be standing over there with Daddypapersurfer.

  3. they’re pretty amazing, and yes, they’re wax.
    friday tomorrow. just reminding you.

  4. I only looked because I knew it was just wax.

    Ever heard Monty Python’s Medical Love Song? My favourite part:

    Our syphilitic kisses
    Sealed the secret of our tryst.
    You gave me scrotal pustules
    With a quick flick of your wrist.
    Your trichovaginitis
    Sent shivers down my spine.
    I got snail tracks in my anus
    When your spirochetes met mine.

  5. Oh dear, Monty Python and spirochetes! I could never work out why spiro did that – he was smart enough to pass without cheting – – -

  6. Clicked on the link and had to stop at the breast with two nipples. (two- no waiting)
    I mean, I love breasts but . . . Sheeshhhh.
    Totally skeeved me out.
    ~m

  7. Ew. EEWWWW. I don’t think that second nipple is a nipple, either. I wonder if mercury poisoning is really that much worse …

    Let’s talk about those French ladies. The ones with the impossible proportions!

  8. See if you can score a DVD of an old movie called “Sex Madness.” Much like Reefer Madness, except it deals with syphilis instead of marijuana.

  9. AAAAAAAAArrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!

  10. It’s WAX FERGAWDSAKE.
    Get a grip! Speaking of which, the one with the two fingers on the end of the pecker had me confused for a while. Yikes, what made it grow FINGERNAILS? Yes, yes, I figured it out after a second look. I think.

  11. the penises weren’t the scariest things on that site, it was the nose that gave me the heebie jeebies

  12. There’s a book called,” The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.”

    There’s a Chapter about an old lady who had Cupid’s Disease when she was young- and it came back very late in her life.

    I won’t give anymore away- it’s a good read.

  13. Wax or no wax, I won’t be sticking my wick anywhere near it.

  14. Anita Marie: I’ve read several of olive sack’s books, he’s such an interesting writer. but I’d forgotten about that old lady. maybe I should get pathology to test some of our lusty old patients

    Ian: no playing with matches either :-)

  15. The people responsible for the first image … they never knew Tom of Finland, did they?

  16. hey Rain: did you mean the poster at the top or the first image for the brave readers who clicked the link?


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