wait near the rear end

We’ve delved into the fear of being buried alive before at the Gimcrack. If you want to refresh your memory you can read about it here and here. Or you could just read this post instead…..

image by Rubex found here

John Snark wrote the Thesaurus of Horror in 1817.

“Terror, despair, horror seizes on him who is buried alive. The heart is rent asunder by unusual impulses. The emunctories choked by surcharge of faeces, rendered viscid by incalescence. The office of inosculation tries in vain to force its valves and runs retrograde bathing the poor grappling victim in extravasated blood in this dreadful scuffle till coagulation’s influence stagnates and he becomes a fermentable mass of murdered senseless decomposing matter.”

He urged physicians to try the Sphincter Test to confirm death.

“The test used by Turkish physicians seems very simple and natural, for they never think a subject dead while there is irritability or contractile power in the sphincter anus muscle. The test requires a tube to be inserted into the mouth of the deceased. The doctor then squeezes on a balloon-like bladder, to force air into the throat. One lucky assistant holds the nose and lips closed while another waits near the rear end. Death is confirmed if the air blast shoots out of the anus with a clap, the conclusion being that if the sphincter muscle has lost its contractability the person is really gone.”

they should be so lucky


The gimcrack is a very modern asylum, but still the patients whine and snivel about the lack of amenities like roulette tables and sherry before dinner. The next time one of our ingrates complains about the three-ply toilet tissue being too scratchy for their delicate arse I’m going to tell them about Haydock Lodge

“The register of patient deaths said that 18 had died of exhaustion, 20 of diarrhoea, 13 from general debility, 12 of epilepsy and 17 of apoplexy.

The commissioners said that the diet “was as liberal as most, and more liberal than many” of those in pauper private houses.

However, there was a uniform deficiency in the amount of milk used in the “rice milk”. Fourteen, out of the forty-six quarts that should have been used, was made up of water.

houdini in a milk can

The evidence proved  that the dinners were occasionally ill-cooked and unpalatable, that the potatoes were for a time indifferent, but no fault was ever found with the bread or the beer.

It appears to be now generally allowed that the insane require a liberal and nutritious diet. Meals containing large quantities of peas and other flatulent vegetables are seldom adapted to the wants of the insane.


The wonderfully named Lunacy Commission was sent in to investigate. They found the kitchen to “extremely dirty, wholly insufficient in size and staffed by slovenly persons.”

hepatic douche

As the majority of the inmates were Welsh, the management were obliged to engage Welsh speaking staff. Again, the Lunacy Commission was distressed to find that the “two respectable Welsh women were dismissed in September because one of the two (whose respectability was very much in question) stayed out until midnight, without leave, with one of the male attendants.”

wayward nurse

Published in: on July 2, 2009 at 8:37 am  Comments (36)  

hand me my guessing tube* Mr Throckmorton

every industry or workplace has its own language and slang terms. at the gimcrack we use acronyms like BMT** so as not to embarrass a female patient with faecal incontinence who is in need of a very thorough wash.

then there are some affectionate terms like “house red” for blood or “bordeaux” for blood in the urine and one of my favourites, “chocolate hostage” for the constantly constipated. we also use DILF but only occasionally as there aren’t that many attractive doctors practising geriatric psychiatry.

thanks to Archie for showing me this chocolate kamasutra page

but my favourite piece of medical slang relates to the Throckmorton Sign which is the supposition that on an abdominal or hip xray, the penis will point to the site of the injury.

* a guessing tube is, if you haven’t already guessed it, a stethoscope

** a BMT is a bowel movement taco. yes, I know it’s gross. that’s why we use the acronym

Published in: on October 22, 2008 at 8:06 am  Comments (20)  

sauteed vagina

while on her recent tour of duty, nursemyra and her medical friends had a discussion about treating yeast infections if access to western medicine proved limited. the conversation took a personal turn with ninnynurse wondering aloud whether certain symptoms indicated an overabundance of flora was occurring in her own delectable honey pot.

DoctorT showed professional concern before recommending the local treatment of inserting a peeled garlic clove at bedtime. to facilitate removal the following morning, he suggested sewing a string through the middle of the clove beforehand.

ninnynurse appeared rather appreciative of this advice, particularly as the consultation was free and accompanied by lubricating mai tais. it didn’t seem to matter to her that his qualifications were from Degrees-R-Us as he had attractive facial hair and a couple of erotic tattoos. on the other hand it didn’t seem to worry him that the honeypot might be harbouring a few extra blossoms.

later in the evening, during the followup consultation, DoctorT found his medical bag contained no garlic so another method was used involving his placebo. some patients are more susceptible to the placebo effect and ninnynurse apparently is one of these.

I fear by the time she returned to her home country she may well have been thoroughly sauteed and beyond the help of a little acupuncture and a dollop of yoghurt. luckily there’s always flagyll for the yeast infection though science is still working on the antidote to attractive facial hair combined with erotic tattoos.