Medicine Eighty Years Ago

Actually how doctors lived in the forties…

Alcoholism: The doctor would take the patient aside, put out his cigarette and scream at the patient, “STOP DRINKING, you homo!  Or, are you too much of a homo to stop drinking?”.  Note that, since homosexuality was considered a disease, the term “homo” was clinical.  Note also that emasculation and homophobia were usually taught concurrently in the same semester.

Homosexuality:  The cure for homosexuality was, ironically enough, alcohol.  Homosexuality is no longer considered a disease but, probably out of habit, many gay men and women continue to treat their homosexuality with alcohol..

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Common Cold: Feed a cold but starve a fever. If someone had a cold WITH a fever, you could show them a photograph of food; also, you’d apply a “mustard plaster” to their chest. It didn’t help much but the smell kept others away so they wouldn’t catch it.

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Venereal Disease: Penicillin had been invented but the doctor still got to hit you in the genitals with a rolling pin because it was the high point of his day.

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Polio: Most effective treatment of the time was to buy the afflicted a wheelchair and start calling him or her “Gimpy”.

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Cancer: “Oh you gonna die!”

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Depression: Uppers, downers, shock therapy, repeated visits from your clergyman until you snuck out one night to find some railroad tracks to lie down on.

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Heart Disease: See “Cancer”…

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Dementia: Most effective treatment was to pretend nothing was wrong even though Grandma was wearing the curtains and singing with the cat. Chanting “happy family” over and over didn’t keep her dementia away, but sometimes it would get the cat to leave forcing granny to sing acapella.

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Measles/Chicken Pox: Children with these diseases would get a rare day off from their work in the coal/iron/borax mines and could listen to the radio in their pajamas.

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Two or more broken bones: Full body cast in the hospital with a series of pulleys and cables to keep your leg elevated until Jerry Lewis/The Three Stooges came in and made your existence utterly hellish.

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