Saturday 14 June 2014

Alice in Wonderland, Medical Version: "THE VALGUS AND THE CARBUNCLE"

POST #46
PARODY-POEM, with suggestions for singing
ORIGINAL POEM:  "The Walrus and the Carpenter", Lewis Carroll, set in part to music in the Disney animated cartoon, 1951.
PARODY PUBLISHED: CMAJ 1995, J Nucl Cardiol 1999, reprinted here with permission of the author.

Explanation of the parody lyrics: A historical vignette......In the 1990s, attempts to streamline medical care resulted in the propagation of standardized patient-care protocols, clinical  guidelines, and “continuous quality-care initiatives”; these efforts were concurrent with extensive bed closures, reduced hospital stays, and expanded use of day-care procedures. Some health care workers felt that such developments were primarily economically motivated, and that care had been depersonalized. These lines compare the plight of assembly-line patients to the unfortunate oysters in Carroll’s poem.


(poem, can be sung to the Disney version)

“ O Patients, come pre-op with us ”
The guidelines did beseech.
“ A stick, a pee, an ECG,
Some gas, the CUT, the street –
We cannot deal with motions four,
And give a pan to each. ”

“ Your gastric tubes can be recycled
In the blue box there:
Send us a card, e-mail or fax
To say you’re passing air;
And as you leave fill in your Satis-
faction Questionnaire ! ”

“ Next month you’ll find our parking rates
Conveni-ently low:
For total hips, and I-and-Ds
Alice, with
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
And fixing your great toe -
Our waiting-line for porcine valves
No longer moves so slow ! ”

“ Our king-sized rooms for CABGs
Can tempt you while you’re here; 
Or Seven Maids Home Services 
Will lease for half a year. “
But no one spoke, because they had
Shoved off, with all their gear.

Oysters in their oyster-beds

Medical Lexicon: 
stick: nobody dares say 'needleprick' anymore, at least not in N. America
ECG: electrocardiogram, also abbreviated as EKG in the British context
gastric tube: more properly, a naso-gastric tube, device inserted postoperatively to collect saliva and secretions while awaiting spontaneous recovery of gastrointestinal function 
I-and-D: incision and drainage, a surgical procedure to treat local infection
total hip: orthopedic surgeon's jargon for prosthetic replacement of both components of the hip joint
porcine: referring tthe source of biologic heart valve replacements
CABG: coronary artery bypass grafting, an important treatment for vascular heart disease (partially blocked arteries)  

The Valgus and the Carbuncle (see below)
Singable Limerick-Medley #17: Nuclear Cardiology
Singable Limerick-Medley #20: Medical Imaging


(Click on any chord-chart slide to move to 'song-presentation mode'; then navigate through thumbnails at bottom of page.)

Suggested chords follow: 

[C] “ O Patients, come pre-op with us ”
The [F] guidelines [G7] did be[C]seech.
[C] “ A stick, a pee, an ECG,
Some [F] gas, the [G7] CUT, the [C] street –
We cannot deal with [Am] motions four,
And [F] give a [G7] pan to [C] each. ”


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