14 Oct, 11 | by Professor Matthew Kiernan, Editor of JNNP
For enhanced audio enjoyment click here: Handsome Devil
From our roving JNNP Web Editor Clare Caldwell
This month’s JNNP Featured Patient may well have been a fan of the educational philosopher Maynard Hutchins, whose most memorable quip remains, “whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away.”
Imagine our patient, if you can: a Byronic figure in his early thirties with a penchant for gothic attire, eyeliner, long capes and the gloaming hours, our young man was surely channelling Vlad the Impaler. A pathological aversion to sunlight and an insatiable appetite for take-away curries, in fact take-away anything, completed the picture of a most unusual lad.
So, when the mysterious figure presented himself, via ambulance, at a large teaching hospital, the interest level was high. Surely the Transylvanian chapter was missing one of their number? But no. It appeared that the patient was a local goth who filled his days with slumber and his nights with the tap, tap, tap of keyboards as an IT consultant.
After the crowd of white coats had cleared and the necessaries had been performed, it turned out that the pale gent had suffered the most humdrum of maladies. Not a goring, an exorcism or a vampiric exsanguination – just a plain old stroke. It appeared that modern-day vamps DID require food, water and oxygen to keep the old red stuff flowing.
The Lord of Darkness was keen to escape the fluorescent glow of the stroke ward, so treatment was quickly administered and he was back on track. But as he lay in those crisp white hospital sheets a vial of his blood winged its way to a pathology laboratory in the United Kingdom. The young man’s decrepit teeth had given the treating professor an idea.
A week later, with the results returned, the night owl readied himself for the answer. Was it a brain tumour, tse-tse fever, Ebola!? No. It was scurvy; the ancient sailors’ curse. Mr Midnight’s decades-long rejection of fruit and vegetable matter had done him a disservice. It seemed that vampires could NOT live on blood (and curry) alone.
Doctor’s advice: Ignore the food pyramid at your peril.