In the modern world, you think you have a pretty good idea of what's good for you and what's bad for you. For example, going to the gym and putting in time on the treadmill is good, shooting yourself in the fucking head with a rifle is bad. But, the human body is a ridiculous bundle of evolutionary misfires, and it continually finds ways to surprise us. That's why ...
Back in 1988, a young man known only as George was plagued by severe obsessive-compulsive tics that locked him in a never-ending cycle of hand-washing and showering. The overwhelming condition drove George to Randy Quaid levels of insanity and forced him out of school and work. His mother, who was apparently not a very good one, eventually told her son to commit suicide if he thought that things were really that bad.
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Effectively rendering any over-caring-mom complaints by teens meaningless until the end of time.
So the distraught 19-year-old took her advice and deep-throated the barrel of a .22 rifle. Of course, seasoned suicide advocates say that you should never try to off yourself with a bullet through the mouth lest you may survive with some unforeseen side effects, and George learned that lesson right away. George failed to kill himself, but he did manage to destroy part of his left frontal lobe.
Now, it's worth mentioning that, after hundreds of years of study, scientists still have less understanding about how the brain works than the composition of an atom. We don't know how to intentionally reach into a brain and surgically switch off somebody's OCD. But it turned out that, through sheer luck, shooting part of his brain to hell did in fact wipe out George's symptoms.
"Can you hand that back? I've got some Game Of Thrones spoilers I want out, too."
Amazingly, doctors detected no other brain damage and determined through numerous psychological evaluations that his IQ was unaffected. George went back to school and became an A-grade student. We assume his relationship with his mother remained shaky at best.
By the way, if you're thinking you've read this story on Cracked before, you haven't -- it's just that we've previously discussed at least two other cases where people accidentally cured one mental illness or another with a well-placed bullet. Still, do we need to tell you not to try this? We're thinking the success rate is pretty low.
New Zealander Denis Duthie is a diabetic on five different medications for his disease. That's risky enough -- mixing drugs can be as unpredictable as, say, trying to contain an escaped dinosaur with a pack of trained velociraptors and Andy from Parks And Recreation. So it's usually ill-advised to go ahead and add alcohol to the equation.
But that's exactly what Duthie did at a wedding anniversary party in 2012, when he threw caution to the wind and decided to liberate an entire bottle of vodka, maybe just to see what happened. After polishing off the bottle, he blacked out, which is pretty much to be expected, only this time, he found that he was still blacked out after he woke up. Duthie had gotten blind drunk in the most literal sense.
However, his sense of touch had become so strong he could feel the dicks his friends had drawn on him.
After rushing him to the hospital, doctors determined that his blindness was due to formaldehyde toxicity, which is usually only the kind of thing you have to worry about if you've been drinking nail polish remover or extremely questionable bathtub moonshine, but apparently adding vodka to a palm full of prescription pills can do it as well. The thing about formaldehyde is that it's neutralized ... by alcohol.
The hospital didn't have any alcohol available, so there was only one solution to save Duthie's life and sight. They sent the hospital registrar to the closest liquor store on orders to pick up 1,000 ccs of Johnnie Walker Black Label, stat. Of course, Red Label would have been cheaper, but apparently they decided not to force a man to drink that swill even to save his life.
"Nurse, don't forget the Solo cups and Ping-Pong ball! I won't lose another one, dammit!"
They administered the medicinal whiskey, and Duthie woke up with his sight back and a clean bill of health (except the diabetes, that's one thing you can't drink away).
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Twenty-seven-year-old Ellie Lobel was bitten by a tick that left its mark on her for the next 15 years, which is probably about 15 centuries in tick years. That opportunistic little asshole's quick meal left Lobel crippled with Lyme disease, which is a bacterial condition that leaves its victims with permanent flu-like symptoms and agonizing full-body pain.
After 15 years of futile treatments and struggling to even get out of bed in the morning, Lobel eventually became suicidal. Deciding to just let the disease take her, she stopped treatment and moved to California to live out whatever time she had left. Because, if you're looking for places to die, it's best to pick somewhere within walking distance of an In-N-Out Burger.
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It's called "Who Gives a Damn Anymore?-Style"; it's on the secret menu.
But things just got worse for Lobel in the palm tree state. As evidence that bugs just really had a major vendetta against her, she wasn't in California long before she was attacked by a swarm of Africanized killer bees. And as it turned out, Lobel was deathly allergic to bees.
Lobel was only expected to live another few months anyway, so when the bees swarmed on her, she weighed her other options and figured "Hey, whatever, this'll do." She refused to be taken to hospital and asked only to be taken to bed and have her corpse picked up in the morning.
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"But after 10 a.m.; I'm not a morning person."
But not only did Lobel not die from the attack, which was unusual in and of itself (even if she wasn't allergic, they're called "killer bees" for a reason), she actually found that her pain started to go away. After a few weeks, it appeared that she was somehow completely free of Lyme disease, as though this was a comic book origin story and her superpower was not having Lyme disease.
Doctors have no idea what happened. Lobel tried to research her miraculous recovery and found one very obscure study from 1997 that suggested that bee venom could kill the bacteria associated with Lyme disease. So it's possible that Lobel has simply stumbled on an unconventional treatment that hasn't been widely studied because the Hippocratic oath largely prohibits releasing a horde of killer bees onto a patient for research purposes.
Michigan resident Jerry Douthett suspected that something might have been wrong when the big toe on one of his feet began to rot away and leak a bizarre ooze, but decided to just keep an eye on it. This was despite the urging of his wife, a registered nurse, that this is one of those things that you should probably see a doctor about.
One night, the couple went to a bar and Jerry proceeded to work on the kind of hangover you tell your grandkids about. After he blacked out, his wife took him home to bed to sleep it off, and some time later he awoke to find that he had apparently misplaced his entire toe, a discovery that he did not handle well.
Meanwhile, the family dog, a Jack Russell terrier named Kiko, was licking his chops and wearing that familiar dog expression that says "What?"
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Hey, you know the rule: If you have something you don't want the dog to eat, then don't leave it out.
After Jerry was rushed to the hospital, doctors diagnosed him with type 2 diabetes and revealed that he had narrowly avoided death. The diabetes had given him a foot infection that, if he'd let it go for any longer, would have progressed into his body and put him in a casket. His saving grace was the fact that Kiko had snuck in during the night and performed some impromptu life-saving surgery, by which we mean that the dog ate his festering toe off. Being a Jack Russell terrier, we can bet that it wasn't the grossest thing he had eaten that day.
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"It was no cat poop or dead squirrel genitals, but still pretty good."
Apparently, rotting diabetic flesh is like candy to dogs because it gives off a smell that is both sweet and, uh, meaty. It's unsure whether Kiko recognized that it was part of his master that he was eating or just a meat Popsicle that someone had dropped on the bed, but in either case, millions of years of evolutionary drive made Jerry's diabetic toe irresistible. He has since sworn off drinking and presumably keeps Kiko very well-fed before bedtime.
Baseball legend Roy Oswalt came very close to retiring before anyone had ever heard of him, after he suffered a shoulder injury in 1999. Sidelined for a torn shoulder capsule during a game with the Michigan Battle Cats, Oswalt wasn't sure whether he'd ever be able to pitch again.
Crippled by constant, intense arm pain, Oswalt went home to Mississippi in order to rest up and hope that time would sate the invisible demons that were shoving flaming lances into his shoulder blades. While he was at home, he contented himself with hobbies like fixing up his 1985 Ford Pickup.
Hmm. Maybe you just have to be a truck guy for that to make a lick of sense.
While getting elbow deep into his engine for some good old-fashioned driveway car surgery, Oswalt grabbed a spark plug wire just as the engine started up and began to pump electricity through his body. If cartoons are anything to go by, we assume his hair spiked out and his entire skeleton was clearly visible for the full minute that he was stuck there.
But according to Oswalt, after he woke up on the driveway, his shoulder immediately felt better. Hollywood teaches us that electricity is a cure for basically everything up to and including death, and this is one occasion where it was proven right. The very next day, Oswalt found that he was able to pitch again with no problems.
Presumably finding a way to repeat the process before every game, because baseball.
His doctor confirmed the miraculous recovery, theorizing that the shock had somehow loosened scar tissue that was preventing his arm from healing properly. A week after his bout of impromptu DIY electrotherapy, Oswalt was back to hurling supersonic fastballs, and the rest is history.
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Six-year-old Charlie Smith, from the English town of Epsom, was besieged by hundreds of daily epileptic seizures until he started eating like an American.
Before his epicurean breakthrough, his severe epilepsy was being "treated" by a cocktail of drugs that did slightly worse than nothing due to a range of unpleasant side effects and no noticeable effect on the actual seizures. As a last resort, his doctor suggested that he kick the drugs and instead take up a diet incredibly high in fat, at which point you would expect that the "doctor" turned out to be Paula Deen. But incredibly, swapping out the meds for butter, lard, and cheese actually stopped Charlie's seizures completely. The worst thing he has to worry about now is running out of syrup for his daily pancakes. There are worse problems to have.
Unfortunately, insurance won't cover extra cheese.
And it's not a one-off, either. A recent study involving 20 severely epileptic children has shown that high-fat diets are a viable solution. All 15 children who managed to stick with the diet displayed fewer epileptic episodes, and three of them were completely seizure-free at study's end. These results held even when they were slowly weaned off their ketogenic diets.
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We certainly don't have the energy to do anything as demanding as a seizure after eating like that.
Science's best guess as to how this works is that noshing on fatty foods while laying off on carbohydrates starves the brain of its favorite energy source, glucose. So it's forced to gain energy from burning fats instead, which, while not the preferred source of brain food, are also less likely to trigger the brain into throwing up its brain-arms in distress and causing seizures. The phenomenon is subject to ongoing investigation, so if you're an epileptic, please don't take this as an endorsement to replace your diet with greasy handfuls of butter. On a similar note ...
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Imagine a doctor prescribes you some pills, and when you ask what they do, the doctor replies, "They're addictive, expensive, and they kill you. Nothing else." Nobody would take those pills, unless they were wrapped in paper and smoked, in which case they would become a trillion dollar industry. Cigarettes are basically the exact opposite of medicine. Unless you have ulcerative colitis (that's ulcers in your butthole).
Coriell Institute for Medical Research
"Seriously, I'm one more bathroom trip away from trying Maalox enemas."
In the 70s and 80s, when smoking was a lot cooler than it is today, doctors began to notice a curious pattern about this very specific disease -- smokers never seemed to get it. Enough research has been done to rule out coincidence, and now UC is basically known as a non-smoker's disease.
One study followed 51 smokers who burned through almost a pack a day and had suffered from UC. Amazingly, all were found to be in remission. To totally stick it to science, 11 of these individuals didn't even require additional medication. The only thing is, while the effect is clear, scientists have no idea why it happens. It might be that nicotine relaxes spasmodic bowel muscles. Or it could increase production of a soothing, protective bowel mucus. And yes, we're sorry for that imagery. Or maybe it suppresses an overactive immune system, as is in the case of a psoriatic ex-smoker who enjoyed remission every time he revisited his habit.
Counterpoint: No blood in your underwear.
So that's one thing that cigarettes have going for them. They might riddle all your other organs with tar and cancer, but they give you Superman's ass.
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