Thank God for this product

I could tell something was wrong the minute I stepped into the exam room from the oddly canted way the patient was sitting on the table.

“What seems to be the trouble?” I asked, though I already knew the answer.

The patient could barely mumble a few syllables before bursting into tears.  “It… it’s my bowels, doctor.  They’re slanted,” she sobbed.  A glance at her lopsided abdomen was all it took to confirm that what she said was true.  Her kishkas were tipped all the way over onto the left, like her spleen was a tubby kid and her colon was a see-saw.

I broke the news to her as gently as I could.  “I’m sorry to say you have Colonic Imbalance, also known as Pisa syndrome or ’tilty-gut.’  It was once nearly incurable, the only known treatment being to vigorously shake patients until things slid back into place.  But thanks to this miracle product, your digestive balance can be restored.”

She dabbed her eyes.  “It’s funny, doctor.  Just the other day I saw an ad for that very same product, and when I heard the phrase ‘digestive balance’ I assumed it was some asinine advertising ploy designed to create the appearance of a medical benefit where none exists.  How could I have been so wrong?”

I sighed.  “It’s a common misunderstanding.  ‘Maintains digestive balance’ certainly sounds meaningless and idiotic, or at best a euphemism for ‘helps you poo.’  But as an unspecified number of gastroenterologists apparently indicated once in a marketing survey, this product is an important means of preventing a problem people otherwise would probably never have known they had.  That is, until their guts went all tipsy.”

She grasped my hand in gratitude as she wobbled toward the door.  “Thank you, doctor.  I’ll start ingesting this wonder drug right away, along with every foodstuff with the word ‘antioxidant’ on the label like you recommended last time.”

I watched through the window as she lurched her way across the parking lot and shook my head.  When would people learn?  Maybe this young woman would serve as a cautionary example to others.  Maintaining digestive balance is no laughing matter.

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. The right time to read this is a quarter of 12 after two beers and a long day.

    I think I woke up the kids laughing.

  2. Russell on the subject of possibly krank products, though possibly this is only loosely related, could I get your opinion on diet pop? Specifically Coke Zero.
    I never drank much pop because while I enjoyed the flavor my body would respond to the beverage by flashing into such a heated state that I felt like I was cooking in my own sweat sodden clothes (fruit juices do this to me as well to a much lesser degree).
    Anyhow, long story short I tripped across coke zero one day after the gym and A) the flavor really hits the spot and B) no biological heat explosions. The label says it’s zero calori so I assumed it’s some cunning aspartame combo or a sweet salt or something (oddly I find Diet coke nasty tasting, God(ess) help me have I been branded??).

    Anyhow on a whim a while back I wiki/googled Coke Zero and have gotten everything from the gamut of “has been proven to cause no health problems” to “encourages you to gain weight by sending false sweet signals” to “causes your pancreas to develop so many tumors that it bloats up, escapes your body and then sues you for child support”.

    Any opinion on your part as to if it’s poison or just pap?

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