By Scott LaFee

May 19, 2021 6 min read

Folks have heard of COVID "long-haulers," persons whose COVID-19 symptoms persist for weeks and months. But COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized may have other issues after discharge. For example, they are at higher risk for organ damage, particularly to the lungs, heart, kidneys and liver.

Among more than 47,000 COVID-19 patients surveyed, nearly one-third were readmitted to the hospital and more than one in 10 died. Those rates were four and eight times greater, respectively, than in people in the comparison group over the previous 10 years.

Body of knowledge

When you say someone won by "a hair's width," it's generally agreed to be a very small size or sum. But it's hardly exact, microscopically speaking. The thickness of a hair strand varies quite a lot, from approximately 15 microns (a micron is 39 one-millionths of an inch) to 180 microns, 12 times greater.

If you need exactitude and someone says "about the width of a human hair," ask them to explain the phrase "about as tall as a ladder." Are we talking 5-foot stepladder or 60-foot fire truck extension beam?

Get Me That. Stat!

Fatal heart attacks in people under 50 occur more than twice as often in those who have systemic inflammatory diseases, such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus compared to people who do not.

Stories for the Waiting Room

In the 17th century, English druggists prescribed usnea for the treatment of various conditions including nervous disorders and nosebleeds. Usnea is a type of lichen that grows on trees, but the type believed to be most effective was extracted from the skulls of men who had died violently and been left to the elements, i.e., hanged criminals who were customarily left dangling from the gallows until their skeletons fell apart.

Doc Talk

Onychocryptosis: ingrown toenail.

Phobia of the Week

Domatophobia: fear of houses.

Food for Thought

Shirako is the milt or sperm sacs of a male codfish. The seminal fluid sacs supposedly taste a bit like pork brains (assuming you know what pork brains taste like) and are considered a delicacy that can be served steamed, lightly grilled or raw.

Best Medicine

Two friends run into each other while walking their dogs.

One suggests lunch. The other says, "They won't let us into the restaurant with pets."

Undeterred, the first guy and his German shepherd head into the restaurant.

The maitre d' stops them, saying, "Sir, you can't bring your dog in here."

"But I'm blind," the man replies, "and this is my guide dog."

The maitre d' apologizes and shows both man and dog to a table.

His friend waits five minutes, and then tries the same routine.

"You have a Chihuahua for a guide dog?" the skeptical maitre d' says.

"A Chihuahua?" the man says. "Is that what they gave me?"

Hypochondriac's Guide

Fatal familial insomnia is a rare genetic disorder in which mild sleeplessness steadily grows worse, resulting eventually in total insomnia and inevitable degradation of the person's physical and mental well-being. Within 18 months of complete sleeplessness, the person usually lapses into a coma and dies.


"First the doctor told me the good news: I was going to have a disease named after me." — Comedian Steve Martin

Medical History

Injecting stuff into the human body for therapeutical (and other) reasons is an ancient practice, though for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years it was done primarily through natural openings or cuts in the skin.

The first hollow-needle syringe debuted in 1844, invented by Irish physician Francis Rynd. The first hypodermic tool that looked like a modern syringe appeared nine years later, developed by Charles-Gabriel Chavaz of France.

Ig Nobel Apprised

The Ig Nobel Prizes celebrate achievements that make people laugh, and then think. A look at real science that's hard to take seriously and even harder to ignore.

In 1995, the Ig Nobel Prize in dentistry went to Minnesota dentist Robert H. Beaumont for his incisive investigation of patient preference for waxed versus unwaxed dental floss. Waxed floss won handily: 79% to 21%, with mint-flavored waxed floss a clear favorite.

Med school

Q: What is the normal biting force of a human?

a) 25-75 pounds per square inch

b) 55-280 pounds per square inch

c) 100-350 pounds per square inch

A: b) 55 to 280 pounds per square inch.


"I was supposed to live to be 102 and be shot by a jealous husband." — Jerry L. Farrer (1937-2003: 66 years old)

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: Tumisu at Pixabay

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