Christmas – A Medical Perspective

Santa Claus
Santa Claus is plainly at risk of Type 2 Diabetes even if he does not already have it. He is clearly overweight and takes little exercise, riding everywhere on his sleigh (let’s hope that he does not already have diabetic retinopathy). His need for fluid at each port of call clearly indicates hyperglycæmia and the consequent thirst. However, he is never shown smoking, a fact that may be in his favour. On the other hand, descending chimneys regular may be construed as passive smoking. In addition to this, Santa spends most of the year in an intensely cold climate (Lapland) and needs the large amount of fat to insulate him from the cold. Santa needs immediate assessment with an HbA1c, chest x-ray and eye test. Depending on the results he will probably require dietary and other lifestyle advice. Let’s hope that he doesn’t have to retire on health grounds. What would the people of the UK do with 10,000,000 redundant single stockings?

The Christmas Fairy
Spending a major part of one’s whole life sitting on top of a tree is not obviously beneficial for long term health. However, the complete lack of exercise may well be balanced by an equal lack of food and drink intake. One would like more information on what happens to her (him?) between Epiphany and Advent. It could well be that sitting on a tree is not as easy as the fairy makes it look and that the remaining 46 weeks of the year are spent practising. It must be quite interesting training to be a Christmas Fairy and one would imagine that there is quite a high drop-off rate !!

Innkeeper
Can anyone imagine any self-respecting innkeeper turning away custom at a time when he could charge virtually anything he wanted from prospective customers. It is quite possible that he had indulged too much in what he was supposed to sell and wanted to get away to the next meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Jesus, Joseph & Mary
Spending several days in an environment normally inhabited by animals is clearly hazardous to health through animal born infections such as rindapest, laryngitis (horse voice) and bird flu. No wonder that, as soon as possible, they fled to the sunny climes of Egypt. Let’s hope they avoided Tahrir Square with all the protests and flying bullets.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
It seems quite likely that Rudolph had been indulging too much over a long period of time in the products purveyed by the Innkeeper. It is actually quite amazing that Santa Claus would entrust the pulling of his sleigh to one who was so obviously ill-equipped to do so. However, “Drunk in Charge” generally refers to the driver rather than the motive power. So, insofar as all that Rudolf was required to do was pull the thing maybe it would be alright. Unless he fell down while so-doing. Incidentally, could one reindeer pull a sleigh carrying at least 10 million presents?

Shepherds
One thing that could be said about the shepherds and that was that they had excellent night vision in order to be able to watch their flocks at night. Did they eat plenty of carrots? An active outdoor life was clearly to their benefit but it is rather sinister that, as soon as an angel appeared and told them something which should have merely provoked the response “a likely story”; they immediately just left their sheep to flee for the bright lights and high life of Bethlehem. Perhaps by the time they returned to where their sheep had been, it was to find that they had been pinched by King Wenceslas and his cronies for their feast of Stephen.

Wise men
These show a most interesting example of time/space disorientation. We are clearly told that they came from the east following a star in the east. And yet they proceeded in completely the opposite direction (west) in order to arrive at Bethlehem. It is lucky that the star stopped otherwise they would have ended up in the Mediterranean Sea, or, even worse, America. Nathaniel said, “Can anything good come out of New York”. A complete psychiatric assessment is indicated. Two other incidental things. Nowhere in the good book does it state that there were three men, the number is indeterminate. Secondly, can anyone imagine any three more inappropriate gifts than were offered. Gold could perhaps be explained by the onset of the sales but frankincense and myrrh…

Sheldon KP, Sheldon M et al (2014) Christmas – a Medical Perspective Prim Care Cent

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