Goatview Farm - The Saint Report www.goatview.com

 

October 6
Pica

In honor of Squirrel Awareness Week (annually the second week in October), I thought I would write about pica. Pica is a medical condition in which the affected individual obsessively eats starch or clay or some other nonfood item. It is unclear if this is due to some nutritional deficiency (many sufferers are also anemic) or is purely a mental aberration. The term comes from the Latin for magpie, Pica pica, a bird often seen carrying bright and shiny inedible items.

While the internet yielded many delicious pica stories, the best was the case of a woman (most sufferers are women) in Seattle who went to the doctor complaining of vomiting, backache, and nausea. She was found to have a large bezoar (concreted ball of something) in her stomach.

Bezoars are not unusual in cats and cows, but are very rare in women. In the cats, bezoars are usually trichobezoars, or hairballs. In cows, they can be the same or phytobezoars, which are balls of compacted vegetable matter.

Saints of the Day include Saint Bruno, Saint Faith, Saint Nicetas of Constantinople, and Saint Mary Frances of Naples.
Birthdays: Shana Alexander (1925, Boston) and Thor Heyerdahl of Kon Tiki fame (1914).

Born on this date in 1820 was the Swedish Nightingale, Jenny Lind. Hans Christian Andersen fell hopelessly in love with her when she was 21 and he was 42.

The Seattle woman's bezoar was made up of tube socks.

Naturally, she hadn't always chewed on tube socks. She started by chewing on other articles of clothing, settling on her half-a-tubesock-a-night habit by the time she was an adult. Her boyfriend told the doctor that she did it "to relax." That was one non-judgmental boyfriend, I'd say. Can you imagine the first time they sat down to watch, well...hmmm...guess it probably wouldn't be "Masterpiece Theater"..."The Simpsons" maybe, and she turns to him and says, "Do you mind if I eat tube socks?"

Anyway, her problem was taken care of with drugs, vitamin supplements, and psychiatric therapy, and her bezoar went away without surgery. Which is more than I can say about the mental image with which I am left after hearing this story. Bon appetit.

 

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© Marilyn Jones 2000-2008