13 April 2011 | Non-fiction
In these samples from a collection of patient reports, Molemmista päistä tähystetty: päättömiä potilaskertomuksia (‘Examined at both ends: brainless patient reports’, Otava, 2011), human disorders appear bizarre, puzzling or just plain funny in case notes as dictation or transcription occasionally proves erratic
The patient was given instructions for his bowels.
Recommend milder aerobics, ie swimming on an exercise bicycle.
Patient is a healthy 70-year-old girl.
And a mental health evaluation is recommended for the designer of this form. More…
16 March 2010 | This 'n' that
Ever wished there were just a few more hours in the day? We certainly have. Forgive us if you’ve seen it before, but this little homily has been doing the rounds on the internet in Finland. It made us laugh, if a little hollowly.
It’s healthy to eat an apple a day, and a banana, for the calcium, and an orange, for the vitamin C, and you need to drink a cup of green tea to reduce your cholesterol. You should also drink two litres of water (and wee the same amount, which doubles the amount of time you spend in the bathroom). And don’t forget the two decilitres of yogurt that you should eat to keep the bacterial flora of your stomach healthy. No one really knows what these bacteria are, but you MUST have at least a million of them, or you won’t be well! You must also drink a glass of red wine a day so you don’t have a heart attack, and a glass of white wine to protect your nervous system! And a glass of beer (I can’t quite remember why), but if you drink them all at the same time you may have a stroke. That won’t matter, though, as you won’t notice it. Everyone should also eat nuts and beans/peas every day. You should eat 4-6 times a day, light meals, but don’t forget that each mouthful should be chewed at least 36 times. That will take up 5 hours of your day! More…
An extract from Sudenkorento (‘The dragonfly’, 1970). Introduction by Aarne Kinnunen
I now have. Right here in front of me. To be interviewed. Insulin artist. Caleb Buttocks. I have heard. About his decision. To grasp his nearly. Nonexistent hair and. Lift. Himself and. At the same time. His horse. Out of the swamp into which. He. Claims. He has sunk so deep that. Only. His nose is showing. How is it now, toe dancer Caleb Buttocks. Are you. Perhaps. Or is It your intention. To explain. The self in the world or. The world. In the self. Or is It now that. Just when you. Finally have agreed to. Be interviewed by yourself. You have decided. To go. To the bar for a beer?
– Yes. Can you spare a ten?
– Thanks. See, what’s really happened is that. My hands have started shaking. But when I down two or three bottles of beer, that corpse-washing water as I’ve heard them call it, my hands stop shaking and I don’t make so many typing errors. If I put away six or seven they stop shaking even more and the typing mistakes turn really strange. They become like dreams: all of a sudden you notice you’ve struck it just right. Let’s say, ‘arty’ becomes ‘farty’. Or I mean to say, ‘it strikes me to the core’ I end up typing ‘score’. It’s like that. A friend of mine, an artist, once stuck a revolver in my hand. Imagine, a revolver! I’ve never shot anything with any kind of weapon except a puppy once with a miniature rifle. My God, how nicely it wagged its tail when I aimed at it, but what I’m talking about are handguns, those shiny black steelblue clumps people worship as heaven knows what symbols. It’s not as if I haven’t been hoping to all my life. And now, finally, after I’d waited over fifty years, it turned out that the revolver was a star Nagant, just the kind I’d always dreamed of. So if I ever got one of those, oh, then would sleep through the lulls between shots with that black steel clump ready under my pillow. Well, my friend the artist set out one vodka bottle with a white label and three brown beer bottles with gold labels on the edge of a potato pit – we had just emptied all of them together – stuck the fully loaded star Nagant into my hand, took me thirty yards away and said:
– Oh, Lord. More…