Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Golden Arches

   Keats and Chapman nursed their respective hangovers in the unforgiving glare of a McDonald's. They sat in silence, occasionally stealing glances at headlines in a neighbour's Irish Independent whose health supplement bemoaned the country's medical problems. When their order arrived and their fellow diner had lumbered away they fell to discussing, between gulps of Coca-cola and gobbets of Quarter Pounders with Cheese, diabetes mellitus.
   'It's a terrible affliction, Chapman. Scourge of the modern world'.
   'Nice name though', reflected Keats as his head began to clear.
   Chapman looked up from the discarded lettuce in his cardboard tray, 'You think? Doesn't 'diabetes' simply mean 'to pass through'? It can make you piss like a fire-hose'.
   'I was referring to its full name' replied Keats, somewhat testily. 'Mellitus' stems from 'honey-like'. It was an Englishman, Thomas Willis, that first applied it to diabetes - he tasted a patient's urine and found it sweet. His bold dégustation contributed greatly to our understanding of the disease'.
   'I suppose scientists often draw conclusions using a process of elimination', observed Chapman, before hurrying to the jacks.