Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Medical History of the Presidents

Dr. Zebra offers the Medical history of the US Presidents. While the author admits that there might be mistakes, as he’s not a historian, this is an interesting look at the Presidents.

It offers the trivial medical incidents to the very serious (all of which include source citations which always makes me happy).

Some various illnesses I pulled from the sites:

Martin Van Buren:
As Vice President, Van Buren did not enjoy presiding over the Senate. It has been speculated that the more-frequent-than-usual colds and other ailments he suffered during this period, which often drove him into bed for short periods, may have been an escape.

I rather like this one – I think we’ve all the pulled the “I’m sick” routine to get out of something we didn’t want to do. I guess even our leaders aren’t above that!

Benjamin Harrison:
While campaigning for the Presidency in 1888, there were reports that Harrison was near nervous collapse. These reports were denied, but they probably contained an element of truth

I don’t know about you, but campaigning for President would make me go a little crazy!

John Tyler:
Tyler had little faith in doctors. He regularly "took the waters" at various spas in Virginia. He became a believer in sulfur hydrotherapy. He also took "massive" doses of calomel regularly, which may have contributed to his gastrointestinal problems.

Lyndon Johnson:
Type A personality if there ever was one. But Johnson loved it. "I don't have ulcers. I give them!"

He was a man who was not afraid to show his healing cholecystectomy scar to the press. Famous political cartoon of scar drawn as a map of Viet Nam.

In May 1966, LBJ received a note from his cook: "Mr. President, you have been my boss for a number of years and you always tell me you want to lose weight, and yet you never do very much to help yourself. Now I'm going to be your boss for a change. Eat what I put in front of you and don't ask for any more and don't complain."

These made me smile so I had to include them!

Well, hopefully you learned a few fun tidbits about the medical history of our Presidents.

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