22 April 2009

A spirochete song

My professor sang this to us in lab. Then he played a CD of his son's band performing it. It was originally printed in JAMA on Jan 31, 1942. Can you guess the disease?

There was a young man of Black Bay
Who thought syphilis just went away,
And felt that a chancre
Was merely a canker
Acquired in lascivious play.

Now first he got acne vulgaris,
The kind that is rampant in Paris,
It covered his skin
From forehead to shin,
And now people ask where his hair is.

With symptoms increasing in number,
His aorta's in need of a plumber,
His heart is cavorting,
His wife is aborting,
And now he's acquired a gumma.

Consider his terrible plight--
His eyes won't react to to the light
His hands are apraxic,
His gait is ataxic,
He's developing gun-barrel sight.

His passions are strong, as before,
But his penis is flaccid, and sore,
His wife now has tabes
And sabre-shinned babies--
She's really worse off than a whore.

He aches from his head to his toes,
His sphincters have gone where who knows,
Paroxysmal incontinence
With all its concomitants,
Brings forth unpredictable flows.

Though treated in every known way,
His spirochetes grow day by day,
He's developed paresis
Converses with Jesus
And thinks he's the Queen of the May.

It's syphilis.

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