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Horrible Medical Advice: Martha’s DIY Plastic Surgery

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It’s been a while, I know. See, I finished school, and then I was desperately searching for a job, and then I got TWO jobs, which took up more time than I expected considering that I still work much less than full time. But you know what? I’m blaming the fact that Netflix has pretty much every show that I’ve ever thought, “Oh, I want to watch that, but I missed the first few seasons” on streaming, so sue me I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix recently.

But more importantly. Do you remember last summer, when I said that sometime I’d get drunk and write a post?

This is that time. This…is sometime.

And it’s more Horrible Medical Advice. I know y’all love that shit. And this is reader-request, so no one can even complain.

Dear Oh Rachael,

Ever since I became a real grown-up (as opposed to some whiny teenager who only thought her skin sucked), my skin has totally sucked. I have wrinkles and shit. What do you recommend I do for this?

Sincerely, Your Aunt.

(Okay, my aunt didn’t, technically speaking, write to me. But she did say I should write this, so that sort of counts.)

Dear My Aunt,

A lot of people think their skin sucks when they get past age 20. In fact, I’ve recently been plagued by the “Dammit Why Doesn’t My Skin Look Like It Did When I Was 18 Only Six Years Ago” Virus as well. However, if your problem goes beyond “my pores are bigger than they were, WHAAAAAAA,” then I highly reccommend the Martha Stewart Approach.

Has anyone else noticed that Martha Stewart doesn’t age?

I can't guarantee this is a picture from 2000, but it did come up in an image search for "Martha Stewart 2000."

Well, that might be a picture of her in 2000. And what does she look like now, a full 12 years later? And remember, she’s at an age where a 10 year difference should be HUGE. (I mean, I have friends who are 20ish and friends who are 30ish and they don’t look all that different to me, but from 40 to 50 and 50 to 60 and 60 to 70 and so on…those are supposed to make a huge difference.)

Showed up when I searched "Martha Stewart Current," so it might be a current picture.

You may notice that she looks exactly the same.

Okay, one picture is HD and the other isn’t. In that case, my advice is to not take pictures with HD cameras, because hot damn will they show off every imperfection. But what REALLY happened here?

What happened is that good ol’ Martha did some jail time. And by “jail time,” I mean “house arrest.” And by “house arrest,” I mean “the same ol’ thing Martha always does, except she’s got an excuse for the cameras not to show her for a while so if she has a visit from a little ol’ plastic surgeon no one will be the wiser.”

That’s right, folks. To look asthe-same-age-you-looked-ten-years-ago, all you’ve got to do is get arrested. Then, you’ll be free to do all of Martha’s DIY Plastic Surgery you can.

If you can’t afford an at-home plastic surgeon, don’t worry. A facelift is simple, and that’s the most basic of your underlying needs. One you have one, it’ll be a long time before you start worrying about your really minor imperfections!

All you need for a facelift is a scalpel and some medical tape. You can get the medical tape at any drugstore–just tell them you’ve got a kid with a sprained finger and you need to tape it into the splint and they’ll take you right to it. Hell, you might even have some on hand!

Now all you need to do is imagine your skin like a piece of plastic wrap over the dip-bowl of your face. Pull it tight in segments, starting at one temple. Work in opposites–that is, pull one temple fairly tight, then pull the other temple the rest of the way. Now move down a little bit. Repeat–pull one side a little tight, then pull the other side so you’re completely wrinkle-free. Keep working around your face.

Once you’ve reached your chin, you’ll be all set! All you’ll have to do now is let your project (that is, your face) dry completely (that is, heal completely) and you’ll have a full Martha Stewart DIY At-Home Facelift. You can start a little higher by cutting around your forehead, or customize your lift to focus on problem areas–it’s up to you! That’s the beauty of DIY.

Now, dear My Aunt, I hope this has answered your questions and concerns. I’m sure that in a few months, after hiding in your home and avoiding any social interaction for a long, long time, you’ll look just as young and beautiful as you did ten years ago. In the meantime, I hope to give you as much reading material as I can without getting distracted from the series I’m currently reading (just say NO to Netflix, kids!).

Thank you all so much for your time.


Oh, Rachael.

Do you have a question for Rachael? Well, she now has a special email address just for you! Whether it’s medical or just, you know, a random question, send Rachael an email at She’ll respond with a Horrible Medical Advice post, a Horrible Advice post, or just a Horrible Advice email to help get you through your misery!

(Seriously, please email me. Your questions are inspiring, and I miss writing for you.)


Thank you, Dr. Boyfriend. We all appreciate your advice. However, you’re male, so you can’t possibly understand, and we’ll be getting back to our DIY surgeries now.


Horrible Medical Advice of the Fortnight: Plastic Surgery You Really Want

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While we probably all agree that our feet are very useful parts of our body, I doubt many of us would go as far as Hazel from the comic Girls with Slingshots does in categorizing them (Oh and by the way, if you don’t read GWS, get on that):

Sure, my feet take me to the bar, but it's gonna take more than that to get me to classify them as a 'favorite'. (Image copyright Danielle Corsetto, Girls with Slingshots, 2008.)

I’d clearly be wrong if I said that nobody felt the same way–I know you foot fetishists are out there, and I’m totally okay with that. Whatever floats your boat. However, I think we can all agree that feet don’t often meet the “favorite” body part list for women or men.

Men, skip this bit:
Why is that? Well, for women, it’s pretty clear. We read fashion magazines, or at least see pictures from them, involving shoes. More specifically, shoe advertisements. And we often see those and think that the shoes we’re looking at are amazing and oh my god I need a pair–whether it’s some fancy-ass designer stiletto or a pair of Tevas. We think we have no expectations. We order the shoe, or we go to the store to look at the shoe or at other shoes, and that option is actually worse because then there are probably pictures of shoes everywhere and–and the thing is–there are foot models. Their feet are perfect. Their feet are a size 6 with no hair anywhere on them, no callouses, even skin tone, airbrushed so you can’t see the veins on them, and just another part of that whole thing where advertising is horrible for women’s self-esteem. When we put on the shoe, it doesn’t look the same. If we have bigger feet or smaller feet, the shoe doesn’t come in our size. Or the shoe doesn’t come in half-sizes and yeah okay we could get away with this size, but we’ll end up with mad blisters that will just mean our feet look crappier later on. If they do come in our size, the style of shoe just might not work with your foot size. My feet are a size 9, which is pretty normal, but I can’t wear pointy toes because an extra three inches extend off my foot and really guys, I don’t even like shoes all that much and that’s ridiculous.

The point here, of course, is that we all want feet that will reliably fit into normal-sized shoes and not look absurd in them.

Okay men, you can come back now:
Why don’t men love their feet? Okay, it’s possible that some of them do. The ones with size 14 feet. They probably like their feet quite a bit. However, most men have to deal with the false stereotype that foot size is somehow correlated with penis size. I have no idea why people started thinking that, but I think everyone in the world has heard the phrase: “You know what they say about a man with big feet.” I believe a creepy wink usually follows it. So if a man’s feet aren’t really big, then chances are, some judgmental bitch has turned him down for a 1-night stand because of it. Just as the dainty foot is a sign of femininity, the large manly foot is a sign of masculinity.

Okay I get it, Rachael, but what the fuck does this have to do with medical advice?

Keep your shirt on. Let me read. (Er…write.)

I did say something about plastic surgery up there, didn’t I? Well there, my friends, is the solution. With voluntary amputation available for any and all people under this new Socialized Healthcare thingy we’ve got starting up here, then everyone can have the feet they want. If you cut your feet off, then no one can judge you based on your feet.

You’ll have two options. You could either be in a wheelchair or get prosthetic feet. Before you ditch the wheelchair idea, keep in mind that people in wheelchairs with missing limbs are often assumed to be badass.

But, prosthetics! Luke’s prosthetic arm in Star Wars looked pretty damn realistic, didn’t it? And that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Imagine what we could do here, now, in this galaxy. I’m pretty sure we have some realistic-looking prosthetics (and if we don’t, then those people who make reborn dolls could make some good money there, so it can’t be too far in the future). You could have perfect feet. You could have those feet in whatever size you wanted. They’d fit into the shoes you like and not look ridiculous. You’d get all the chicks. Or all the dudes. Whichever is your thing.

And this is totally medically necessary. Your dislike for your feet is causing, as I said, self-esteem issues. And those self-esteem issues are expressing themselves as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia. You may need medication for your depression or anxiety or schizophrenia. It’s a hassle to take a pill every day. It can be expensive if you don’t get generics. Hallucinations can be dangerous. Prosthetic feet are an investment, and a worthwhile one at that.

So go forth and find your nearest surgeon. Ask him if he’s got his bone-cutting saw because boy, do you have a job for him.

Dr. Boyfriend Says: Dammit Rachael don’t tell people to cut their feet off that is STUPID. No doctor would ever do that. And self-esteem issues do not cause schizophrenia. I told you to throw that psych textbook away.

Note: Apparently voluntary amputation isn’t going to be covered under socialized health care. To that I say: Well then, what the fuck is the point?

Horrible Medical Advice of the Fortnight: Prescription Warnings

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Has anyone ever noticed a discrepancy between what the images next to the warnings on their pill bottles seem to imply and what the warning actually says?

Honestly, it’s not something I ever really paid attention to. Probably because I never really gave a shit about the warnings on my pill bottles. But yesterday, Mike brought them to my attention, and I must say: this shit is fucked. I’ve taken the liberty of copying the pictures into files here for your enjoyment.

What the bottle says: WARNING: Do Not Use If You Are Pregnant, Suspect That You Are Pregnant, Or While Breastfeeding. Check With Your Doctor Or Pharmacist.

What I’m getting from the picture: This is birth control.

I think this one may actually be the most dangerous.



What the bottle says: Do Not Take Other Medications Without Checking With Your Doctor Or Pharmacist.

What I’m getting from the picture: This medication may cause you to develop a square head. Also, stop plugging your phone into your neck.

Just a bit nerve-wracking.



What the bottle says:  May Cause Dizziness

What I’m getting from the picture: This medication may lead to the development of curly-fry eyebrows.

All my pills have this picture on them. I’m checking the mirror compulsively. It seems important to pull out any eyebrows that are sticking up oddly to prevent this side effect.


What the bottle says: May Cause Drowsiness. Alcohol May Intensify This Effect. Use Care when Operating A Car Or Dangerous Machinery.

What I’m getting from the picture: This medication will cause you to seduce someone over a glass of wine.

This is on two of my bottles. It seems like it would be in Mike’s best interests to buy me a bottle of wine, no?



What the bottle says: Take With Food

What I’m getting from the picture: …Actually I’m drawing a blank here. Let’s work on this together, kay?




Option 1: This medication will turn you into Bullet Bill.

You guys played Mario, right?


Option 2: This medication is actually a bullet vibrator.

I honestly haven’t tried to find out.


So when you’re taking your pills, make sure to look at the pictures. They’ll tell you everything you need to know.

But seriously. What do you guys think that last one is supposed to be a picture of?

Horrible Medical Advice of the Week: Alcohol Kills Bacteria, Right?

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So this is pretty basic. I mean, I probably would have been able to figure this out myself even if Mike weren’t a doctor. Have you ever looked at the ingredients in hand sanitizer? That stuff that kills assloads of bacteria? Well, it’s pretty much rubbing alcohol made into gel or foam. And when you’re getting a shot or blood drawn and the nurse wants to make sure that no bacteria from your skin gets into your blood, well, they wipe your arm with an alcohol wipe thing. So: Bacteria + Alcohol = No Bacteria.

The most basic application of this, of course, would be using alcohol as a disinfectant. Neosporin? Fuck that shit. You got some gin? That’ll do nicely on any cuts or scrapes that you don’t want to get infected.

“But Rachael,” you’re saying, “what if I was dumb and didn’t pour gin on an open wound and now have an infected cut?” Well that was stupid, but don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. The first step is gonna be kind of gross because you’ll have to open up the infection, which you can do by stabbing yourself with a pin or perhaps using a razor blade if it’s bigger. What you do from here will depend on where the cut is. If it’s somewhere easily submersible, you’ll want to submerge it in a small glass of booze. Your other option, if it’s not easily submersible, is to get one of those little baby ear-douche things and squirt a bunch of booze into there, slowly, making sure that it has plenty of contact with the wound. For either of these applications, I recommend something stronger–get a bottle of Bacardi 151.

I'm sticking with "ear douche".

“But Rachael, I have a kidney infection! I can’t just cut into my kidneys myself!” Ugh. Fine. We can work with this. The important thing to know when you have an internal infection is that a hospital will probably give you IV antibiotics in order to get the bacteria-killing goodness straight into your bloodstream, because your blood goes everywhere. Except abscesses. Or sinuses. This probably won’t work if you have those. So anyway, have you ever heard of “Blood Alcohol Content”? You probably know, then, that alcohol also gets into your blood. Which means that if you drink alcohol, it’ll go wherever your blood goes, which is everywhere. (Except abscesses and sinuses.) So, logically speaking, if you have an infection that could be treated with IV antibiotics, all you have to do is get shithoused.

“But Rachael, my kidney infection developed because I got a UTI from drinking too much alcohol and didn’t get it treated fast enough so it spread. Will drinking more really help?” Do I look like a fucking doctor to you?


Dr. Boyfriend Says: Booze won’t help anything. None of what Rachael just said is true. Well, except for the hand sanitizer part. She’s right about that.

Horrible Medical Advice of the Week: The Bible’s Got Your Answers

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You may have noticed that I sorta suck at keeping up a weekly schedule, but I’m going to keep putting the “of the week” in there so I’ll at least continue to try. It’s the thought that counts, right?

This week, we need look no further than the Bible.

Mark 9:43: And if your hand offends you, cut it off.

(It is important to note that the site I found this on said “Mar” and not “Mark” and I did some extra research in order to find out what the hell “Mar” meant. Because I care. About you guys, that is.)

So the real question is: Should we stop at hands? And the answer, I feel, is “no”.* Taking the Bible too literally has gotten us into all kinds of messes before. I mean, look at the Spanish Inquisition. Do you want to start the next Spanish Inquisition? Didn’t think so.

I guess we could look at the definition of “offends” here. The most obvious would be phantom hand syndrome–when you cut the corpus callosum, which is occasionally used as a last-resort treatment for seizures, you’ll lose conscious control over one side of your body. And it’ll do whatever the fuck it wants. So it might actually offend you in the way you’re used to the word. Maybe you’ll be sitting there talking to someone and your hand will flip you off. Or it could be like in that House episode where the dude punches his girlfriend.

But there’s a second definition of “offend” which most people aren’t aware of and this passage in the Bible probably wants you to be aware of.

“To be displeasing or disagreeable to; to vex, annoy, displease or anger; (now esp.) to excite a feeling of personal upset, resentment, annoyance, or disgust in”

And that’s straight from the OED.

So now, if we’re not taking the Bible too seriously: If [some body part] [vexes/annoys/displeases/angers] you, cut it off.

Think of how many problems this could solve:
Bruised leg? CHOP. Not bruised anymore!
Carpal tunnel syndrome? CHOP. You won’t be getting that again!
Performance anxiety keeping you down? CHOP. Imagine how ballsy you’ll look!
Migraines? CHOP. Now you’re migraine-free AND can do a kickass Marie Antoinette impression!

Obviously, there will be times when this isn’t quite so easy. Stomach ulcer? You’ll have to go get surgery to have them cut your stomach out, and then you might have some issues with doctors thinking that’s a bad idea. You could probably say you want it done AMA, but then you’d have to fill out paperwork. And your insurance wouldn’t cover it. Oh, and they have the right to refuse to do it, anyway.

So, the next time you have a problem with something that isn’t an internal organ, you’ll know what to do. Don’t thank me. Thank the Bible.


Dr. Boyfriend Says: Please don’t cut off your extremities. This is horrible medical advice. Don’t listen to Rachael. She’s never even read the Bible.

*Note to Grammar Nerds who are annoyed at the placement of this period: That’s how David Crystal does it, so nyah.

Horrible Medical Advice of the Week: You have 36 hours to completely invert your sleep schedule. GO.

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And yet, this is the sort of “medical advice” you’re required to follow if you want to be a fully-licensed doctor. Kinda fucked up, I think.

Right now, there is some sort of THING dancing around Mike’s shoulders–like the angel and devil things, except it’s a doctor trainer. And it’s going: “Hey, asshole! You liked that thing where you had all of May through June 20th off completely? Yeah? You got to sleep whenever you wanted, didn’t you? I bet you enjoyed your 3am-11am sleep schedule. It probably wasn’t all that difficult to suddenly adapt to orientation schedule that was basically normal work hours. I mean, sort of early, but you were at least getting some sleep. But HAH! Fucker. Could you become nocturnal in two days? COULD YOU? Well, I guess you could, because you’re awake…but how are you doing with that whole the care of pregnant woman, newborn babies and new mothers is now in your hands thing?” I mean, seriously. That can’t be smart. Screwing with your sleep schedule screws with your ability to function, and fucking up someone’s ability to function and then going all TAKE CARE OF BABIES, BITCH seems stupid. If you ask me. Of course, I’m not a doctor, so who knows.

I discovered a problem pretty much right away where, while I’ve been sleeping through Mike waking up and getting ready to go to the hospital for almost two years now, I can’t sleep through him going to bed. At all. So either our sleep cycles are complete opposites (which, no, mine’s not waking up before 8am) and we never see each other, or I invert my sleep cycle with him. AWESOME.

I woke up at 11am yesterday. I have not slept since then. I am currently trying to figure out how to make a face that I made with the fun characters my cell phone lets me type but my computer doesn’t. (What the hell, computer? I need these people to see how hard this is!) My face hurts. It’s hilarious. I kind of wish I had my webcam set up because then I could see what I looked like and maybe post a picture, but I don’t and I’m too tired to find it.

So your horrible advice this week is to do what we just did. Or to blow yourself up with a firework. Whichever.

Horrible Medical Advice of the Week: Ancient Native American Dandruff Remedy

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Of course, the Native Americans didn’t realize that they’d happened upon a great dandruff remedy at the time. It’s only centuries after they stopped that we’re able to look back and see how practical scalping could be.

Now, okay. Some of you may be worried. I can hear you. “Scalping? Didn’t that kill people?” Well, yeah, but so did strep throat. And if a doctor told you that a chronic issue you had could be cured with an injection of strep bacteria, which would be immediately treated with the proper antibiotics, would you go for it? Probably! Medicine’s come a long way, so let’s see where we can go with this one.

Okay. So you use a knife, I think. And you cut around your hairline. Or something. I’m not exactly sure and honestly? I don’t want to look it up because I might find gross pictures. (Note: I also don’t want to look up strep throat.) And then I guess you rip really hard, because even if skin is pretty much completely detached it still holds on pretty well. I don’t know why. I just know that I had a blister and I could see the raw and icky stuff under it but it still hurt like a bitch to pull the skin off it. So it’ll hurt like a bitch. But you’ve got options! That should make everything better.

Option 1: Don’t cut very deep. You only need to remove enough skin to form a scar, because hair doesn’t grow out of scars. Usually. So get a boxcutter that has medical-grade precision when it comes to how far out the blade sticks, and you’ll be left with raw skin that will scar over and you probably won’t bleed to death.

Option 2: Cauterize the wound. Take a bowl that is about the size of your head and stick it in a fire that you built in your backyard (if you don’t have a backyard, try the kitchen). When you’re done ripping your scalp off, use giant tongs and oven mitts to grab the bowl out of the fire and put it over your head. If you’re not careful, it might end up sticking to your head, which would mean that instead of dandruff you have a permanent metal helmet. So you might want to decorate it first, viking-style. If it doesn’t stick to your head, the heat will cause you to stop bleeding.

Option 3: Superglue. Fill the same bowl that you’d use in option 2 with superglue. As soon as your scalp is removed, dunk your head in the bucket. You’ll glue all the blood in. You might have the same issue with it sticking to your head, so I’d say you should still decorate it like a viking helmet.

So there you have it. Just like aspirin, modern medicine is now able to take something discovered by the Native Americans* and make it available to everyone.

*I’m not actually entirely sure they did this. I just read about it in A Light in the Forest when I was 12. I hated that book. It’s possible that I didn’t even read about it and I just made up new contents that were more interesting than what actually happened in the book. So it’s possible that the Native Americans didn’t scalp anyone in A Light in the Forest OR in real life, and if they did, it might have only been certain tribes. I’m honestly pretty clueless here.

DISCLAIMER: It’s called horrible medical advice for a reason. Dr. Boyfriend advises against doing anything I said in this post except the part where you wear a viking helmet.