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As a rule, our bodies usually do what we say, or at least what we force them to. It doesn’t matter how they “feel” -- if we want to shove 17 hotdogs into our facehole, our bodies just have to roll with the punches and eventual diarrhea. But every once in a while, a person’s body will decide to up and revolt, often to strange results.
Woman Hallucinates Around Gluten
These days, claiming gluten intolerance is practically a punchline. Yes, gluten intolerance and celiac disease are real things, but also a whopping 86% of people who think they can’t eat gluten could easily pound a couple bowls of pasta and be totally fine. And even the people that do actually suffer ill effects from gluten don’t usually hallucinate fantastical creatures covered in burns threatening them with endless torture. If that is your experience, by all means, avoid white bread.
A few years ago, Canadian doctors conducted a study on a woman who’d experienced insane visual and auditory hallucinations for almost her entire life. Starting when she was four or five, the woman had lots of tummy issues. Oh, and she would also “see beings and, at times, entire scenes, that no one else would see.”
Occasionally, her visions were happy like an eight-year-old boy named Tommy who was very nice and also, uh, possibly a child that the woman’s mom had miscarried? That’s weird, but she also saw pretty fairies that talked to her and slept in trees outside her window (though some were ghosts). At other times, she’d hear the literal voice of God go tell her to do random crap like plant three trees in the garden. Still, arboreal pursuits are always preferable to the aforementioned fire torture. So, yeah, she didn’t exactly experience your average childhood.
Granted, “average” can be a subjective term. But still.
These hallucinations continued into her adult years. Somehow, she managed to live a semi-normal life despite God’s insistence that she continue to plant crap everywhere. One day, she attended a seminar and decided to cut out gluten. And just like that, the hallucinations, and Tommy, disappeared.
She told her doctor what had happened, and that’s when the study was commissioned. They concluded that gluten was screwing with her brain -- possibly by reducing nutrients that cause serotonin in the brain to fire as they normally should. Of course, they also admitted they didn’t entirely know what was going on. They did recommend that if your body hates gluten so much it’s willing to turn your entire existence into a Faustian hellscape, then, yeah, you should probably shop at Whole Foods.
Man Had Hiccups For Two Freaking Years, Because Of A Brain Tumor
Hiccups are largely harmless, even if an extended session makes you want to jump off a cliff just to experience some sweet relief. They’re annoying, biologically pointless, and they’re so adorable they get in the way of your day job of interrogating violent terrorists. They’re a national security threat is what we’re saying.
But at least hiccups usually go away after a couple minutes of drinking water upside down or holding your breath until an eyeball pops out. Not so for British guy Chris Sands, who had a consistent case of hiccups for two freaking years. It got so bad Sands couldn’t leave his house, and the hiccups caused real damage to his body.
Initially, he tried everything he could think of: yoga, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, pickled plums, eating straight mustard, chugging vinegar, also probably delving into witchcraft and praying to Tom Cruise. Nothing seemed to work.
“Maybe if I just put my hand up like- *HIC* Dammit.”
His condition growing increasingly desperate, Sands agreed to take part in a Japanese documentary on his endless hiccups. As part of their film, they asked if their doctors could take a look and see if anything was weird about him. And lo, an MRI discovered a big whopping brain stem tumor that could have killed him at any time. Thankfully, all it did was make it harder to win arguments.
The doctors performed quick surgery to remove the offending tumor, and Sands’ hiccups were immediately cured. So next time you feel like your hiccups aren’t going away, just tell yourself it’s probably a brain tumor. That should scare them right out of you.
After A Stroke, Man Just Can’t Stop Giving His Money Away
What would it take for you to be more generous with your money? Would a spiritual awakening do it? Maybe a trip to an impoverished country somewhere? If those didn’t work, would you consider suffering a massive stroke? No? Man, you’re selfish.
Back in the 1990s, a Brazilian man named João was forced to consider that very question. One day, the man quit his boring HR job and started selling french fries from a street cart. The fries were popular, and not just because they were yummy, but also because you could get them for free if you just asked João nicely. In fact, even when João did make a sale, he often turned around and immediately gave that money away to somebody in need. Pretty inspiring, right? Well, not exactly.
João used to be a relatively selfish and frugal man until a brutal stroke nearly killed him. Upon recovery, João was uncharacteristically, even destructively, generous with his money. Neurologists said he was “pathologically generous,” even to the detriment of his own livelihood and family. And it wasn’t just newfound magnanimity that the stroke changed -- João also became an insomniac, lost his sex drive, couldn’t remember anything, and lost a good bit of his speed. But at least he was nice.
“Surprise! Also, here’s a box of money.”
João got to a point where he literally couldn’t stop giving money away. His fry cart went out of business (apparently giving food away for free isn’t a great business plan), and he was forced to live off his mother’s pension. This caused several fights between him and his selfish, selfish family who wanted to eat every day.
Doctors got involved and determined that brain damage had literally caused him to become compulsively generous. They determined that even certain drugs or mental disorders could theoretically make a person more likely to give their money away to others whether they actually want to or not.
Crap, we just knew people were only being nice to us because they were on drugs or had something wrong with their brain.
After An Avalanche, Man Gets Seizures Every Time He Plays Sudoku
Every day, people suffer horrible accidents that dramatically alter their lives. Effects could be as small as increased difficulty remembering where they left their keys or as massive as full-body paralysis. Or, you know, they could just get weird seizures every time they play Sudoku.
Once, during a ski trip, a 25-year-old German student was buried underneath a freak avalanche. For an astonishing 15 minutes, he was trapped without oxygen. Thankfully, he survived, but doctors worried the lack of oxygen had irreparably damaged parts of his brain. Of course, it could have been worse -- he could have wound up with a snowboard and a douche complex.
Regardless, several weeks after the accident, the student was ready to get down to the hard work of therapy. For the most part, everything went better than the doctors expected considering the damage. The only problem was that every time the student tried to solve a Sudoku puzzle, his left arm would suffer a seizure. Doctors attempted to replicate said seizures with other activities, but literally the only thing the student’s body reacted to was trying to put every digit from 1 to 9 in a row.
Though … come to think of it, our bodies don’t react normally to number puzzles, either.
Doctors postulated that the part of the student’s brain in charge of organizing visual-spatial tasks was damaged, but even things like crossword puzzles never set him off. Eventually, the student made the incredibly difficult choice to give up Sudoku, and he never experienced a seizure again. But the real question is: Was it really worth it?
Woman Sees The Whole World Upside Down
For most patients, optometrists are just trying to help them get to a point where their cheeseburger is slightly less blurry. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to guide a half pound of cow beef with all the fixings into your mouth with everything out of focus. Of course, it could be worse. You could see that cheeseburger, and everything else in the world, entirely upside-freaking-down.
A Serbian woman in, well, Serbia, has entirely upside down vision. The only way Bojana Danilovic can perform her job is to flip her computer monitor upside down like she’s in an M.C. Escher painting. At Danilovic’s home, she relaxes with her family by watching a second, upside down TV stacked directly on top of the right-side up one. When she writes, she starts in the bottom right-hand corner and works her way to the top left. As you might expect, she’s not allowed to drive, at least until they can find a way for her car to function while upside down. Which, now that we think about it, is a problem Google is already working to fix.
Fortunately, the drastic vision shift doesn’t affect her ability to see things that are adorable.
What’s crazy about the whole situation is that there’s actually nothing physically wrong with her eyes. Her eyeballs see things the way you’d expect, but her brain flips the image for some reason. Because of this, she’s always getting lost, which makes sense. But getting made fun of for filling forms out upside down seems like kind of a dick move.
Incredibly, she hasn’t really let her impairment slow down her life all that much. She holds a full-time job and can do pretty much anything anybody else can. The main difference is that she views the world like Spider-Man hanging from a ceiling, which sounds rough but also maybe kind of awesome?