Editorial: Life stranger than fiction

20:18, Dec 26 2012
Timaru cyst
SURPRISE: "I thought it was just me overeating," says Timaru woman Sharon Watts of her 35kg ovarian cyst.

It would be hard to imagine the atmosphere in the operating theatre when Timaru woman Sharon Watts underwent surgery on Friday.

Scans had revealed a cyst, so no surprises there, but no one anticipated its size.

Surgeon Albert Makary certainly didn't, and Mrs Watts herself had no idea.

After a four-hour operation, though, all was revealed - a massive 35-kilogram growth.

Oh to have been a fly on the wall when Dr Makary told his patient.

She would have found it hard to believe. Certainly we did.


At the same time, she was obviously delighted and relieved. It explained a lot.

While her cyst was unusual for its size, it seems ovarian cysts generally are not, and ones of 12kg to 13kg can go largely unnoticed by the patient.

Mrs Watts' experience then might serve as an explanation for other women. Some may even be hoping they have one. (I didn't say that ... someone at the hairdresser's did. Apparently).

As an aside, Mrs Watts had been following the weight-loss exploits of William Bisset through the Herald's columns during the last year.

His final weigh-in this week showed he had lost an impressive 40kg overall, only slightly more than she lost last Friday.

No doubt we can all relate some unusual medical adventures. (I've been hospitalised thanks to a tiny spider bite; have spent a night in the emergency department with a moth deep in my ear; and then there were six weeks of dribbling during a bout of bells palsy).

Some years ago, we ran stories of local people suffering whooping cough, seemingly cured by taking a plane flight to 3000 metres for at least 10 minutes. Doctors, though, were not so convinced.

The doozy of the year though came in November when a Taranaki man literally became blind drunk. The vodka he had drunk reacted with his diabetes medicine, and he couldn't see.

The cure? More alcohol, but the hospital didn't have any on hand, so a nurse was sent down to the bottle store for a bottle of fine whisky.

Life can sometimes be stranger than fiction.

Footnote: Flick me an email if you've had an interesting medical adventure. To editor@timaruherald.co.nz

The Timaru Herald