Podcast Review: Sawbones
Podcast Review: Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine
I've decided that I'll dedicate the following week to posts relating to Halloween. These will range from the cute to the eerie and grotesque, so there should be a little something for everyone! To kick off the week's festivities, I'm going to do a review of one of my favorite podcasts, Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine.
Hosted by a Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her comedic husband Justin, each episode of the podcast aims to enlighten listeners on the medical history of a given topic. Though this may sound very serious, there is never a dull or dry moment. Topics include baldness, cataracts, radiation, pregnancy. In essence, most anything that you could of, they've covered in hilarious detail. It's amazing just how many illnesses people of antiquity attempted to cure with some form of poop.
This may not seem very spooky or eerie, and the theme of each show does tend to be comedic. However, you are learning about real people with real illnesses, and the extremities that people have gone to throughout history can be frightening. On this note, I would say that this podcast is probably not for the squeamish. In their recent episode on cataracts they describe the cutting and probing of an eyeball at length. I wasn't bothered by anything they discussed, as it wasn't unnecessarily graphic or disturbing, but they apparently had a number of emails complaining. Just keep in mind that they are describing medical procedures throughout history. From times when there weren't anesthesia or quality hygienic standards. I wasn't joking about poop being a common theme. Honestly, if you can make it through an episode of House MD or any other medical drama, then you shouldn't have any problem. However, for those who are concerned, consider trying out Episode 57: Color Therapy. It's relatively mild in terms of its content, but still highly interesting and entertaining. It'll give you a good idea of what the show is about without a lot of the squeamish details that come along with other topics.
I've listened since the very beginning, so I feel like I have a pretty informed opinion of the show as a whole. And honestly, it was great from the beginning. Dr. Sydnee is lovely and highly intelligent. I enjoy listening to her level-headed opinions, both modern and historical. It's something that I look forward to listening to each week. If I had one complaint, it would be that Justin sometimes pushes his comedic bits a little too far so that they begin to seem corny, however, given the gravity of the material they're discussing, the levity he brings is a nice counterbalance.
Sawbones is a part of the Maximum Fun podcast network. They update with a new episode every Friday, barring the occasional interruption. Episodes range from about 30-45 minutes. And despite the nature of the discussion, they remain fairly family friendly. For somewhat older kids at least. They will offer a disclaimer at the beginning of episodes they believe are more graphic or disturbing than others, or which include sexual topics, in order to help family listeners decide if it's an appropriate choice.
All in all, if you're at all interested in history, medicine or even just humorous examinations of the human conditions, then I heartily recommend this podcast to you! For those unsure where to begin, some of my favorite episodes include Pregnancy Tests, Corpse Theft and the Resurrection Men, Rabies and Birth Control. Any of these would be a pretty good place to start if you want to check it out.
If you like this, you might like:
- House MD (If you prefer your semi-comedic medical dramas on the tv instead)
- My Brother, My Brother and Me (for those who enjoy Justin's humor, he and his brothers host their own comedic podcast)
-Stuff You Missed in History Class (podcast that tackles all historical topics, not just medical)
-The Medical Book: From Witch Doctors to Robot Surgeons, 250 Milestones in the History of Medicine by Clifford A. Pickover
- Strange Medicine: A Shocking History of Real Medical Practices Through The Ages by Nathan Belofsky
-The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration by Richard Barnett
-The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks
-Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (for those interested in fiction)