The Quick 10: 10 Presidential Ailments of a Very Specific Nature

So"¦ this is a really weird Quick 10 topic. But let me explain how that came about. I was going to do an article about Presidential ailments and injuries in general "“ you know, we're all aware that FDR had polio, but who knew Herbert Hoover had a hatchet injury? That kind of thing. But as I started researching, I started noticing that a large number of Presidents had problems"¦ erm, south of the border. So it sort of naturally just evolved. I promise you, I didn't just wake up one morning and think "“ "You know what I feel like researching today? Thomas Jefferson's constipation. That sounds like fun."

TJEFF1. Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson suffered from constipation, diarrhea, and boils of the arse. Apparently in 1818, Old T.J. developed boils on his bum following a mineral bath. Apparently, his felt the urge to discuss his excessive excrement problem with people, because there are several letters from Jefferson to people that describe his condition in detail. In 1803, he wrote to Benjamin Rush that he had diarrhea "after having dined moderately on fish." Charming. One very old report even says that his cause of death was chronic diarrhea.

2. James K. Polk. Polk had "debilitating" diarrhea, which he also described in detail in his diary: "Thursday, 29th June, 1848. Before sun-rise this morning I was taken with a violent diarrhea accompanied with severe pain. I was very soon prostrated by it." It was often so bad that he couldn't eat or sleep. As a youngster he had urinary stones, and it's thought that the operation may have left him sterile since he never had children.

3. James Garfield "“ anal fissures. I can't find a whole lot of information about President Garfield's anal fissures, but I will take CBS at their word.

4. William Howard Taft "“ in 1902, he underwent surgery for an abscess in his perineum.

First of all: Ouch. Second: Ew.

5. FDR "“ Hemorrhoids. Harold Ickes, the secretary of the interior, kept a diary that included periodic updates on FDR's health. On May 17, 1941, he noted that the hemorrhoids and the resulting bleeding were so bad that the President required blood transfusions.

6. President Bush (W., not H.W.) He suffered from hemorrhoids during his tenure in the National Guard; he has also had some cases of colonic polyps.

ike7. Dwight D. Eisenhower. On September 24, 1955, the President had his first heart attack. The doctors did their thing, and then, eager to report the good condition of Eisenhower, held a press conference. During the press conference, one of the doctors casually mentioned that Eisenhower had "Had a good bowel movement." Eisenhower later wrote that he was totally mortified when he heard about that. However, he ended up needing subsequent operations for "intestinal obstruction."

8. Jimmy Carter. Mr. Peanut had hemorrhoids, bad. And he talked about them quite a bit. In fact, Carter wrote in his book that in 1978, Anwar Sedat has announced that his "good friend Jimmy" had hemorrhoids and apparently appealed for all Egyptians to pray for him, because he was a good man who promoted peace. The day after, Carter wrote, the pain went away for the first time in weeks. He said he thought about issuing a statement thanking everyone for their prayers, but then decided against it, figuring that the public had already heard way too much about his ass (he said "ailment"). However, he said, "I've never received a better Christmas gift."

9. Ronald Reagan had several rear-related issues during his second term as President. In July, 1985, he had cancerous polyps removed from his colon. Then, a couple of years later, he underwent another surgery to treat an enlarged prostate.

10. George Washington may have been sterile as well. Although Martha had four children by her former husband, she and George were unable to have any at all. Apparently George thought that if he ever married someone younger, he might be able to have kids. But I don't know if this really holds water "“ Martha Custis was only 27 when he married her. Lots of historians think he may have been sterile by a case of the mumps. Ironically, the fact that he could have no kids is partially what made people back him for the Presidency "“ no children meant there would be no heirs to automatically assume his title when he died.

Quick True/False: World Capitals
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
10 Pats Born on St. Patrick's Day
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Need some St. Patrick's Day conversation fodder that doesn't involve leprechauns or four-leaf clovers? Ask your friends to name a "Pat" born on St. Patrick's Day. If they can't, they owe you a drink—then you can wow them with this list of 10.


Princess Patricia was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who gave up all of her royal titles when she married a commoner. She was born at Buckingham Palace on March 17, 1886.


The Dallas star was born on March 17, 1949. And here's a totally random fact about Duffy: His nephew is Barry Zito, former MLB pitcher for the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants.


Pattie Boyd
Larry Ellis, Express/Getty Images

Pattie Boyd is well-known to lovers of classic rock: She has been married three times, including once to George Harrison and once to Eric Clapton, who both wrote a couple of the most romantic songs in rock history in her honor (including The Beatles's "Something" and Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"). Boyd was a model when she met Harrison on the set of A Hard Day's Night in 1964; the pair were married two years later. They divorced in 1977 and she married Clapton, Harrison's close friend, in 1979. She also had an affair with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones toward the end of her marriage to The Quiet Beatle.


Belfast-born Pat Rice is a former footballer and coach who spent the bulk of his career with Arsenal F.C. (that's "football club," a.k.a. soccer to us Americans). He joined the Gunners in 1964 as a mere apprentice, turning pro a couple of years later. He became captain in 1977 and left the club for a few years in the early 1980s to go to Watford, but returned after he retired from playing in 1984. In 2012, after nearly 30 years with the organization, he announced his retirement.


Patty Maloney is an actress with dwarfism who stands just three feet, 11 inches tall. She has appeared in many movies and T.V. shows over the years, including operating the Crypt Keeper puppet in Tales from the Crypt. She also played Chewbacca's son Lumpy in The Star Wars Holiday Special.


Michael C. Hall and Mathew St. Patrick in 'Six Feet Under'

Ok, so Mathew St. Patrick is the stage name of the actor, but he was born Patrick Matthews in Philadelphia on March 17, 1968. You probably know him best as David's boyfriend Keith on Six Feet Under.


He may not be a household name, but the recording artists Patrick Adams writes for and helps produce certainly are. Adams has been involved in the careers of Salt-N-Pepa, Sister Sledge, Gladys Knight, Rick James, and Coolio, among others.


It's possible you look at Patrick McDonnell's work every day, depending on which comics your newspaper carries. McDonnell draws a strip called Mutts featuring a dog and a cat named Earl and Mooch, respectively. Charles Schulz called it one of the best comic strips of all time.


 Singer/Guitarist Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins performs onstage during Live Earth New York at Giants Stadium on July 7, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Evan Agostini, Getty Images

Yes, you know him better as just plain old Billy Corgan: he's the face of the Smashing Pumpkins, engages in public feuds with Courtney Love, and maybe once dated Jessica Simpson. He made his debut on March 17, 1967.


Patricia Ford is a retired model probably best known for her Playboy photoshoots in the 1990s.


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