The sulk syndrome

Recently, the AFP (American Family Physician) carried an article submitted by Dr. K.. The doctor’s full name is withheld at this time at Dr. K.’s request. The article reports findings gathered by Dr. K. over thirty years. If the doctor’s facts and analysis prove accurate, they may change medicine’s approach to many treatments and cures, particularly those in which the patient requires pain medication. Given the recent spate of celebrity deaths associated with painkillers this discovery should be heaped with accolades.

Dr. K.’s S.U.L.K. stands for Stiff Upper Lip as discovered by, himself, Dr. K. He reports it to be a condition most often associated with persons of English heritage, particularly those born and raised in England. The sulk is manifested by a paralyzed upper lip. The reader can experience a similar paralysis by placing a thumb firmly upon their upper lip; thereafter, it will be found that, any attempt to smile, frown, or experience emotion, associated with facial expression, is thwarted. As an aside, the irony that a person who is sulking has a like facial expression may, or may not, have been Dr. K.’s intent when he coined the acronym.

According to Dr. K.’s research results, persons with sulk syndrome report pain and discomfort on a reduced, completely different scale from the public at large. Where most patients might rank pain as a seven or eight on a scale of one to ten the sulk syndrome patient generally says, “I’m fine.” When pressed to use the pain schedule those with sulk report a two, or maximum three on the same scale.

In summary, Dr. K. finds that sulk syndrome persons tend to suffer less and recover faster from bacterial ailments and surgeries than their counterparts with normal upper lip function. He, therefore, postulates that the upper lip has a unique role in contributing to recovery and proposes that all patients experiencing chronic pain, undergoing surgery, taking courses of antibiotics or undergoing cancer treatment, first be given a facial Botox injection to induce sulk syndrome upper lip paralysis.


8 thoughts on “The sulk syndrome

  1. Damned if I don’t agree, y’know? Where would the chaps in the Raj be now if they mooched about complaining for every trifling thing? One is bound to get shot or a dose of Cholera or some such sooner or later. As long as a chap has one foot left he can still walk, can he not? We’re too blasted soft, these days! No discipline, no mettle! And what happened to caning, I want to know? Hmm?

    • Did you know that, in the past Brits stationed in Houston Texas got the same pay concessions, on account of the weather conditions, as those stationed .in India.? Nowadays it IS all AC and no stoics! But back to that sulk, how could Nelson have earned his spot in the middle of Trafalgar Square without it? Mind you it must be mighty lonely up there!

  2. Well I confess to British ancestry and yes upper lip was preached in our home. Do you want to know something? Pain is pain and no matter how much I mentally refuse to let it take over my life it has a nasty habit of doing just that! 🙂 However I pay tribute to Dr K for his sage advice. rotfl

  3. Brilliant and hilarious, Jane! I had a mother who was a great teacher of “sulk.” Whenever I would suffer a cut, burn, or the like she would not give sympathy or comfort but would tell me “that doesn’t hurt.” There was no pity. and no self pity. I thought—and still think—that was cruel. But a few years ago, when I had serious abdominal cancer surgery, I recovered well, without pain. The nurse-assistant at the hospital would ask me every day: “How is your pain, from 1 to 10?” I would answer honestly, “zero.” They didn’t believe me, and insisted on giving me a prescription for a pain killer when I left the hospital—one I never filled. I don’t think it has much to do with the stiffness of the upper lip….if it did,–and by the absurd logic of this very funny piece— botox might work. This is a wonderful play on that “stiff upper lip” idiom. I had a good laugh, reading it. My upper lip is not stiff, but now I’m wondering if maybe I was British in another life.

    • Yes, you must have been British , or maybe your parents were! Our parents were the same. Dad downplayed all ailments to the extend that the only time, in my entire knowledge of him, that he ever convalesced was when he had hepatitis. Then he had to to prevent liver damage; so he sat in a chair all day! The only time that we were ever allowed to be sick was when our temps were over 100! Botox wouldn’t have helped!

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