The Grinch’s Medical Maladies

I recently watched “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” as part of my yearly Christmas ritual, and made several observations about the Grinch. For those of you who are reading this, please bear in mind that this is totally tongue in cheek, and meant to be a playful, albeit odd, interpretation of the 1966 animated classic. Sometimes my medical mind kicks in, and I think of silly things like medical diagnoses which could explain a fictional character’s behavior. Yes, I am a bit of a nerd that way!

We all know that the Grinch is a thief:

Around the whole room, and he took every present!
Pop guns! And bicycles! Roller skates! Drums!
Checkerboards! Tricycles! Popcorn! And plums!
And he stuffed them in bags. Then the Grinch, very nimbly,
Stuffed all the bags, one by one, up the chimney!
Then he slunk to the icebox. He took the Whos’ feast!
He took the Who-pudding! He took the roast beast!
He cleaned out that icebox as quick as a flash.
Why, that Grinch even took their last can of Who-hash!
Then he stuffed all the food up the chimney with glee.

He went to the chimney and stuffed the tree up!
Then the last thing he took was the log for their fire!
Then he went up the chimney, himself, the old liar.
On their walls he left nothing but hooks and some wire.
And the one speck of food That he left in the house,
Was a crumb that was even too small for a mouse.
Then He did the same thing To the other Whos’ houses
Leaving crumbs Much too small For the other Whos’ mouses!
It was quarter past dawn… All the Whos, still a-bed,
All the Whos, still asnooze When he packed up his sled,
Packed it up with their presents! The ribbons! The wrappings!
The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings!
Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit,
He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!

The Grinch is also quite a liar:

The Grinch had been caught by this tiny Who daughter,
Who’d got out of bed for a cup of cold water.
She stared at the Grinch and said, “Santy Claus, why,”
“Why are you taking our Christmas tree? WHY?”
But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick,
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
“Why, my sweet little tot,” the fake Santy Claus lied,
“There’s a light on this tree that won’t light on one side.”
“So I’m taking it home to my workshop, my dear.”
“I’ll fix it up there. Then I’ll bring it back here.”
And his fib fooled the child. Then he patted her head,
And he got her a drink and he sent her to bed.
grinch noise

But the poor Grinch also seems to have suffered from a couple of medical disorders. Based on the fact that he complains about the noise, I bet he had a wicked case of misphonia:

And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise!
Noise! Noise! Noise!
That’s one thing he hated! The NOISE!

It could also be that the Whos were so darned loud that anyone outside of Whoville would have flipped out in anger over the constant cacophony. Where were the cops when the noise was so deafening? Add to that the Grinch’s likely diagnosis of misphonia, and you have a perfect explanation for why he couldn’t take it anymore.

At the end of the animated film, the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes in one day. Since time is deranged in the world of animation, let’s just say that his hypertrophic cardiomyopathy finally became symptomatic, especially after all the physical exertion he went through when he tried to stop Christmas from coming. He developed chest pain and shortness of breath, and imaging studies taken at the end of that big day revealed the hypertrophy. Since it is likely that the Grinch also suffered from valvular disease and hypertension, that roast beast isn’t the best choice of food for him either. So he might be better off avoiding the Whos and their roast beast until his health improves!

Grinch heart

What’s All That Noise?


There are very rare instances when the slightest noise will set me off. Even if it is something as benign as one of my roommates opening the refrigerator door, it can sound like a thousand spoons clattering to the floor to me if I am in this state. For whatever reason, I didn’t think much of it until about three weeks ago when EVERY little noise I heard was painful for me, and I was in complete agony the entire night. Lucky me…I have been experiencing misphonia, and have had this condition since childhood.

What freaks me out the most is that my dislike of sounds when I am caught up in this nightmare can send me into so much anxiety that I must hide away until things return to normal. It was a tremendous problem for me during medical school, when I found that I had to wear earplugs while studying in public places or when taking exams. The mere sound of someone coughing would send me into such distress that it would take a massive effort for me to concentrate on my studies or an exam.

Misphonia, also called selective sound sensitivity syndrome, is usually set off by a small repetitive noise, causing the sufferer to become agitated, disgusted, panicky, and angry. Those who suffer from misphonia may seem to react excessively to soft sounds, such as the sounds of a person eating, or a dog barking in the background. This is considered a lifelong condition which is more common in females than males, and usually appears between the ages of 9 and 13. It is aggravated by emotional exhaustion, so those of you ladies who might have noticed that noises which would be considered normal can suddenly become jarring when you are in the middle of an emotional and stressful situation.

This is a very real condition, so if you think you might have it, talk to your doctor about getting tested to see if you have it. If you don’t want to go that route, you might want to read this very amusing article by Wendy Aron on how she handled her own case of misphonia: