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  #1  
Old 07-10-2002, 05:03 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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What killed Dessie?

In John Steinbeck's East of Eden, Dessie is stricken with abdominal pains. Tom gives her "salts" (NaCl? Epsom salts? Steinbeck doesn't say) and Dessie starts foaming at the mouth and dies. Before she dies, her abdomen is "rock hard". Tom called the doctor, and the doctor said, "You gave her salts! You damned fool!" Apparently you're supposed to avoid these "salts" when you have this condition or you'll die.

But Steinbeck never says what's wrong with Dessie. That implies that the condition was well known in the early to mid part of the last century.

What killed Dessie?
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Old 07-10-2002, 07:07 PM
Neidhart Neidhart is offline
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Appendicitis??
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Old 07-11-2002, 12:01 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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What did the "salts" have to do with it?
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Old 07-11-2002, 12:18 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is online now
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Tom thought her stomach pains were caused by indigestion/gas, so he gave her baking soda a/k/a sodium bicarbonate (which, along with sodium phosphate and sodium sulfite, were all used as antacids and all called "sodium salts" at the time. She had appendicitis, though, and her appendix burst and she died.
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Old 07-11-2002, 07:55 PM
Neidhart Neidhart is offline
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Woot! I guessed right and I've never even read the book!
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