Anesthesia was discovered. Do you know what it means to relieve man of his pain and suffering? Anesthesia is the most humane of all of man's accomplishments, and what a merciful accomplishment it was. For this great discovery we are indebted to Dr. W. T. G. Morton. Do you know that the religionists opposed the use of anesthesia on the ground that God sent pain as a punishment for sin, and it was considered the greatest of sacrileges to use it-just think of it, a sin to relieve man of his misery! What a monstrous perversion! This one instance alone should convince you of the difference in believing in God or not. No believer in God would have spent his energies to discover anesthesia. He would have been in mortal fear of the wrath of his God for interfering with his 'divine plan, ' of making man suffer for having eaten of the fruit of the 'Tree of Knowledge.' The very crux of the matter is in this one instance. Man seeks to relieve his fellow man from the suffering of disease and the pangs of mental agony. The believers in God are content that man's suffering is ordained, and therefore he accepts life and its trials and tribulations as a penance for living. The fear of the wrath of God has been a stumbling block to progress.
Why does the longing for love have to be so acute, like a desperate thirst? Is it because love is wanting to be saved and we can never really be saved? Maybe love is really born of our fears. Love is the heart's desire for a painkiller; a tearful plea for a great big epidural. Yes that's it: love is the only anesthesia that really works. And so people with broken hearts are really those who are just coming to, and if you've ever seen someone come out of general anesthesia, you know that it looks a lot like the beginnings of a broken heart.
I'd written Smashed not because I was ambitious and not because writing down my feelings was cathartic (it felt more like playing one's own neurosurgeon sans anesthesia). No. I'd made a habit--and eventually a profession--of memoir because I hail from one of those families where shows of emotions are discouraged.
Different portions of the brain all look for information (sexual, intuitive, practical), through modes so torturous, a first date can feel like a cross between having a pelvic examination while applying for a small business loan. First dates should require anesthesia, and in some states they do.
Marilyn Suzanne Miller
I'd written Smashed not because I was ambitious and not because writing down my feelings was cathartic (it felt more like playing one's own neurosurgeon sans anesthesia). No. I'd made a habit-and eventually a profession-of memoir because I hail from one of those families where shows of emotions are discouraged.
Doctors...from the Office of Info. Tech. at Harvard U.(:)...Their appraisal of 46 surgical or anesthesia breakthroughs...suggested...only 13% were highly preferred (and)...in nearly half the cases the new therapy was no better than the therapy it replaced. ...About 12% of the innovations increased complications...
People don't become inured to what they are shown - if that's the right way to describe what happens - because of the quantity of images dumped on them. It is passivity that dulls feeling. The states described as apathy, moral or emotional anesthesia, are full of feelings; the feelings are rage and frustration.
I have taken as much as six years to prepare a book for writing. There is such a delirium of effort in the production of a book; it's like childbirth. And, like childbirth, one forgets the pains immediately so that when you come to write another one you dare to take it up again. Some precious anesthesia sees you through.
In a foreign country it is far from easy to study a scene at length when you know that at any minute someone may appear and ask what you are doing and that you can't answer, and you haven't many references, and you don't know the law. Neither is it easy to find and know the subjects for portraits or comfortable to make such picture when you cannot apply an anesthesia of small talk.
For all of my patients sensuality is a giving in to 'the low side of their nature.' Puritanism is powerful and distorts their life with a total anesthesia of the senses. If you atrophy one sense, you also atrophy all the others, a sensuous and physical connection with nature, with art, with food, with other human beings.
In most societies birth has been an experience in whichwomen draw together to help each other and reinforce bonds in the community. Now that eradication of pain with effective anesthesia is often the only issue in any discussion of birththe sacramental and social elements which used to be central to women's experience of birthseem, for an increasing proportion of women, to be completely irrelevant.
There's something about sober living and sober thinking, about facing long afternoons without the numbing distraction of anesthesia that disabuses you of the belief in the externals, shows you that strength and hope come not from circumstances or the acquisition of things, but from the simple accumulation of active experience, from gritting the teeth and checking the items off the list, one by one, even if it's painful and you're afraid.
Luxury cruises were designed to make something unbearable (a two week transatlantic crossing) seem bearable. There's no need to do it now, there are planes. You wouldn't take a vacation where you ride on a stage coach for two months but there's all-you-can-eat shrimp. You wouldn't take a vacation where you had an old-timey appendectomy without anesthesia while steel drums play. You might take a vacation while riding on a camel for two days IF they gave you those little animal towels wearing your sunglasses.
When anesthesia was developed, it was for many decades routinely withheld from women giving birth, since women were "supposed" to suffer. One of the few societies to take a contrary view was the Huichol tribe in Mexico. The Huichol believed that the pain of childbirth should be shared, so the mother would hold on to a string tied to her husband's testicles. With each painful contraction, she would give the string a yank so that the man could share the burden. Surely if such a mechanism were more widespread, injuries in childbirth would garner more attention.
Nicholas D. Kristof
She had not had the relief of amnesia. She had suffered longer, and she had suffered more. Each second was agony in the first weeks. She was like an amputee in the days before anesthesia, half crazed with pain, astounded that the human body could feel so much and not die of it. But slowly, cell by painful cell, she began to mend. There came a time when it was no longer her whole body that burned with pain but only her heart. And then there came a time when even her heart was able, for a time at least, to feel other emotions besides grief.
Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received - hatred. The great creators - the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors - stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.
The child, screaming for refuge, senses how feeble a shelter the twig hut of grown-up awareness is. They claim strength, these parents, and complete sanctuary. The weeping earth itself knows how desperate is the child's need for exactly that sanctuary. How deep and sticky is the darkness of childhood, how rigid the blades of infant evil, which is unadulterated, unrestrained by the convenient cushions of age and its civilizing anesthesia. Grownups can deal with scraped knees, dropped ice-cream cones, and lost dollies, but if they suspected the real reasons we cry they would fling us out of their arms in horrified revulsion. Yet we are small and as terrified as we are terrifying in our ferocious appetites.
Where the techno-medical model of birth reigns, women who give birth vaginally generally labor in bed hooked up to electronic fetal monitors, intravenous tubes, and pressure-reading devices. Eating and drinking in labor are usually not permitted. Labor pain within this model is seen as unacceptable, so analgesia, and anesthesia are encouraged. Episiotomies (the surgical cut to enlarge the vaginal opening) are routinely performed, out of a belief that birth over an intact perineum would be impossible or that, if possible, it might be harmful to mother or baby. Instead of being the central actor of the birth drama, the woman becomes a passive, almost inert object - representing a barrier to the baby's eventual passage to the outside world. Women are treated as a homogenous group within the medical model, with individual variations receding in importance.
Ina May Gaskin
I hold the hands of people I never touch. I provide comfort to people I never embrace. I watch people walk into brick walls, the same ones over and over again, and I coax them to turn around and try to walk in a different direction. People rarely see me gladly. As a rule, I catch the residue of their despair. I see people who are broken, and people who only think they are broken. I see people who have had their faces rubbed in their failures. I see weak people wanting anesthesia and strong people who wonder what they have done to make such an enemy of fate. I am often the final pit stop people take before they crawl across the finish line that is marked: I give up. Some people beg me to help. Some people dare me to help. Sometimes the beggars and the dare-ers look the same. Absolutely the same. I'm supposed to know how to tell them apart. Some people who visit me need scar tissue to cover their wounds. Some people who visit me need their wounds opened further, explored for signs of infection and contamination. I make those calls, too. Some days I'm invigorated by it all. Some days I'm numbed. Always, I'm humbled by the role of helper. And, occasionally, I'm ambushed. ~ Stephen White "Critical Conditions
VERY EARLY ONE MORNING in July 1977, the FBI, having been tipped off about Operation Snow White, carried out raids on Scientology offices in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, carting off nearly fifty thousand documents. One of the files was titled 'Operation Freakout.' It concerned the treatment of Paulette Cooper, the journalist who had published an expose of Scientology, The Scandal of Scientology, six years earlier. After having been indicted for perjury and making bomb threats against Scientology, Cooper had gone into a deep depression. She stopped eating. At one point, she weighed just eighty-three pounds. She considered suicide. Finally, she persuaded a doctor to give her sodium pentothal, or 'truth serum, ' and question her under the anesthesia. The government was sufficiently impressed that the prosecutor dropped the case against her, but her reputation was ruined, she was broke, and her health was uncertain. The day after the FBI raid on the Scientology headquarters, Cooper was flying back from Africa, on assignment for a travel magazine, when she read a story in the International Herald Tribune about the raid. One of the files the federal agents discovered was titled 'Operation Freakout.' The goal of the operation was to get Cooper 'incarcerated in a mental institution or jail.