Clubberjack\’s WordPress Experiment

First Time for Everything

I had an interesting experience on the bus on the way to work this morning. I was riding standing up, reading the latest issue of Wired. In particular, I was reading an article called “The Painful Truth” about regional anesthesia being pioneered in combat medecine (online at Suddenly, I found myself feeling really woozie. My stomache was flipping, and I felt faint. I had to sit down.

I don’t get motion sick. I don’t consider myself to be particularly sensitive to the sight of blood. However, I’m pretty sure that my reaction was related to the graphic descriptions of battlefield injuries in the article, which was accomanied by one particularly gruesome picture. For example:

His left calf muscle had been blown away, exposing a length of bone and pulped flesh, and blood was leaking through his field dressing. His foot was swollen with edema… At one point, a technician lifted his wounded leg to clean it, and the weakened tibia fractured with a sharp crack that sent shudders through the surgical staff.

There’s a picture too.

Normally, I don’t react to stuff like this, but for some reason, perhaps the visceral and detailed nature of the description, my body decided it had had enough. Consciously, I wasn’t even that repulsed by the content. The article held my attention with its overarching story, but at some subconscious level, my body did not like thinking about massive tissue trauma.

I always get a kick out of this sort of thing (not that I enjoy it while it’s happening). It serves as a reminder that our conscious selves are not always (or even ever) in total control.

And the article itself really was pretty interesting. It was a different look at the costs of the Iraq war, even as it detailed some of the technologies that are being developed and deployed in the Middle East.


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