Venomous by Christie Wilcox
"... dubious antique medical practices like trepanation: drilling a hole into one's skull to let out evil spirits"
Patient H.M.: Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich
The subtitle says it all. Much of what we know about memory is thanks to Henry Molaison, a patient with epilepsy who received a botched lobotomy. It sometimes felt like a thriller, with unexpected twists even towards the end. The audiobook has a great narrator, George Newbern, but I'm too squeamish for play-by-play details of brain surgery, so I had to fast-forward through those parts. Engrossing true subject matter.
"My grandfather, like most lobotomists, performed a disproportionate number of psychosurgeries on women. The known clinical effects of lobotomy, including tractability, passivity and docility, overlapped nicely with what many men at the time considered to be ideal feminine traits."
"Freeman believed he could train any reasonably competent psychiatrist how to perform an ice pick lobotomy in an afternoon."
"August 25, 1953. Henry lies on his back on an operating table in the Hartford Hospital neurosurgery suite. At the head of the table, flanked by scrub nurses and assistants, my grandfather leans over Henry with a trepan in his hand. Henry has been sedated and given a local anesthetic, and the flesh has been peeled down from his forehead, but he is conscious. A trepan is a sort of wide-mouthed serrated drill."
The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth Mckenzie
"versatile Pneumatic TURBO Skull Punch," a trepanning device "well suited to a range of hole punching operations," and both the pharmaceutical and defence industries are excited about its possibilities, calling it "the greatest contribution to warfighter injuries in years." Trepanations everywhere!
"I pledge allegiance to the marketplace of the United States of America TM and to the conglomerates, for which we shill, one nation, under Exxon-Mobil/Halliburton/Boeing/Walmart, nonrefundable, with litter and junk mail for all."
"Art is despair with dignity."
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
"So now what we need to do - what I need your permission to do - is remove a small piece of her skull to make room for the swelling and to keep the pressure from building too much." He stopped and looked at us again. "If it builds too much, she could die. And the longer we wait to relieve it, the more damage she'll likely experience."
"We're the unknown Americans, the ones no one even wants to know, because they've been told they're supposed to be scared of us and because maybe if they did take the time to get to know us, they might realize that we're not that bad, made even that we're a lot like them. And who would they hate then?"
Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki
"a link to the craziest thing I have ever seen on the Internet, a site about people who actually drill holes into the tops of their skulls to increase brain blood flow. To improve psychic powers. That's what trepanation is!"
I resisted the temptation to actually search for this sort of thing on YouTube. It makes me shudder just thinking about it.
The Fireman by Joe Hill
"[Harper] told him about trepanning Father Storey's skull with a power drill and disinfecting it with port."
"She had treated John Rookwood's mauled arm with a weak dose of good intentions."
"The hens are clucking. Harper thought it would be a toss-up, which term for women she hated more: bitch or hen. A hen was something you kept in a cage, and her sole worth was in her eggs. A bitch, at least, had teeth."
The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston
The pamphlet described in great detail a medical procedure that you called mental ventilation, that is the drilling of holes in the skulls of the sick to let the evil spirits out.
New entry, April 2018. I saw a museum replica of a skeleton, from either the Neolithic or the late Stone Age, with a trepanned hole in its skull. Bru na Boinne, Ireland.
|Museum exhibit at Bru na Boinne.|
New entry, April 1, 2019. (This is not a joke.) I've come across reference to trepanation in:
How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Amanda Feilding, who was born in 1943, is an eccentric as only the English aristocracy can breed them. (She’s descended from the house of Habsburg and two of Charles II’s illegitimate children.) A student of comparative religion and mysticism, Feilding has had a long-standing interest in altered states of consciousness and, specifically, the role of blood flow to the brain, which in Homo sapiens, she believes, has been compromised ever since our species began standing upright. LSD, Feilding believes, enhances cognitive function and facilitates higher states of consciousness by increasing cerebral circulation. A second way to achieve a similar result is by means of the ancient practice of trepanation. This deserves a brief digression. [...]
Trepanation was for centuries a common medical practice, to judge by the number of ancient skulls that have turned up with neat holes in them. Convinced that trepanation would help facilitate higher states of consciousness, Fielding went looking for someone to perform the operation on her. When it became clear no professional would oblige, she trepanned herself in 1970, boring a small hole in the middle of her forehead with an electric drill. (She documented the procedure in a short but horrifying film called Heartbeat in the Brain.) Pleased with the results, Fielding went on to stand for election to Parliament, twice, on a platform of "Trepanation for National Health.”
Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir by Kwame Onwuachi and Joshua David Stein
The first step is to score a circle with a tourné knife, the smallest in a knife roll, a third of the way down the eggshell. Then, score it again to cut the top cleanly off, leaving the shell looking like a trepanned head. Then you carefully empty out the yolk and white, separating them into bowls to be used later.
[on preparing eggshells to be used as serving vessels for custard]
The Red Threads of Fortune by J.Y. Yang
Mokoya saw the hole [the dragon-type creature] had trepanned into the domed roof. […] a yawning lobotomy of cracked roof…
[Note: It‘s the roof of the tower containing the library, so this comparison to a brain is apt.]