"From the "Obscure Pleasures of Medical Libraries" to the "Aphrodites of the Operating Theater," cultural critic Mark Dery is never one to turn a blind eye at our own gross anatomy. In 2006 though, Mark couldn't look away even if he wanted to. That year, the author of the new essay collection I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, spent his summer vacation at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center suffering through the poisonous cure of chemotherapy before punctuating his year with hours under the surgeon's scalpel. Boing Boing is honored to publish for the first time Mark's intense, moving, and deeply personal account of his Season In Hell." — David Pescovitz
On the wall at the foot of my bed, a poster displays the Faces Pain Scale, a series of earless, genderless every men arranged, from right to left, in increasing degrees of agony.
“The faces show how much pain or discomfort someone is feeling,” the caption explains. “The face on the left shows no pain. Each face shows more and more pain and the last face shows the worst pain possible. Point to the face that shows how bad your pain is right NOW.” The blurb adds, helpfully, that your face need not resemble the cartoon visages in the Pain Scale.
It’s August 2011. I’m lying in a room at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, waiting to undergo surgery for a small-bowel obstruction, an intestinal blockage resulting from postoperative adhesions caused by my 2008 surgery for my first small-bowel obstruction, itself the result of my 2006 surgery for a rare and virulent cancer. Abdominal surgery begets scar tissue. Which gives rise to adhesions. Which sometimes cause bowel obstructions. Which may necessitate surgery. Which begets more scar tissue, which…
Read Mark Dery's "Season In Hell"