Author Topic: You can scratch all the way into your brain  (Read 11476 times)

Heradel

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You can scratch all the way into your brain
« on: June 25, 2008, 03:02:03 PM »
From the New Yorker:
Quote
M. was willing to consider such possibilities. Her life had been a mess, after all. But the antidepressant medications often prescribed for O.C.D. made no difference. And she didn’t actually feel a compulsion to pull out her hair. She simply felt itchy, on the area of her scalp that was left numb from the shingles. Although she could sometimes distract herself from it—by watching television or talking with a friend—the itch did not fluctuate with her mood or level of stress. The only thing that came close to offering relief was to scratch.

“Scratching is one of the sweetest gratifications of nature, and as ready at hand as any,” Montaigne wrote. “But repentance follows too annoyingly close at its heels.” For M., certainly, it did: the itching was so torturous, and the area so numb, that her scratching began to go through the skin. At a later office visit, her doctor found a silver-dollar-size patch of scalp where skin had been replaced by scab. M. tried bandaging her head, wearing caps to bed. But her fingernails would always find a way to her flesh, especially while she slept.

One morning, after she was awakened by her bedside alarm, she sat up and, she recalled, “this fluid came down my face, this greenish liquid.” She pressed a square of gauze to her head and went to see her doctor again. M. showed the doctor the fluid on the dressing. The doctor looked closely at the wound. She shined a light on it and in M.’s eyes. Then she walked out of the room and called an ambulance. Only in the Emergency Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, after the doctors started swarming, and one told her she needed surgery now, did M. learn what had happened. She had scratched through her skull during the night—and all the way into her brain.
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Alasdair5000

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2008, 04:34:15 PM »
Can I just take this moment to say, and I feel I may speak on behalf of a lot of regular forum users here....

Ahem.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Thank you.

Cerebral fluid is GREEN?  Somehow that's the worst part...

Heradel

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2008, 04:56:42 PM »
Can I just take this moment to say, and I feel I may speak on behalf of a lot of regular forum users here....

Ahem.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Thank you.

Cerebral fluid is GREEN?  Somehow that's the worst part...

It might have been the infection causing it to be green (paging Sully Dog). But seriously, I was not expecting that in the New Yorker. I mean, I don't object to it, but *shudder*.
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wakela

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2008, 02:09:48 AM »
If this had been in a PP story I would have thought it was stupid and unrealistic.

What if the fluid hadn't woken her up and she ... kept ... scratching ... and scratching ... and scratching ...  Ahhh, that's the spot.  It feels so good ... What's this under my fingernail?  Why can I no longer remember the 7th grade?

tpi

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2008, 02:39:24 AM »
Sounds like an urban legend.
Spinal fluid is clear - if it would been green the infection would be so bad, that the person never would be able to go to the doctor's appointment herself - she would be deeply unconsious.

Chodon

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2008, 05:16:35 AM »
Wouldn't it have worn down her fingernail and the skin on the end of her finger too?  Sounds like "Friction" turned horror!

Still, it gives me the jibblies...

The hibbly-jibblies.
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birdless

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2008, 10:16:29 AM »
This does sound like something from urban legend! :shudder:

And, according to the article, there was infection. The article is actually about itching, and now i'm itching all over. Check this out, also from the article:
Quote from: New Yorker
Contemplating what it’s like to hold your finger in a flame won’t make your finger hurt. But simply writing about a tick crawling up the nape of one’s neck is enough to start my neck itching. Then my scalp. And then this one little spot along my flank where I’m beginning to wonder whether I should check to see if there might be something there. In one study, a German professor of psychosomatics gave a lecture that included, in the first half, a series of what might be called itchy slides, showing fleas, lice, people scratching, and the like, and, in the second half, more benign slides, with pictures of soft down, baby skin, bathers. Video cameras recorded the audience. Sure enough, the frequency of scratching among people in the audience increased markedly during the first half and decreased during the second. Thoughts made them itch.

And one of M's roommates from the institution they had to place her in also had the same type of itch... but on the neck. He eventually died by scratching through his carotid artery.

:jibbly... jibbly-jibbly:

Corydon

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2008, 11:19:27 AM »
Ha, I was just reading that article while on line at the DMV this morning.  When I read that part I yelped, and got some funny looks.  It does indeed sound like urban legend... but given the New Yorker's legendary fact-checkers, I'm betting it's true.  Yecch!

Darwinist

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2008, 12:41:54 PM »
Ha, I was just reading that article while on line at the DMV this morning.  When I read that part I yelped, and got some funny looks.  It does indeed sound like urban legend... but given the New Yorker's legendary fact-checkers, I'm betting it's true.  Yecch!

I'm thinking it is true also.  I've looked at a couple urban legend sites and haven't seen anything like that story mentioned.   She needs to invest in a titanium helmet or something.
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Heradel

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2008, 01:27:04 PM »
Ha, I was just reading that article while on line at the DMV this morning.  When I read that part I yelped, and got some funny looks.  It does indeed sound like urban legend... but given the New Yorker's legendary fact-checkers, I'm betting it's true.  Yecch!

I'm thinking it is true also.  I've looked at a couple urban legend sites and haven't seen anything like that story mentioned.   She needs to invest in a titanium helmet or something.

I think we can trust the New Yorker to get the facts right, especially considering the lengthy interview with M. and the New Yorker's fact checking department.
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Thaurismunths

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2008, 08:23:30 PM »
Having just finished the whole article, and it is a lengthy one, I have a couple points:
1) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
2) I've actually heard of the mirror treatment mentioned at the end, and know it to actually exist.
3) The article brought up some really cool theories about how we perceive the world. Namely that our senses give us barely enough information to actually do anything, and most of what we think they tell us is just the inference of memories and past experiences.
3) See point 1.
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DarkKnightJRK

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2008, 06:35:17 PM »
Can I just take this moment to say, and I feel I may speak on behalf of a lot of regular forum users here....

Ahem.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Thank you.

Cerebral fluid is GREEN?  Somehow that's the worst part...

Mind if I join in?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Russell Nash

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2008, 10:58:41 AM »
Excuse me while I puke all over the floor of this thread. 

Didn't PP have a story with a similiar element?

Tango Alpha Delta

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2008, 11:25:38 AM »
"Hey, Tad!  Welcome back from your vacation.  How's the sunburn?  Kinda itchy?  Here... read this and weep."


(cue weeping.)
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Thaurismunths

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2008, 01:29:50 PM »
Excuse me while I puke all over the floor of this thread. 

Didn't PP have a story with a similiar element?
You're probably thinking of Pseudopod 036: Liberation. The one with spiders in the brain.

Bdoomed, clean that up.
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shwankie

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2008, 01:30:13 PM »
I elected to not read the rest of this article after about the first paragraphs. *shiver, ickified quakes*

Of course, 'Munths was reading it, and kept sharing. :-\

Again with the AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHCCCKKK!!!!

oddpod

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2008, 01:56:04 AM »
i reeeeeaally dont see how fingernails culd get thrue bone, its posabul that infecton may have eatern away a patch of the skull but the relative hardneses of the 2 serfeces jusat dont addup to sellf trapanashon
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Tango Alpha Delta

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2008, 09:38:00 AM »
i reeeeeaally dont see how fingernails culd get thrue bone, its posabul that infecton may have eatern away a patch of the skull but the relative hardneses of the 2 serfeces jusat dont addup to sellf trapanashon


Somehow, though, that just doesn't make me feel any better.  At least, I don't feel any less ITCHY!!  Gaaah!
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Russell Nash

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2008, 11:38:28 AM »
Hey TAD,

There's a spider on your neck.

Tango Alpha Delta

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2008, 12:21:34 PM »
Hey TAD,

There's a spider on your neck.

Eep!  You're lizard is welcome to eat it... I'll just sit here and hold reeeeeeeallly still...
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MacArthurBug

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Re: You can scratch all the way into your brain
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2008, 11:14:27 PM »
Ehheeeeheeeheeeeew.  And eew. and ick. It indeed gives me the heebie jeebies and a minor itching sensation I daren't touch.  Indeed the green in particular makes it the grooser.
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