Pain Compared to Cold

By Atom Bergstrom

Atom’s Blog

Vibrant Gal and I were driving to the farmers’ market.

“Watch out for deer,” I said. “It’s the kind of day when they’re out and about.”

We hadn’t seen any deer for several months, and I wondered why I said what I did.

“It’s the kind of day? What kind of day?” I thought. “Why did I say that?”

Two deer crossed the road in front of us.

This synchronicity (using the word coined by Carl Jung in the 1950s) inspired me to get back to my woo-woo roots.

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According to John Elliotson (The Zoist, Apr. 1848) …

“The discovery, by Dr. [James] Esdaile [1808-1859], that insensibility to pain from mechanical causes does not necessarily imply insensibility to cold, is one which presented itself to my notice in 1841, in regard to both heat and cold. In mesmerizing Miss Rosina Barber, cured by me of severe epilepsy, and well up to the present moment, and now married, I found that, though in her mesmeric sleep-waking she was insusceptible to pain from mechanical causes up to her collar bones, — a limitation of anæsthesia that has occurred in other of my patients, she was every where susceptible of feeling temperature.

“‘Though she never gave the least sign of sensation, however mechanically injured within the limits mentioned, she had an exquisite sense of temperature throughout her frame, but not more in the face than in her arms and hands. Not merely did cold or hot substances, when applied to her hands for example, give an immediate sensation; but even when held at a small distance, so that nothing could be ascribed to contact. Her sensibility to cold was indeed extreme: if the weather was cool, she would shudder as soon as she was asleep, and require a shawl, though previously she had not complained of cold: and contact of anything cold made her shudder distressingly. And this I have noticed in other cases, in which the loss of common feeling (anæsthesia) existed. The same peculiarity may exist in ordinary palsy, but it is not noticed, because not examined into: — a part is pinched and does not feel, and therefore is presumed to have no kind of feeling.'”

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