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I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me.

I honestly find the brain fascinating. I mean, who wouldn’t? It just sits up there, being all smart (or, I suppose, stupid), letting us do amazing things (or banal ones), remembering the lyrics to the theme song of The Greatest American Hero years after we actually saw the program, yet refusing to spit out the first name of the acquaintance we met only a couple of weeks ago at a shindig.

Which is why any news about people who have traumatically injured their brain with foreign bodies AND SURVIVED IT is like a delicious dessert to me. I can’t get enough of things like this. Something! Went into their BRAIN! And they SURVIVED IT! Their BRAIN!

So of course, I was super-stoked to hear about this story the other day.

You’re totally not going to click. I KNOW YOUR M.O. YOU HOOLIGANS. That’s ok. I’m excited to tell it to you anyway.

So this guy in Illinois – Dante Autullo, and isn’t Dante kind of a kick-ass name? Yes – was building a shed in his backyard. He was using a nail gun. Now, I don’t know about you, but nail guns scare the beejeebers out of me. You always see them being used as makeshift weaponry in action films. I don’t want to use something that shoots high-speed nails for my home repair. Mostly because I’m totally clumsy. If I can’t use a hammer and nail properly, I’m pretty sure a nail gun would be catastrophic. ANYWAY. So Dante’s putting up his shed, possibly to cover up his portal to the Underworld (that’s a Divine Comedy reference, not a judgment of whatever Mr. Autullo’s got going on in his life) and he was “using the nail gun above his head when he fired it.” That seems dangerous, but maybe that’s what one does with nail guns, I’m not a contractor. He felt like he got punched in the side of the head, and had a little wound, so thought maybe the nail gun bopped him on the head. As nail guns are wont to do. They’re totally revengey.

The next morning, he felt like he was going to yak, so his girlfriend was all, “Dante, let’s get you to the ER?” and he went.

THIS IS WHAT THE X-RAY SHOWED YOU GUYS.

NAIL! IN HIS BRAAAAIIIINNNN!

There are no pain receptors in your brain (which has always confused me, because explain my headaches, then, sciency-types) so the nail didn’t hurt – only it entering his skin/skull did.

NAIL! IN HIS BRAAAIIINNNNN!

What did Dante do when shown this x-ray?

“When they brought in the picture, I said to the doctor `Is this a joke? Did you get that out of the doctors joke file?”‘ the 32-year-old recalled. “The doctor said `No man, that’s in your head.”‘

Ha! A FUNNY JOKE FILE! Doctors have a joke file? I totally want to see that. Also, why’s his doctor a surfer-dude? “No, man, that’s in your head, bro! We’re just going to take it right out of there, dude!”

Apparently, nails are a better thing to have in your brain than bullets, because bullets break up and cause all the damage and dying and shit, while nails are thin and do not break up and have a pointed tip. This nail kindly stopped before it entered the parts of his brain he was using, and the doctors were able to remove it (by drilling two holes in his brain and pulling the nail out along with a piece of skull, ew ew ew) and listen, Dante is FINE. Like, joking with the doctors (ok, “joking,” Dante’s not all that funny, but I don’t think that’s a nail in the brain side effect, I think he just isn’t all that humorous, I wish the nail would IMPART humor, that’d be awesome) fine.

Now, one time I was watching some show, I don’t know what it was, I want to say Rescue 911 (remember how horrible that show was? I used to get nightmares from that show) or something along those lines and I can’t find reference of it online and that’s unlike me, I’m totally a champion Googler, but I remember some story where some guy was driving along, minding his business, and was behind a truck filled with rebar, and the truck stopped suddenly, and one of the pieces of rebar FLEW OUT OF THE BACK OF THE TRUCK and THROUGH THE GUY’S WINDSHIELD and INTO HIS EYE AND BRAIN. That was horrifying. Can you even imagine? You can’t even blame that on a revengeful nail gun. FLYING BRAIN-INJURING REBAR! I don’t remember what happened to the guy. I remember what happened to ME – I’ve been afraid of driving behind a truck with anything pointy and small enough to enter my eyeholes ever since – but not the guy. Probably he lived, if it was on Rescue 911. I don’t think they had a lot of gory death stories on there, did they? Just horrendous injuries that freaked me out.

Then there’s this guy. Phineas Gage. Exciting! Doesn’t that sound like someone who would be outstanding and also sit up very straight? Also, I can’t hear the name Gage without thinking of that demon child from Pet Sematary and “Gage wants to play wichoooo” and ACK. Phineas Gage worked for the railroad in the mid-1800s. He was in charge of putting explosives in holes and tamping them down with a large iron rod. One day, something went VERY WRONG and the explosive went off while he was tamping, sending the iron rod THROUGH HIS BRAIN. All the WAY through. Like this:

AND HE DIDN’T PASS OUT YOU GUYS.

The doctor showed up and this is what the Wikipedia article said and SO EFFING GROSS AND ALSO AWESOME:

“I first noticed the wound upon the head before I alighted from my carriage, the pulsations of the brain being very distinct. Mr. Gage, during the time I was examining this wound, was relating the manner in which he was injured to the bystanders. I did not believe Mr. Gage’s statement at that time, but thought he was deceived. Mr. Gage persisted in saying that the bar went through his head …. Mr. G. got up and vomited; the effort of vomiting pressed out about half a teacupful of the brain, which fell upon the floor.”

ZOMG HALF A TEACUPFUL OF BRAIN.

Also, the bar totally PASSED THROUGH his brain and landed a little way away. Went THROUGH. Like a JAVELIN.

So he recovered, although he looked kind of like a freakshow, and toured with Barnum and Bailey for a while, because if there was one thing P.T. Barnum knew, it was that people love creepy shit that gives them the shivers.

But! His personality totally changed!

Before the spike through the head incident, he was “hard-working, responsible, and ‘a great favorite’ with the men in his charge, his employers having regarded him as “the most efficient and capable foreman in their employ.” After the accident? Um. Well. Not so much.

First, he carried the metal bar around with him. EVERYWHERE. He called it his “constant companion.” He was even BURIED with it.

Also? “He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires, at times pertinaciously obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many plans of future operations, which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned in turn for others appearing more feasible. A child in his intellectual capacity and manifestations, he has the animal passions of a strong man. Previous to his injury, although untrained in the schools, he possessed a well-balanced mind, and was looked upon by those who knew him as a shrewd, smart businessman, very energetic and persistent in executing all his plans of operation.”

Then about 12 years later he had convulsions and died, so I guess longevity and steel spikes through your head don’t really go hand-in-hand. He was only 36.

So, then, wait a minute, he kind of seemed to get shiny-toddler-ADD, didn’t respect things, was crabby, and cussed a lot.

Um. I HAVE THAT.

Shit.

I need to talk to my parents. Maybe I had a steel bar shot through my head and didn’t even know it. Shit shit shit. WHY DO MY PARENTS ALWAYS HIDE THE BEST THINGS FROM ME SERIOUSLY.

Although I could totally use a career as a sideshow carny. That would be AWESOME. I’d be best friends with the Dog-Faced Boy and hang out with the geek and get free readings from the fortunetellers and eat all the free fried dough. I’m all over this. Also, I love to travel.

Perfect career move! Plans have been made! This one’s going to work, you guys!

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

36 responses to “I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me.

  • Kim M

    Great, thanks, now I’ll have the theme song from Greatest American Hero stuck in my head all day. And I saw a marathon of that show last year on 4th of July I think, and it was SO BAD. Why did I like it so much as a kid? Was that the reason my parents always left the room when we were watching it. BAD! Land of the Lost is the same way- LOVED it as a kid, can’t stand it now. And why does my brain keep these old theme songs stuck in there like they’re military secrets? Imagine the good I could do in the world if I could just forget all the old ad jingles and tv theme songs and use the brain space to hold important information instead! I could use it to solve world hunger, create world peace! But no, instead I’m singing to myself “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese….”. ARGH!

    Like

  • MsDarkstar

    Ok, but really, if you vom and your brain bits come spewing out, I think a change of personality is inevitable. Because, really, I would think that sort of thing would be so traumatic that you would just walk around the rest of your life worrying that you’ll eat expired falafel and then vom out more brain… I would suppose that kind of thing would probably make you distracted and cussy. I know it would probably make ME distracted and cussy.

    Maybe you didn’t have a spike through your head… maybe you were running to kick a football, got it pulled away at the last minute and landed on your head… thus causing a lifelong obsession with that damn football. (Hey, it could happen…) Which probably means you didn’t lose any brains at all, they maybe just got scrambled up a little. So now you have an omelette in your skull. A brain omelette, but an omelette nonetheless.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Mmmm. Omelette.

      Did you see in that article that they weren’t able, back in the day, to fix his skull, so for the rest of his life, if you looked at that part of his head, you could see HIS BRAIN PULSING? Ack. ACK. I don’t think he dated much after that. I’d think personal time would be cut short the minute you got close enough to see HIS BRAIN WAS PULSING.

      Like

  • blogginglily

    It’s weird how something so traumatic can be lived through, and then on the other hand, you can step on a tack and die of infection.

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    • lucysfootball

      Once my great-grandfather cut off some of his toes with a manual lawnmower. That’s really apropos of nothing. Just a fun Amy family tale of maiming.

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      • blogginglily

        My grandfather BROKE his toes with a regular lawn mower. he was pulling it backward and tripped, pulling it up over his foot. . . where the blade did the rest.

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        • lucysfootball

          This is why I don’t ever want to live anywhere I have to mow a lawn. Can you imagine what a clumsy person would do to herself with a lawnmower? I’d have no appendages after about a month.

          Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    I’ll just post a quick comment because I’ve got stuff to do, but will return later ‘casue DAMN!

    Re headaches: It’s true we don’t have pain receptors in our brains, but we have blood vessels and blood vessels have a coat of muscles to regulate the blood pressure. So the explanation for headaches is that it’s our blood vessles’ muscles that register pain – probably due to blood pressure differences.

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    • lucysfootball

      See? I knew you’d know. NOW. How can I make them STOP HURTING. Because I have a headache right now, I’m sure due to the fact that my job was the WORST today and made me stress out, and OUCH.

      Like

  • lgalaviz

    Moral of the story… stay away from nail guns, and iron rods, and rebar.

    Like

  • elaine4queen

    i am looking forward to hearing tales of your new carnie life. will it be like ‘carnivale’ i wonder? that was a bit angsty.

    Like

    • lahikmajoe

      I, too, am looking forward to the carnie blog. There’s no tax time at the carnival, right?

      Like

      • lucysfootball

        I don’t think the carnival would pay taxes. They seem like they’d avoid something like that, don’t they? Also, a carny blog would be the BEST BLOG EVER. Why hasn’t someone come up with this yet? Someone, quick, find a carny and make them blog. I would read that so avidly. I am in love with that idea.

        Like

    • lucysfootball

      Ooh, I did like “Carnivale,” even though it got kind of weird near the end and I think people were turning into the devil, or something. There was a lot of longing and pining. I’d be part of that carnival.

      Like

  • Omnibus

    You know how you’re always saying that your hair is so unruly? Maybe your hair is covering a piece of rebar! ” Check your head ASAP! But really check it good! ” — Lyrics from my new song “Check Your Head” dropping April 1st

    Like

  • lahikmajoe

    I’m walking much more carefully than normal today. Anything to avoid the random iron rod.

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    • lucysfootball

      I KNOW! It could come from anywhere! Didn’t you say you just got your driver’s license there? Watch out for trucks with pointy things in the back!

      Like

      • Andreas Heinakroon

        I meant to comment on that as well. If a lorry has to stop quickly things won’t fly off backwards from it’s back, it would fly forwards due to their momentum. But you might not be able to stop in time and end up impaling yourself on any sharp things sticking out the lorry’s back.

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        • lucysfootball

          Oh…I didn’t think of that. I wonder how the rebar guy got impaled, then? It was a long time ago and I don’t remember the details. Maybe the rebar just flew off the back of the truck when it was driving?

          Like

          • renni

            Next time you brake suddenly in a car, you’ll notice, that yes, at first you learch forward, but right after that, you swing back with almost equal force. That happens to me, because people cut me off all the time. So, my theory is, the bar flew out the back after first sliding forward, then sliding back.

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  • Andreas Heinakroon

    I was going to post a comment on left vs right brain and how this Phileas guy probably had his right brain damaged (I know, looking at the sketch it’s the left brain that was damaged, but Phileas was left-handed, so that would’ve been his right brain), and how the right brain is responsible for filtering our thoughts and evaluating moral implications so that without it we become witty but mean, cold and non-empathic.

    But I’ve learned that the theory of lateralisation of brain function has been played down lately, and that most functions are present in both hemispheres, so I won’t.

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    • lucysfootball

      I knew you’d be the better person to tackle this. I honestly thought of you while writing it. “Andreas would be so much better with this, because it is SCIENCY,” I thought. Then I wrote it anyway. Because, THINGS IN PEOPLE’S BRAAIIINNSSS!

      Hmm. Witty, but mean, cold, and non-empathetic. That…kind of describes me, some days. Crap. I totally think I have a brain injury of some sort.

      Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    P.S. You know why no one ever click on any links in your blog posts? It’s because we don’t want to end up somewhere else and lose your blog post! It is much safer to stay on the page and read your recap of the story instead (and you most likely make it much more interesting in the process anyway).

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    • lucysfootball

      You COULD just hit the back button…but that’s ok. I like telling the stories better, anyway. The original sources are SO BORING. I think any news story should be punched up with more SIDE NOTES and rambling personal asides. Wouldn’t that make the news more interesting to read? YES.

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      • Andreas Heinakroon

        Yes we could just hit the back button, but sometimes pages have these forward scripts that prevent you from going back and you have to click the back button several times really fast or use your history menu and you might end up overshooting the page with your post on it. Or they might have some VERY INTERESTING links on their page that we might click and presto! we’re gone for good. Do you know the percentage for people returning to the original page after clicking a link? Neither do I but I’m pretty sure it’s in single digits. It’s so easy getting lost on the web..

        Like

  • kitchenmudge

    This couldn’t possibly have anything to do with Gabby Giffords deciding to step down the day before you posted it? No, impossible.

    Like

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