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Ropes: Second Pastel Exploring My Infant Surgery

In my second pastel, I confronted the ropes strangling my body. These were actual areas of tension where it felt as though ropes or bands were strapped across my chest and under my breasts. In the pastel is a rough outline of my torso in black and the bands in red.

In researching my operation for pyloric stenosis, a stomach blockage, I learned that babies were ‘anesthetized’ with a drug that paralyzed and did not kill pain. In the medical world, anesthesia for babies has always been complicated. The reasons were threefold; first, it was believed that babies did not feel pain and second, that the anesthesia in and of itself might kill or cause damage. Furthermore, at least in 1952 when I was operated on, there was a lack of trained pediatric anesthesiologists to administer the drugs. Pediatrics was a new specialty, a specialty that garnered a lot of pushback. After all, weren’t babies just little adults? And so the field of pediatric anesthesiology was also suspect. In any case, I was horrified to learn that many babies were subject to torture.

Was I given a paralytic?  If not, was the pain-killing anesthesia I might have been given enough? Did the ropes of tension strangling my body mark places where I had been tied down for surgery? Had I fought against the restraints? I do not know. I do know that I had to confront the tension in order to go forward with my goal of writing about my early surgery. I had to acknowledge and honor my constriction: I was cut into at one month old and my body had registered complaint. Listen, this pastel told me. Listen.  

I'm fixed! EMDR, Somatic Freeze, and Early Trauma

Much to my delight, EMDR is slowly eroding some deeply held somatic patterns. I had my doubts it could work on trauma held in my body for over six decades. But in time, I am changing. I am recognizing more quickly when I’m in a freeze and learning how to disengage from it in a self-caring way. What… Continue Reading

Are Your Symptoms due to Infant Surgical Trauma ?

The following material is taken from psychiatrist Dr. Louis Tinnin’s former blog. The material was removed from the Internet after his passing last year, but I think it’s important for the public to have access to it. I called Intensive Trauma Therapy, Inc. in Morgantown, West Virginia (ITT) and asked the staff to repost the material. I… Continue Reading

EMDR and Preverbal Infant Trauma: My Experience So Far

In talking to a fellow pyloric stenosis survivor about EMDR, she wondered whether it could help folks like us who experienced such early trauma–stomach surgery for pyloric stenosis, typically 10 days to 6 weeks after birth, without anesthesia or pain control. She understood that EMDR helps people reprocess memory connections in the cortex, that part of the brain… Continue Reading

Why Should We Care about Preverbal Infant Trauma?

This is the title of the speech that I gave at my Toastmasters Club last week.  To satisfy the guidelines of the Toastmasters assignment, my talk could only take five to seven minutes. Here it is in a longer form. I hope to convince you that we as a society should care about preverbal infant… Continue Reading

Thank You, Dr. Louis Tinnin–Pioneer in Treating Infant Trauma

Dr. Louis Watson Tinnin, a man who has been a friend to all those who suffer trauma, especially preverbal infant trauma, died back in February, 2014. I was shocked that I hadn’t heard about his passing until last week and recently had wondered why I hadn’t received posts from his blog for quite some… Continue Reading

Beth Israel Hospital, Newark, New Jersey: Returning after 62 years

For the first time in sixty-two years, I returned to the hospital that saved my life when I was one month old after having been operated on for pyloric stenosis, a stomach obstruction. Now the hospital is called, as is obvious from the photo, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and is well-known as a trauma… Continue Reading

My Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech about Pyloric Stenosis

THE ALIVENESS OF ME The good news is that I was born a healthy 6 pound, 7 ounce baby. The bad news is that I began to lose weight. One pound. Two pounds. When I reached 4 pounds, the doctors finally got the diagnosis right: pyloric stenosis. Pyloric stenosis is a blockage between the stomach… Continue Reading