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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 2, June 2017
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Gerry Jacobson
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


No Pain, No Gain

They wheel me in and lay me out on a cold, narrow platform. They give me a sedative and local anaesthetic. But Dr. T is in a hurry. I feel his scalpel cut in. Shuddering, jarring, piercing pain. I scream, and he snaps at me: "Keep Still!" He probes for the subclavian vein so that he can push the wires in. Flashback to Fanny Burney and her mastectomy. Paris, 1811, with Europe's leading surgeon. How she felt that incision. Gauze over her face, and was it six or seven men holding her down? A nurse puts a hand on me. The pacemaker is inserted in my pectoral muscle and the wound sewn up. By this time I feel no pain. The sedative and local have kicked in.

the heart
hath no logic
the heart
that nurses a viper . . .
how its venom stings


Author's Note: English novelist Frances (Fanny) Burney describes her ordeal in a letter (dated March 22, 1812) that is included in the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection, New York Public Library, New York.

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