Torture

In the not too recent past, I thought that if we ever needed to torture someone overseas, just send a bunch of dental hygienists to war zones and we would get all of the information we need. Dental hygienists are the worst. They spend 45 minutes with sharp, pokey things digging at your gums without abandon while talking to you about all kinds of stupid shit – asking all sorts of stupid questions while you grunt back at them. Every time you spit into that little sink, it is a bloody mess. Who wants to be a dental hygienist? They are experts at torture.

I am not a big James Bond fan, but I am sure I remember a James Bond movie where 007 is captured and tortured. He gets strapped to a table and a laser is set to obliterate him at a certain time. Fortunately for 007, he has the smarts to break out of the straps and free himself just before the laser cuts him in two.

On a similar note, I went through proton radiation therapy this summer. I was strapped to a table by a mask of my face and wasn’t able to move. Just like 007, a laser was focused on me and shot at me to do some serious damage. Unlike 007, I didn’t have the smarts to wiggle off the table and get free of the laser or turn the laser on my captors. I took a laser blast to the head 30 times this summer. It clearly blasted the hair right off of my head. Torture.

Did you ever see Zero Dark Thirty? In the first part of the movie, the CIA is torturing one of the Taliban members to get more information out of him. They use a couple of torture methods. They strip him naked and have a woman agent in the room so that the guy is humiliated in front of her. One of their torture methods is to put him in a wooden box that is barely big enough for him to fit and leave him there. He cannot move, he cannot see. He is in complete darkness and confinement for long periods of time.

On a similar note, I had a MRI last week at UPenn. I have already blogged about the humiliation of the procedure. They have you take all of your clothes off. They give you two hospital gowns (one to wear forward and the other to wear backward). They also give you a pair of disposable underwear….that is size XXXL. You get changed and use one hand to hold up the XXXL underwear and the other to be sure both hospital gowns do not fall off. It is humiliating. At some part in the process, they ask you to walk to the MRI room through a normal hospital hallway – where all sorts of people can walk through. You are holding a key to your locker with your personal stuff, your oversized disposable underwear that is falling down, and both hospital gowns. (At some point in the future, I will have to say, “Screw it. I have cancer. If people see my naked ass hanging out or my junk flying in the wind, I could care less. I have cancer.” Modesty goes out the window when you have cancer). Then, they put a catheter in your arm and tape the sucker down on top of all of your arm hair. After 45 minutes of waiting with the catheter in your arm, they walk you into the MRI room. They lay you down on the table, give you earplugs and also headphones, and then guide your head into a brace and tell you not to move. The table then moves back into the tube and the scan starts. At UPenn, they do not put a mirror on the brace so you can see out of the tube. I laid there for 40 minutes staring at the top of the tube, 3 inches away – not being able to move. On top of that, the table shakes every so often. On top of that, it is 40 minutes of pounding from the MRI machine. It sounds like someone banging a hammer on metal pipes with buzzers going off for 40 minutes. It was so loud that I couldn’t hear the music they were playing in the headphones (John Williams – a bunch of movie scores – beautiful music). It was miserable. There was nothing pleasant about it. Confinement, Humiliation, Nothing to see. Torture.

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