I need this like I need another hole in my head!
Let's start off with a hypothetical situation, shall we?
You're sitting at home on a Saturday with nothing to do. There's no sports on TV, all the movies are lame, and SpongeBob is all repeats. It looks like a nice day out, but it's not. While the sun is out, it's really cold. You've tried to contact your friends, but, no ones home. (because, nobody like you, everyone left you, they're all out without you, having fun). You finished all your games and you iPod broke, so no music for you!
Then you get a phone call. it's not really a friend of yours, more like the friend of a friend. Someone you met a couple of times at the bar and thought was kind of cool. They invite you to a party. There will be food, liquor and trepanning. Well, being the typical Whitenose reader, you stopped comprehending at 'liquor'.
You show up to the party, and there's a lot of people there. Guys who seem to be a lot of fun, and really cute women who don't seem repelled like most women you talk to are. So, you have a good time.
Eventually, the host says it's time for the nights festivities to really start. It's time for the trepanation, and they're looking for a volunteer.
Your question is: Do you volunteer or not?
Anyone who has ever read any of my posts knows better than to answer yes to that question.
Trepanning, or trepanation, is the act of putting a burr hole in the body. Most often it's done to the skull. Although, if you've ever had a blood blister under a nail and poked it with a pin to relieve the pressure, that's also trepanation.
These days, doctors use trepanation to relieve a subdural hematoma. They will use a drill to bore a small hole to let pooled blood out.
A century ago, it was used for mental health reasons. A hole would be bored, and part of the brain destroyed to relieve mental issues. The practice was stopped after the prefrontal lobotomy was perfected.
But, in earlier times, larger sections of the skull were removed. Pieces about the size of a silver dollar.
And, one of the surprising things about it is, we have evidence of it being performed 7,000 years ago. But what really makes it amazing is, we also have evidence that 7,000 years ago, people were surviving the procedure.
Skulls have always been found with holes in them. Some are cause by deterioration of the skull, some by a weapon, and some were drilled post-mortem. Neanderthals did most of the post-mortem drilling. We don't know exactly why, but some anthropologists believe it was for ritual cannibalism. Eating the brain of a defeated foe would give you their powers....blah blah blah....
But, some of the holes were large and symmetrical, meaning they had been drilled. At first, ritual cannibalism was to blame. But as more observant scientists studied the skulls, they realized, quite a few of the drilled holes had rounded edges. This meant new bone had overgrown the original cut. Which only happens over time, if the patient survived.
This led them to speculate that trepanation was used as an early form of emergency surgery to help head wounds heal. Cave paintings that have been discovered also suggest that it was used to relieve migraines or cure epileptic seizures. And, the patient would customarily wear the skull piece as a pendant to ward off evil spirits.
Now, remember, people were doing this at least 7,000 years ago. That's before there were cities. That's back when humans were nomadic hunter/gatherers moving with the seasons.
And, as time went on, people passed on how to do it. Hippocrates, the Greek physician who is credited with developing modern medicine, wrote in his texts how to perform trepanation, and the different locations on the skull for different ailments.
In mesoamerica, we find evidence of trepanation not only being performed, but several skulls have been found with multiple trepanning's in them. It seems the people of the Andes experimented on people to perfect the procedure.
Oh, I should mention that, in most cases, the patient was most likely awake for the procedure. And, they didn't have anything to deaden the pain. So, you just had to bear it. And, I'd imagine cutting a large chunk of the skull out with a crude stone drill took a while. (not to mention the sound...)
Anyway, be grateful you haven't been invited to a trepanning party.
No, really. There are people out there who voluntarily undergo trepanation. they think it improves the brains blood flow and makes them smarter. Well, some think it helps release their psychic abilities, too. But, since 1962, people have been trepanning themselves because, well, they're nuts. Also because no reputable doctor will remove a chunk of your skull for no reason. So, they do it themselves.
So, if you get an invite to a trepanning party, Just. Say. No!