Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Welcome to the Lobotomist's Dream!

A hearty hello and welcome to my colleagues and colleagues soon to be!

My name is Dr. Frank Corlin. I am a licensed lobotomist, and I have been practicing it for 36 years without ever taking a vacation from my beautiful Maryland home. In fact, I've lived in Maryland for my whole life, sharing the last 40 of them with my beautiful wife, Barbara. We've had 2 children, and are just now watching our 2 grandchildren growing up. (Little Chester calls me Doc C; I love it!)

But I'm not here to talk to you about my personal life (though I will mention it from time to time). No, I'm here to talk about my profession.

Lobotomy has been, I think, unfairly singled out in the medical world as a dangerous operation at best, and a crock at worst. This seems to stem from people's ideas that no science relating to a brain's physical state has any merit. Oh, yes, psychology and psychiatry are well-respected, because they tackle the mental issues, but lobotomy has been lumped in with phrenology just because we have to touch the brain.

I once had a patient who came to me (or rather, I was referred to her by my colleague, Dr. Phillip Kohl) and asked me, without a moment's hesitation, "Doctor, isn't lobotomy just a pseudoscience created by the Aztecs?"

I must have scared her, I was laughing so heartily.

"No," I replied, "You're thinking of trepanation, a process created by the Incan people in which they removed a piece of the skull in order to relieve pressure from the brain."

"Oh, then what is lobotomy?" she asked with genuine interest.

I smiled back at her as I said, "We remove a piece of the brain."

Of course, the concept scared the living daylights out of her. But after the procedure was done, she was calm and quiet as a clam. I'm sure she was pleased by the procedure, and by the fact that she didn't let her preconceptions get in the way.

Now, lobotomy first came into general use in 1890, by Dr. Gottlieb Burckhardt. Here is a picture of him. A brilliant Swiss man, Burckhardt removed pieces of the frontal lobes of six different patients who were suffering from psychosis. As with all brand new procedures, the results were somewhat mixed. One of the patients died after the operation, and another was from in a river 10 days later. The rest exhibited some form of altered behavior, mostly for the better. While this may sound like poor odds, a 2/3 success rate is actually quite high, particularly for 19th-century European medical practices. In his work, Dr. Burckhardt showed what miracles could be achieved simply by eliminating some uneeded gray matter.

In more recent times, lobotomies have reduced in frequency, mainly due to a lack of proper information, and because of mind-altering drugs. Now, you'll forgive me if I'm a little biased, but why are people so opposed to removing a small part of their brain, but are completely keen on doping up the entire organ? There's a bit of irrationality there, mainly brought on by the crafty advertising (or some would say propaganda) of the pharmaceutical companies.

Because the practice has diminished, so have the practitioners. I am one of only a handful of certified lobotomists in the United States . And remember, you should never let an unlicensed lobotomist operate on you - that's called homicide. (Sorry, that's a little bit of lobotomy humor for you.)

Unfortunately, I can only reach and teach so many people in Somerset and it's surrounding cities. That's when my daughter suggested that I create a "weblog," which is a kind of online journal. I thought that it was a brilliant idea. And so, here I am, spreading my knowledge and passion for this science...and art!

Now, I think this is a good start, but I definitely want to hear what you are interested in. In these weblogs, visitors are allowed to write comments. There is a button that says "comment" below. If you click on it, you can write a response to what I say. It's somewhat like a bulletin board! So, if you are interested, leave a comment. Give any suggestions and hard-hitting questions you have about lobotomy, or about Doc C. I'm here for you, so let's make this weblog a powerful tool for lobotomy enthusiasts everywhere!


Anonymous said...

"And remember, you should never let an unlicensed lobotomist operate on you - that's called homicide."

I got quite a laugh out of that.

This is certainly better than what you did last year.

-Comrade Chavez

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting argument..."why alter all of the brain when you can create an effect with a localized solution." I think that actually has merit.
I suggest you pursue this argument in your defense and compare the two with brutal honesty.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say it's better than what you did last year, but it's certainly more interesting, at least the post is. I have no idea what else you did to this site for april 1st, but I assume you did do something.