More from Susan Sontag

from “Illness as Metaphor”, 1977, p. 85

“But how to be morally severe in the late twentieth century?  How, when there is so much to be severe about; when we have a sense of evil but no longer the religious or philosophical language to talk about evil.  Trying to comprehend ‘radical’ or ‘absolute’ evil, we search for adequate metaphors.”

See again, the use of “crazy” metaphors to describe evil people and evil acts.

Susan Sontag’s “Illness as Metaphor”

page 58

“Nothing is more punitive than to give a disease a meaning — that meaning being invariably a moralistic one. Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance. First, the subjects of deepest dread (corruption, decay, pollution, anomie, weakness) are identified with the disease. The disease itself becomes a metaphor. Then, in the name of the disease (that is, using it as a metaphor), that horror is imposed on other things. The disease becomes adjectival. Something is said to be disease-like, meaning that it is disgusting or ugly. In French, a moldering stone façade is still lépreuse [leprous].

This book was published in 1977.  The disease I see most often given metaphorical status these days is mental illness.

A miracle

My doctor today was a new one, a middle-aged Indian woman whom I liked immediately. She asked me quite a few questions about my facial pain. She said she doesn’t do trigeminal nerve injections– she does infraorbital ones, which was the ordered procedure from my PA (physician’s assistant at the headache clinic). She wasn’t sure if that is the kind of pain I have, wasn’t sure this nerve block would help, and asked if I wanted to go ahead anyway. I said yes.

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[picture of the infraorbital nerve, which runs below the eye and to the side of the nose.]

My face relaxed and went numb as the lidocaine took effect. I had an immediate response where tears ran down my face in an immense feeling of relief.

Nerve pain has been my constant, wailing demon baby companion for someething like 13 years. The baby stopped wailing and went to sleep.

This means it’s likely not my trigeminal nerve after all: it’s the infraorbital nerve.

She said because the nerve is being injected, the pain may flare up for a day or two before the block starts to work.

I cannot overstate how amazing this appointment was.