By Arianne Zwartjes
Zwartjes’s superbly crafted poetic prose humanizes the technical descriptions of health conditions and illuminates the medical realizing of emotional states. excess of a popularization of technological know-how, Detailing Trauma explores the wondrous anatomy and body structure of the human physique, a geography of our human frailties—and additionally our wealth, as people, of affection and desire and the capability for meditative thought.
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Additional info for Detailing Trauma : A Poetic Anatomy
Rubbing in honey, or balm, or ejaculate, to keep the skin soft. The prospect of brittleness is terrifying. * * * The collagen microfibril—left-handed helices twisting into a right coil, triple-helix filament—this protein crosslinks into the weaving that is our skin. In growth and repair, in development and disease, our skin stays soft, elastic, supple because of collagen. When the body is damaged, it lays down new collagen fibers and makes a scar: pale, thin, vulnerable layer of skin. As we gather years to us, some of the collagen in our bodies is lost, and some becomes more rigid, decreasing function.
We wound like ripe fruit, bruised and leaking open. Lacerations to the skin may be clean and linear if they are caused by a knife, glass shard, or other sharp object. They may be caused by slicing at an angle, separating an entire flap of skin like a peninsula. Crushing injuries, caused by a direct blow or impact, may cause a stellate laceration, irregular in its course. If deep enough, a laceration may reveal underlying tissues: fat, muscle, tendon or bone. Deep wounds sometimes accompany underlying bone fracture; it’s even possible for the broken bone to cause the laceration to the skin, sharp splintered ends jutting through what was intact.
There are so many ways we try to buy time as well. Not caves at 36 degrees, but almost everything else you can imagine has been attempted at some point. Serums made from placentas. Cell injections from the tissues of fetal animals. Elixirs, ointments, drugs, hormones, dietary supplements. Cryonics. Alchemy & the use of precious metals for eating utensils. Monkey gallbladders, bathing in beer, bathing 31 in special springs. Injecting human growth hormone, or injecting botulinum toxin, into the skin.