This euphemism for surgery is one of many we use to lessen the fear and anxiety that usually accompanies this predicament. But we should be happy advancements have been made in this area of healthcare. Back in the Medieval times, the “cure” for diseases were a lot worse than the cause. Let’s explore some of these mind-numbing techniques that were used to cure all that ailed you.
There were no doctors back in the Middle Ages, so the job went to monks. These men were thought to have better access to medical literature, but that didn’t mean they could do the job properly. And even with all the best “how-to” books for dummies, anesthetics and penicillin had not been invented yet – imagine being awake while a monk takes out you gallbladder or attempts brain surgery – this happened all the time and most patients didn’t survive the ordeal to talk about it.
As time went on and more people were getting sick and dying from surgery, the medieval folks came up with an “anesthetic” of sorts. This concoction called, dwale, and was made from lettuce juice, castrated boar gall, briony, opium, henbane, hemlock juice and vinegar. This was mixed with wine and given to the patient to drink before they were scheduled to be butchered. The person undergoing surgery would fall into a deep sleep, but whether they ever woke up was a crap shoot.
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