Final Chapter of the Magnet Story

Date: 2007-05-10

The magnet is gone. As a matter of fact, it's gone down to pathology. My feelings were very mixed. I was excited to get the surgery, not looking forward to the pain. I was happy to be moving along towards getting my knees sorted out, but a little heartbroken to be finally letting go of the failed experiment. I'm a normal human now; not only do I not have a 6th sense, I have to use my opposable thumb to pick up magnets.

I tell everyone not to get this procedure, and I mean it. But at the same time, I don't regret getting it myself at all. It was, for me, an effort at changing part of my self, and so it was an effort at defining my self. It can't really count for someone now as what it was back in 2005; we know what it does, and we know what goes wrong. Doing the thing that doesn't work isn't the same as doing the unknown thing.

It's back to the drawing board, which is my consolation. There's about 100 magnets up on my fridge waiting for another experiment, webpages open in other tabs about TMS, orientation sense devices, expert patients, neurolaw, neuroplasticity, pharmaceuticals, and more stuff than I can read, all on my reading list. There's an MRI waiting, then, hey! I can go try TMS!

In the background of all this are the questions the magnet led me to, the ones that make the magnet look pedestrian. Human augmentation and even advanced treatment really begin to erode at what we think humans are, in society, in the justice system, in medicine itself. What are we going to become inevitably is also the question of who we are now, and beginning to ask the former brings home how little we know about the later.

I'm excited and scared to be trying to find out. I miss my magnet, but I knew it wasn't well understood when I started. I'm glad I know what a spinning drive and a ringing telephone wire feel like. I'm sad I can't feel them anymore.

But now it's time to wonder what the rest of the world feels like.

Well, maybe after the Vicodin's done.

The photoset of my last minutes with a magnet in my hand is here, with much appreciation to Artur for donning scrubs and taking these pictures.