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"My Lobotomy": 45 years later, a man tries to learn why

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 625
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11/20/2005 01:11 PM
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"My Lobotomy": 45 years later, a man tries to learn why
[link to www.dailyrotten.com]


"My Lobotomy": 45 years later, a man tries to learn why


By Glennda Chui

Knight Ridder Newspapers


SAN JOSE, Calif. — In 1960, Howard Dully´s parents took him to a San Jose hospital for what they said would be tests.

Two days later, he woke up with a headache and two black eyes, feeling like a fog had penetrated his mind.

At the age of 12, he had been given a transorbital lobotomy, in which ice-pick-like instruments were inserted through the top of the eye sockets and twirled to destroy brain tissue in an area associated with emotion.

Dully never went back to school, never graduated. At the insistence of his stepmother, he was made a ward of the state, drifting from juvenile hall to halfway houses to Agnews State Hospital, a mental hospital in Santa Clara, Calif. He committed petty crimes, drank too much and lived on disability payments. He no longer felt welcome at his parents´ home.

Yet his intellect, sense of humor and emotions survived. A big, amiable man — 6 feet 7 inches tall, with laugh lines in the corners of his eyes — he eventually earned a two-year degree, married and became a tour-bus driver.

And five years ago he went looking for answers: Who had done this to him, and why?

The result of that quest is a radio documentary, "My Lobotomy," which aired this week on National Public Radio´s "All Things Considered" program. In the documentary, Dully narrates the tale in his deep, gravelly voice and interviews lobotomy patients and their relatives.

"You´d probably never know what happened to me if I didn´t tell you," Dully said in an interview. "But I felt I was not who I was supposed to be anymore. You can´t put your finger on it, but something´s been taken away. Something´s been altered or changed. It´s very frustrating."

In the documentary, he talks to his father for the first time about the procedure that changed his life. And he finds his medical file among the archived papers of Dr. Walter J. Freeman, the doctor who gave him the lobotomy — years after it had been discarded as a treatment for mental illness.

"My file has everything — a photo of me with the ice picks in my eyes, medical bills," Dully says on the broadcast. "But all I care about are the notes. I want to understand why this was done to me."

He reads one of the entries. It´s from his birthday, Nov. 30, 1960: "Mrs. Dully came in for a talk about Howard. Things have gotten much worse and she can barely endure it. Howard does sneaky little things, pinching and sticking pins in his little brother — and always seems to have the idea that everyone is against him. I explained to Mrs. Dully that the family should consider the possibility of changing Howard´s personality by means of transorbital lobotomy. Mrs. Dully said it was up to her husband, that I would have to talk with him and make it stick."

At the archives he also found a pair of leucotomes, the instruments that had been driven into his eye sockets.

For years, Dully told only his wife and a few close friends what had happened. He had no relationship with his stepmother and never discussed the lobotomy with his father. But he always thought that someday he would talk to them and get some answers.

Then, in 2000, his stepmother died.

"I guess it was a jolt to me," he said. "I realized I wasn´t going to be able to talk to her. It was over now."

His mother had died of cancer when he was 5, and he had resented the fact that someone was trying to take her place.

"Oh, I hated her," Dully said of his stepmother. "I didn´t want any harm to come to her, physical harm. It was more a mental game. She´d tell me go to my room and I´d mutter under my breath. She always said I had a look that scared her.

"I think what happened, if you want the truth, is that when I started to get big like I am she started to fear me."

After she died Dully started to surf the Internet, looking for information. Eventually he was put in touch with Sound Portraits Productions, which makes radio documentaries.

"Nobody who had had a transorbital lobotomy had ever talked about it — not that I knew of," said David Isay, co-producer of the radio piece. "I was curious to know the perspective of patients."

At first Dully did not want his name used, Isay said; later, he changed his mind. "Having the courage to really face down his demons and ask those very, very difficult questions of the people in his life was a wonder to behold," Isay said.

In a transcript of the broadcast, Dully´s father, Rodney Dully, tells him, "Nobody is perfect. Could I do it over again, would I have ... oohhhhh hindsight´s beautiful. Fifty years later, 60 years later I can say this was a mistake. ... So was World War I a mistake?"

Dully said he´s thought a lot, over the years, about what life would have been like — what he would have been like — without the lobotomy. Yet he said he does not feel bitter.

"What good is it going to do to hate somebody?" he said. "I´m more about, ´Let´s get it out in the open and forget about it.´ I can sit here and point fingers at 950 people, and it means nothing."
looney tunes
User ID: 437387
Canada
07/29/2008 01:42 AM
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Re: "My Lobotomy": 45 years later, a man tries to learn why
That's criminal. Child abuse. What kind of ghoulish doctor would suggest such a thing.

Dr Cameron the award winning psychiatrist? MK Ultra? What happens when you lobotomize kids? The hard wire Harlow rack makes a good project paperclip mommy.

Makes a person wonder about the refinement or effectiveness of current psychosurgery. Do they really know what they're doing? Has it even changed since 66? Most of the drugs are as effective as placebos and side effects are no longer a fully disclosed risk.

Mind Control? ""What good is it going to do to hate somebody?" he said. "I´m more about, ´Let´s get it out in the open and forget about it.´ I can sit here and point fingers at 950 people, and it means nothing." - Dully Would Dr Frankenstein say it worked? The man is a moral giant?

Could start with a million dollars from the hospital? drevil

Dr Cameron's patients got one hundred thousand, enough for a Tyrone Biggum's crack party. Doc Cameron would have lobotomized that. What's up Doc? A New Freedom Initiative for backroom psychiatric ethics in the school yard?
Babe in a Bunker

User ID: 444648
United States
07/29/2008 01:47 AM
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Re: "My Lobotomy": 45 years later, a man tries to learn why
he eventually earned a two-year degree, married and became a tour-bus driver.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 625


I'm not making light of his situation, but am I the only one alarmed that someone who's been lobotomized is DRIVING A TOUR BUS?
Well it seems so real I can see it
And it seems so real I can feel it
And it seems so real I can taste it
And it seems so real I can hear it
So why can't I touch it?
So why can't I touch it?


Twatter: [link to twitter.com]
Enaid

User ID: 310721
United States
07/29/2008 12:05 PM
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Re: "My Lobotomy": 45 years later, a man tries to learn why
Bump for daytime crowd. This is interesting.
Personal responsibility - try it sometime. Quit blaming others for your bad choices. Consequences happen.

:enaid11:





GLP