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Arlo : Aversion Therapy
Diary entry posted Wed 5:19pm 26 October 2005

Saturday 13th August 2005

I read about this simple concept once upon a time and the article that documented it had the title "Aversion Therapy".

The basis of the article was this: place a rabbit inside a room with a metallic electrified floor. Place a bowl of food with an electronic cover over it so that the rabbit can't see it.

At set intervals, a switch is activated which opens the cover on the food. The rabbit sees the food and approaches the bowl.

Just as the rabbit is about to reach the food, a small electric current is passed through the metallic floor and the rabbit given a mild electric shock, not enough to harm him, but enough to make him notice and stop in his tracks. At this point, naturally, the rabbit recoils and takes stock of it's situation.

Now, after the rabbit has composed itself, it will once again re-approach the food. As soon as the rabbit gets near again, the mild shock is administered once more. Net result is that the rabbit stops in his tracks again. This same pattern is repeated half a dozen times or so after which the rabbit basically gives up trying for the food and avoids the bowl.

The more far-reaching consequences of this "test" (I abhor animal experimentation of ANY kind btw) are that even when removed from the test environment and placed back inside it's safe, warm hutch with a big bowl of food, the rabbit doesn't eat. He ultimately ends up starving to death.

Why? In a relatively short space of time, he has associated eating with pain. To his simple brain, he has been reprogrammed to think that going near food will mean that he gets hurt.

This is clearly a terrible thing, and I didn't read the rest of the article to see if there was any explanation or justification for this "experiment". As far as I am concerned, there's no justification for it. Period.

Ok, well, what has all of this got to do with me and my broken leg? Quite a lot, actually.

If you have been reading my diary, you will see that from my previous post that I had a little mishap after I got back from seeing my OS - I stumbled and fell on my bad leg full weight. The pain was indescribable and I now know what people say when they say they "see stars".

Bottom line is after I've got inside and settled down, the next time I go to get up, "aversion therapy" has kicked in. I can't put my bad leg anywhere near the floor and I even get paranoid about brushing it against anything. Anytime someone even so much as brushes past my leg, I recoil and act like I've been stung. This is a terrible thing. The FEAR of the pain is greater than the pain itself. This has put me back a few stages in my recovery as the day before I was encouraged to start PWB to promote the healing of my BL.

So Day 1 of the next phase of my recovery and PWB has not got off to the start that I had imagined. I'm now worse than NWB; I'm now NNTFNWB (Nowhere Near The Floor Non Weight Bearing lol).

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 Wed 5:19pm 26 October 2005
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