What It’s Like Living Without The Ability To Feel Pain

A reminder that suffering has its purpose? 31-year-old Steven Pete was born with congenital analgesia – a rare genetic disorder rendering him unable to experience pain, though he has a sense of touch. Via the BBC, he explains that life without pain is a curse:

Steven Pete and his brother were born with the rare genetic disorder congenital analgesia. They grew up – in Washington state – with a sense of touch but, as he explains in his own words, without ever feeling pain.

It first became apparent to my parents that something was wrong when I was four or five months old. I began chewing on my tongue while teething. They took me to a paediatrician where I underwent a series of tests.

During my early childhood I was absent from school a lot due to injury and illness. There was one time, at the roller-skating rink. I can’t recall all of the details, but I know that I broke my leg. People were pointing at me because my pants were just covered in blood from where the bone came out.

One of the things I’m going to have to face soon is the fact that I won’t have my left leg anymore. I’ve had quite a bit of surgery on my left knee in the past and it’s got to the point where my doctors have told me to wait until it gives out completely. Once that occurs they’re just going to have to amputate.

4 Comments on "What It’s Like Living Without The Ability To Feel Pain"

  1. I worked with a guy whose son had this condition.

    They tried to keep a close watch on the kid but sometimes he’d come in from playing and have a nail stuck through his foot or some other unnoticed injury.

    He and his wife were also investigated for child cruelty.  The child had closed his arm in a car door and it was sticking out as they drove around town. A cop saw it and pulled them over, which let to the investigation.

    Strangely unsettling.

    In this guy’s case, I’m not exactly sure why they need to amputate the whole leg once his knee joint fails. Seems like a knee replacement would be a better option.

    • Perhaps they don’t cover knee replacements in Britain?  Perhaps he, like his brother (look for the longer BBC article about them), doesn’t qualify for it because he’s not in pain.  His brother committed suicide after being denied disability payments…

      • That was my first thought.

        But then I really paid attention to the article and realized the guy is from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. It just happens that the story was covered by the BBC.

        Which might explain it. They’re not exactly giving away Knee Replacements here in the U.S. either. The guy looked like he might have the type of job that didn’t come with good health insurance.

  2. Anyone else seen Kickass?

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