originally published on Sara Cohen’s Wellness Blog

The first time I was in straitjacket, I was only three. Or maybe four. Strictly speaking, I’ve only ever been placed in a straitjacket once, as far as I can remember.

The house my family was living in at the time was a contemporary style with an open living room and dinning room. However, between the two rooms was a single, long stair. The surfaces were all hardwood flooring. Very hardwood. For reasons I cannot quite recall, the specific circumstances having been lost over time, I wound up falling face forward into this single stair, landing directly on my chin.

Apparently, there was quite a bit of blood. If these events were to be produced for a major motion picture, the very next scene would be me waking up in the hospital. At least, that is how I remember it all, the time between being erased by shock and adrenaline. But unlike in a motion picture when the victim wakes up in a strange hospital room, my consciences returned a few minutes before receiving stitches.

There wasn’t much to remember except a few folks busying themselves around me, dressed in the uniform of medical technicians. There was of course a great deal of pain, and being three or four or perhaps even two, I wasn’t quite aware that these frightening people in their sanitizing masks were there to help me. As far as I was concerned, they were as much responsible for inducing pain as anything else. So I did my best to fight them off, flailing my arms about to keep them at a safe distance in the same manner primitive man might have fought off an attack by some extinct species of wildlife. Enter the straitjacket.

For the protection of the medical technicians, and probably for my own safety as well, I was wrapped in the straitjacket. This memory is very clear, even if nothing else is. Years later, I still have little recollection of any part of the experience, the gaps being filled in by other participants, with the exception of the restraining device that engulfed me. The scar under my chin has long since dissipated, and the only physical evidence is the lack of facial hair on a small patch of skin.

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