International Museum of Surgical Science

I’ve been thinking about making this blog a little more personal, and talking not only about cards, but about various things that are happening in my life or stuff that I’ve done.  I’ll still throw cards into the mix.  They may not always fit the theme and may just serve as a break in segments, but…away we go.

My wife and I took a trip to the International Museum of Surgical Science recently.  It’s something that we’ve both wanted to do for a while and finally got around to it.  The museum itself is relatively small in an older building close to the lake shore here in Chicago, away from most of the downtown touristy stuff.  You won’t find many paintings and statues, although they are there. Mostly, it’s comprised of artifacts of surgical history past.  You’ll see various tools and products and photographs showing how certain procedures have evolved over the centuries.

This is the closest I could find to an evolution of cards in one

Three things typically fascinate me when I visit museums and this one was no different.

1) How much society hasn’t changed.

Reprints and fake reprints

You may be surprised how little some of the instruments have changed.  Eye glasses certainly have evolved in their style and ophthalmology as a medical specialty has seen great strides (and my job allows me to see that somewhat first hand), but actual glasses…not so much.  Tools used to assist with child birth have been virtually the same as they were first created hundreds of years prior.  It’s hard to believe that these things are like the game of chess where it’s been standard/perfect throughout most of history.  It just means that there are a lot of areas where we haven’t broken through to improve them yet.

2) How much society has changed

I may not really retain much of the information I see, but what I’m most interested in is how stupid we used to be considering our current knowledge base.  It also makes me think a lot about how far we’ll come and what medical oddities we currently have in place that will seem stupid and foreign 50 years from now.  Here are some of my favorite miscues.  We all know about blood letting and cupping, but I was surprised at how long it took for physicians and hospitals to adopt a clean, sterile environment.  It’s been less than 100 years.  There are people that did it for quite some time, but widely adopted as “good medicine,” it hasn’t been that long.  Those glasses I mentioned that haven’t changed?  Well they used to use age as the basis for prescriptions rather than your actual eye sight acuity, because they those all eyes lost function at about the same rate.  How about the fact that radiation was briefly thought to be a beneficial thing.  One company added radiation to water to advertise it’s “invigorating” properties.  That was kind of a snake oil thing, but it was also used as a hair removal treatment for women.  Yeah…guess how that’s worked out.

Sort of like an X-Ray? I mean you can see through the hole in the card

3) The Research that goes into this information and how can we trust it.

I’m not saying people are making things up, but there’s a lot about our current world that is unknown and undiscoverable, despite the prevalence of the internet.  I mean, do you know how hard it is to find a comprehensive resource on Star baseball cards or broders or even that 5X7 collector’s choice card from a major manufacturer.

I was going to scan and show each of these 9 separately, but…

All the cards are labeled the same, but have different titles and pictures

So, there’s not much to say about them and I got to wedge them into this post

With that in mind, how can we really be sure of some of these timelines or that these breakthroughs are being properly attributed to the right people.  Not that the possible “right” person would be alive to care most of the time, but you know what I mean.  History is what we make it, I guess.

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