Ashlyn Blocker is 13 years old and has never felt pain -physical pain that is. She has “congenital insensitivity to pain,” meaning that although she can feel pressure and temperature up to a point, but not pain. Her condition is thought to be caused by a gene mutation. While the inability to feel pain may sound like a nice disability, it's caused all kinds of problems for a child growing up without feedback in an injurious world.
There was the time she burned the flesh off the palms of her hands when she was 2. John was using a pressure-washer in the driveway and left its motor running; in the moments that they took their eyes off her, Ashlyn walked over and put her hands on the muffler. When she lifted them up the skin was seared away. There was the one about the fire ants that swarmed her in the backyard, biting her over a hundred times while she looked at them and yelled: “Bugs! Bugs!” There was the time she broke her ankle and ran around on it for two days before her parents realized something was wrong. They told these stories as casually as they talked about Tristen’s softball games or their son Dereck’s golf skills, but it was clear they were still struggling after all these years with how to keep Ashlyn safe.
Ashlyn's parents founded Camp Painless But Hopeful in Georgia, to connect others with the condition, a few who also tell their stories in this article at the New YOrk Times. Link -via Jason Kottke
(Image credit: Jeff Riedel for The New York Times)