Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP) is a rare and misunderstood medical diagnosis, even in sophisticated clinical settings. Due to a mutation in recessive genes effecting nerve development and reception, a person with CIP doesn’t recognize their physical pain sensation from birth, as the abnormality “interrupts” that signal to the brain. Therefore, patients suffer injuries without direct knowledge of their ailments, leading them to aggravate and reaggravate injuries.
The following deals with the effects of this mysterious birth defect, not only from a physical standpoint, but from a psycho-emotional perspective. As a CIP survivor, I explore my past and how the condition directly and indirectly impacted my emotional state and awareness, including the perception of both physical and emotional pain in others. Further complicating matters, are themes of neglect, substance abuse and violence. What are the ramifications of pain, or lack thereof? What does it really mean to feel?
MFA Creative Writing
Level of Degree
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Fifth Committee Member
Jimmy Santiago Baca
CIP, Disability, neglect, Chicano, Albuquerque, Memoir
Montoya, Mario J.. "NUMB: The Boy Who Couldn't Feel." (2021). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/engl_etds/332
Available for download on Wednesday, July 31, 2120