October 27, 2006

Addendum to last entry

I see something I forgot to mention in my last entry was one of the most important: the use of concrete sensory images. Seek out specific instances, details, color, sensory appeal, anything that can help the reader see, hear, feel, smell or taste the scene better. Poems may be written about abstractions, of course, many are. But those are difficult to pull off and for the novice I recommend that you stick with a specific episode with specific details of what happened or might have happened to play around with. The trick is to turn everything into a physical description, so that even abstractions like good and evil or truth or wisdom etc are converted into concrete physical images in a metaphor or simile. How might one do this? Say a teenager has been caught fibbing and a guilty grin gives him away. "Blushing, he bites the truth off his face and assumes the mien of a chastened churchmouse." But that is just one idea. The point is to SHOW by means of physical description, how a person feels or thinks, rather than by simply using abstract words to tell us.


We went to see Joe's pulmonologist this afternoon. He has been having trouble adapting to his assistive breathing BiPAP machine, for various reasons, and has only used it a few hours each night. I think he exaggerated when he told Dr J that he used it 5 hours last night, because he told me he'd only used it 2.5 hours. But in either case, since he sleeps 12 hours a night, it falls far short of the 3/4 of the night's sleep that Dr J wants him to wear it for. Part of the problem is the mask, which covers his mouth and nose and forces air into his throat through both, drying out his oral cavity distressingly. He gets up to drink several times a night, then because the inrushing air pushes the liquid in his throat down his windpipe, he feels like he is choking...So it's been a no win situation so far.

Dr J then suggested a kind of nose mask called a nasal pillow which is supposed to be more comfortable and allows for both speech and coughing. He gave us a prescription for that and for modafinil, the wakefulness promoting drug used in narcolepsy and sleep apnea, and in the army, for use when he is feeling more than usually fatigued, despite 12 hours sleep.

Afterwards, we went to Dunkies for coffee and smoothies and were sitting there, just resting, when suddenly a wet spot appeared on Joe's shirt. "Uh oh," he murmured, and tugged at his buttons, opening his shirt. His undershirt was pinkish in a large blotch. He pulled it up and we could both see that stuff was being pushed out of the feeding tube. Apparently the top had popped off and now his smoothie was literally going in one end and coming out the middle. I ran for napkins while he closed off the tube. Gingerly he tucked his shirt back in over the now uncovered tube. I offered to drive his car to get us home, and surprisingly he let me, a measure of how uncertain he was and how shaken. Luckily, at the building, hardly anyone was around, and so we got up to his floor with only one other person in the elevator and no one else to deal with, and soon all else was well again. But it was a close call with an embarrassing disaster, and I am certain it won't be the last time, so we'd better get used to it.

Posted by pamwagg at October 27, 2006 06:55 PM


Dear Pam,

I started working on the poem the other night and it felt good to do so, but I would love it if you did write your own version of this exercise. So, don't give up on the idea!

Kate :D

Posted by: Kate K. at October 28, 2006 01:22 PM

Post a comment

Please enter this code to enable your comment -
Remember Me?