May 17, 2004

New Poem

Under the influence of very little sleep and a tendency to get manic, I wrote this poem. A few words of explanation are underneath, but I wanted you to see it without them first, hoping it hangs together even if one doesn't know the details of all the details.


What to do with a dream

Of one of your doctors with her calligraphy pens

And fondness for what you would never yourself call

Even in polite company the F word

But say it out, all four letters plain as the May sunshine,

Of someone you trusted with the frailty

Of your life, the brain that has served

You adequately though not as well as it could

If a true friend, a dream that she not plays

But is Medea, mythical murderess,

Hands sticky with her boys� no longer blue

But aerated, lifeless red blood--

A dream, but only that or does it say something

More than the brain�s fanciful confusion

Of its female characters? You can�t will yourself to

Forget such a collision of identities

Any more than the expert silver burglar can

Forget the success of his life of crime

And go chalk-line straight because you suspect

She might commit the same crime

Your brain has in mind and take your life

Not just in her hands but with them,

The priceless sterling of inherited breath taken

From you in one last lost heartbeat.

Explanations: this doc was the one who administered ECT, which I feared was life-threatening, and I did dream of her as Medea, which of course says a lot...She does calligraphy and tried to teach me some, and loves the so-called F word (which I use totally unconcernedly myself)...The silver burglar, though there is I hope a recognizable connection made to the Medea/doctor, refers to a story about a burglar who specializes in stealing sterling that appeared in this week's New Yorker, which I found fascinating (though the ones about Iraq were too, just not enough in one of them in defense of women, though it starts out as if it were going to deal with the subject and ends up forgetting about it).

Here endeth my latest blog entry (apologies to all who have seen this before...)

Posted by pamwagg at 09:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 12, 2004


It has been a while since I've written anything here, and alas I cannot write much of any interest tonight. I merely want to explain that I have been subject to an overwhelming fatigue, sleepiness, and general exhaustion that go beyond even the fatigue etc that is normal for me. I want to write about so many things, but find myself so wearied by the mere thought of picking up either the laptop or a pen, that I give up and go back to bed, where I find I cannot sleep despite my sleepiness, except in fragments of two or three hours, even when I've been awake already for too long.

In desperation, I have ordered some CDs from the Monroe Institute, which my doctor recommended as being shown by research to have validity in their claim that their tapes and recordings actually beneficially alter brainwaves. Anyhow, I ordered one for achieving delta sleep, which I desperately need, and one for helping concentration, and a very popular one, called "Surf" which is no more than the sounds of waves crashing on a beach accompanied by the cries of seagulls and other seashore sounds. This one, which she lent me a copy of until I have my own, has already proved beneficial in banishing the voices while I play it, yet not interfering with my ability to read or pay attention to whatever I am concentrating on. So I ordered that as well.

I hope these measures make a discernable difference, and that my extreme fatigue abates. Meanwhile, I cannot promise another entry soon, though I hope it will be somewhat sooner than later. In any event, here endeth my blog entry, whatever number it may be.

Posted by pamwagg at 04:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 04, 2004


I want to write about a controversial subject and take perhaps a controversial position: specifically regarding the use of physical as opposed to chemical restraints. I refer also to old-fashioned wetpacks, of which I have only heard and read, not experienced, though I have been restrained many times. In brief, I believe that physical restraints are not such a bad thing and are at the very least preferable to the forced drugging of agitated patients called chemical restraint or in the past and perhaps more honestly, a chemical straitjacket. The problem with physically restraining a person is that too often it is done crudely, rudely and for far too lengthy a period of time. My sister once ran a unit where, by contrast, patients were encouraged to ask for restraints when they felt they needed them (which implies some degree of self-awareness), there being neither shame nor coercion involved. Best of all, because this was a voluntary procedure and requested, it rarely lasted for long. I can appreciate this. When I have been so angry or agitated in the hospital that I was afraid I might hurt someone, or if not another person then at least myself, I might have wished that voluntary restraints were an option, rather than the usual recourse of being drugged up. There�s something far less invasive and brain numbing about the simple act of fighting, for a short while, against a known enemy so to speak, and by that I mean the straps or whatever is used as a mechanism of restraint, as opposed to the unbearable cloud of oblivion and inertia that descends after a shot of Thorazine and/or Haldol.

I emphatically do not mean what usually happens: that the goon squad is called in to forcibly grab and pin a patient to a bed until the leather cuffs can be locked on to keep someone from expressing him or herself, that person being kept thus for many hours, mostly because it�s easier on the nursing staff. But I would prefer a physical mode of detaining someone in order to keep them safe, to drugs that leave one drooling or staggering or so sedated they can no longer think. I believe it�s both less destructive and less humiliating, and more dignified and honest to deal with an agitated patient in such a fashion. I have more opinions on this subject but my computer is giving me grief tonight, and my mind is not very nimble after 15 sessions of ECT, from which I am still recovering. So I will leave this for the time being, though I know much more remains to be said.

Here endeth my 17th blog entry.

Posted by pamwagg at 04:06 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack