Monday, August 07, 2006

Death, Drugs, Darkness and Ducks.

In my ongoing quest to blame someone else for my inadequacies I am going to attribute some of my recent crap mood to the State Coroner. And this post contains violence, drug use and un-natural bodily postures.

Today I sat with Florey's solicitor and went through every detail of a case I saw midwinter a few years back. It is referenced here and here - hope the links work.

It concerned a young man with blood on his hands who came in to Florey with no memory of the events of the preceding morning. He remembered the few beers, the sitting around in the kitchen wondering how it all had got so bad. But that's pretty much it. No memory afterwards of anything - no memory at all of the long drive up north, nothing of the breaking into the ex-wife's house, not even a detail of the assault - two dead, two critically injured, including the foreign exchange student - no real memory of anything. Not sure how he'd ended up on his father's doorstep. No real idea about how the blood on his hands and trousers ahd got there.

Anyway. During his nine hours in the ED he had been seen by four doctors, of whom I was the most junior, for varying periods of time, of which mine was the most brief. And despite his father's protestations that his son was not safe to be sent to prison, and his mother's statement that her other son, the older one, had hanged himself in Florey six years ago, he was judged sane enough to be sent sent off to prison.

And from where he threw himself from the sixth floor of the prison two days later.

Anyway. Melancholigenic thoughts, if such things exist. And the coroner will determine the presence or absence of any metaphorical blood on any theoretical hands. Luckily, like all histories, the psychiatric notes are written by the winners, and I am sure that everyone will come out fine.

Well, not the man who died, obviously.

Or the two to four people he killed.

And not the friends and doubly bereaved relatives thereof.

But all of us, the doctors, we're probably going to come out fine*. And surely that's important. If you prick us, do we not bleed? And hence today's meeting with the solicitor.

In the interim, and in an effort to do something besides whine about me and my problems, I've been writing. I've written some ten thousand words of draft blog which I suspect will remain forever 'not to be published', accessible only to some future data miner or e-archaeologist who is writing a thesis on the General Fucked Uppedness of Early Twentyfirst Century Western Society.

One effect of all this writing is that the writing is getting easier, and I'm more pleased with stuff I've written. I'm starting to understand how to plot, and I'm getting characters who have some complexity to them.

I think in the start, my characters were all facets of the kind of person I wanted to be, expressions of my hopes. Then, as I got older, they became more like aspects of the person I feared I truly was, or was in danger of becoming, expressions of my fears. Now they are starting to be just people, which is good.

And writing helps fill up that void I drone on about. The last few nights I've worked out depression is a weed that grows in silence and in dark - it's something that is exacerbated, not remedied, by a few days off work. So, you write, you clean, you go to work (the not-very-challenging work, not the ED), you do stuff. Sooner or later (more like later) you go out in public. Probably not for a while, and then subtly disguised.

I think at this stage I am meant to start taking quetiapine, the antipsychotic for the discerning bipolar patient. It is a medication which I loathe on several levels. I am not alone in this - even my imaginary friends agree with me that it's a bad idea. It is commonly prescribed for murderers and speed freaks. I might try amisulpiride. Then again, I might try taking the advice of my specialist, who suggested quetiapine.

Anyway, an interesting tale from a recent client. He tells me how, back in the bad old days (before he became a mid-level accountant) he had intravenous LSD. Intravenous means injected into the vein, and LSD means any kind of crap people can stick on a blotter of paper and convince some teenager is LSD.

(LSD, as I am sure you know, is usually taken orally. But there is no end to the amount of substances that can be injected. The term "adrenaline junkies" is one that irritates me, and not any less since I heard of a small group of men and women in East Mordor who actually inject intravenous adrenaline.

Bang, into the vein and back up to the heart, where it sends your heart-rate past two hundred, sets your lungs going like bellows and pumps your brain full of terror. They use 5mg at a time, a potentially fatal dose. I have given intravenous adrenaline to a number of people in the past, without even telling them what I was about to do, but the people I injected were a very special group of people. When I injected them, they were all dead).

Anyway, this guy had the IV LSD, and sat back, and watched in growing amazement as the three china ducks on the wall spewed sparkles and smoke from their cloacas and flew along the wall - (a new category of visual hallucinations - alongside the religous, nihilistic, erotic and paranoid we must now place the twee) - and suddenly lost consciousness.

When he woke up he was on his back in another room, in an un-natural posture - he mentioned a heel in his ear, a position one normally only attained by teen gymnasts who really don't want to lose at twister. He had vomited over his own shoulder into his other ear. His face and clothes were soaked with salty water, and he seemed to have - yes, a spoon in his mouth. He had bitten his tongue, dislocated a finger and lost control of his bowels, bladder and brain.

"What happened?" asked the life of the party, removing articles of cutlery from his tonsils.

His benefactors explained. It turned out that shortly after attracting the attention of his peers to the flaming bottomed ducks he had hurled himself at them like Aslan at an erring faun and commenced having a seizure. Luckily, each of the three stoned out acidheads with him had seen this many times before and knew what to do, and each member of the treating team sprung into action like pieces of well-oiled machinery.

One leapt upon him and started punching him in the head. That, he believed, was teh apporporiate therapy for the convulsing patient.

Another adopted a different mode of treatment and fetched warm salty water and started pouring it down the patient's throat from a jug.

And the third grabbed a soup spoon and forced it as far down our narrator's throat as possible. Presumably it was this that smacked the uvula around like a punching bag and brought on the copious vomiting-while-convulsing-and-lying-on-your-back, but then again, the warm salty water or the repeated blows to the head can't be ruled out.

All, I am assured, with honest therapeutic intent.

"You do what you have to to save a life" one of his assailants had said.

"Good God" I said. There was a silence.

"Nearly killed me, I reckon" he said.

"No doubt" I said. I'd seen people brought dead from less.

"Yep, right there and then I decided LSD wasn't the drug for me".

"To hell with LSD" I said. "Those bastards nearly put an end to you. That's as close as most people get to being a victim of homicide."

Anyhow, more later, and replying to comments after this.
Thanks for listening

*Well, I will, anyway.


Blogger Juanita J. Sanchez said...

That's... Quite a story. Very well written! I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. You've got a fascinating blog, hope you don't mind if I become a regular?

6:06 AM  

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