Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How to write with feeling

The other day I was talking to one of my new-temporary work colleagues about hospitals and the like and the subject of the Hickman Line I once had to have inserted into me came up. For those of you that don't know what a Hickman line is it's basically an intravenous cathater (usually used in the administration of chemotherapy) that gets inserted through the subcutaneous fat in your chest and fed into your superior vena cava (I think) so stuff can be pumped in to you. In my case the 'stuff' was a nutrient mix that looked rather like loose mash potato... in a bag. Anyhow, when I got the part of my tale when I asked if the mirror could be adjusted so I could watch the surgeon inserting the line whilst I lay prone on the operating table, one of the guys listening to my thunderously interesting story asked me, quite openly and earnestly, how it felt. All I could say on this matter was that 'it felt weird'. How crap is that!
Now when George Orwell was asked how it felt when he was shot in the throat whilst in Spain he replied:

"Roughly speaking it was the sensation of being at the center of an explosion. There seemed to be a loud bang and a blinding flash of light all around me, and I felt a tremendous shock - no pain, only a violent shock, such as you get from an electric terminal; with it a sense of utter weakness, a feeling of being stricken and shriveled up to nothing. The sandbags in front of me receded into immense distance. I fancy you would feel much the same if you were struck by lightning. I knew immediately that I was hit, but because of the seeming bang and flash I thought it was a rifle nearby that had gone off accidentally and shot me. All this happened in a space of time much less than a second. The next moment my knees crumpled up and I was falling, my head hitting the ground with a violent bang which, to my relief, did not hurt. I had a numb, dazed feeling, a consciousness of being very badly hurt, but no pain in the ordinary sense."

Man I wish I could be more lucid at times.

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