My time in the seizure unit was filled with tests, seizures, hockey games, Netflix, reading, puzzle books, and poetry.
Sitting, or laying in a hospital bed, within a 9×9 cell, 20 or more electrodes crazy-glued to my head, and attached to a cord plugged into a computer mounted on the wall, was almost suffocating. The furthest I could walk was maybe 15 feet, give or take, to the shared bathroom and back. Other than nurses, doctors, and technicians, the cleaners, and hospitality staff delivering my meals, my distractions were limited, other than the lab rats slinking from bed to bed stealing blood in the wee hours of the night.
Removed from the world, you withdrew, thoughts and conversations with yourself blocked out the beeping and humming.
I filled many a spiral bound notebook, journalling the events of each day, every discussion, and test result. The loneliness and isolation consumed me. Fear and anxiety overwhelmed me, and spilled onto blank pages in the form of poems.
The following are from the early days commuting back and forth from Surrey to Calgary. They’re raw and unedited.
Seeing, but not. Hearing, but can’t speak. Senses confused—impaired—dysfunctional.
Passersby look—shrug—turn away—walk on.
The curious stay, puzzled, scratching heads, knowing not what to do, no shaking—stiffening—foaming, or vomit?
Bored, they move on.
Loneliness, fear settles in.
Hours, minutes, seconds count by.
Soon kind voices, gentle hands comfort , soothe, here to care and protect the poor soul from the battles within.
by Anne Paterson
Brain now numb to the feelings, thoughts that once swirled with a force like a tornado and hurricane colliding, creating massive pressure within the small confines of my chipped, cracked skull.
Scattered debris remains like broken shards of a mirror, no reflection to see, no images of what or who I am.
Seeing with eyes full of pain, worry, questions, fear.
Looking for answers where none may not be found.
Groping in darkness seeking out the sliver of light, the silver lining.
A glimmer of hope.
A guiding hand to bring me safely back.
To awaken the soul that has died in me.
by Anne Paterson