Daily Prompt: Verbal Ticks

Thank you, Ben Huberman.  I really needed a larf, and Huberman’s  Daily Prompt has got me rolling on the floor: “Verbal Ticks.”

Do you have a “verbal tick” you can’t get rid of?  Does it bury its head in your skin, suck your blood, and give you Lyme Disease, all the while chattering away like a demented dummy?

Ben, darling, I really am not dissing you.  It’s just that I’m a compulsive editor/proofreader with a cranked sense of humor.  I would have left you a comment in the “comments” section on your post, but there doesn’t seem to be one on the Daily Prompt, and if there is, I couldn’t find it.  My bad.

The word you wanted was tic.  A verbal tic is a vocalization, whether recognizable or not, that builds up inside the sufferer’s mind/body with increasing pressure until it exits, one way or another.  It’s a common feature of Tourette Syndrome.

I heard of a lawyer with Tourette’s whose main tic was verbal.  His brain compelled him to utter foul curses!  Most of the time he was able to blend them into a faked cough, but occasionally he had to exit the courtroom in order to drain himself of curses!  The judges all knew of his disability and made accommodations for his needs.

So now I’ve had my larf at the expense of our dear Ben, and it really is bedtime; but I will have to distract my mind, perhaps by watching Betty Boop cartoons, lest my dream be populated with chattering blood-sucking arthropods.

Noga The Wonderdog: my anchor to reality

Noga the Wonder Dog

Meet Noga.  She’s my Psychiatric Service Dog.  What service does she provide for me?   She keeps me grounded in reality.

You see, many years ago I was raped.  Not once, but many times.  And that has provided me with a whopping case of PTSD:  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The way I coped with being a homeless street kid who got raped a lot was to dissociate.  To leave my body behind, while horrible things were being done to it, and go floating away to Somewhere Else.  It became a habit with my brain, to dissociate from anything threatening; and at last my brain started doing it all on its own, in response to triggers that I may not even be aware of.

And even now, forty years later, I often find that I have been “gone” for hours at a time.  I often have no idea what happened to trigger the episode.  But Noga can tell when I have dissociated, and she jumps up on my legs and “bops” me with her feet, and if necessary, pulls at my pants leg to bring me back to the here-and-now.

And then there are the nightmares.  In my last post I showed you a picture of all the pills I have to take in order to get through the night.  But even with all those drugs, some nights (like last night, for example) I will dream, or hallucinate, or both, that someone has climbed through the window and is standing over me.  B.N. (Before Noga), I could spend hours in a half-dream, half-waking state of paralysis, waiting for the intruder to make his move.  But Noga is a fierce 13 pound watch dog, and she bites!  Now if I have a nightmare I can reach over and if Noga is sleeping beside my left shoulder as she always does, I know there is nothing to fear and I can safely go back to sleep.  Here is Noga keeping the bed warm:

Noga refuses to get out of bed on a rainy morning!

Whose bed do you think this is, anyway?

There are other things she does for me, besides being my Service Dog.  She keeps my right elbow at the proper height for typing by curling up under it, for instance.  That plaid thing is my elbow.

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Plus, she’s just my cute little buddy.

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Noga hates getting her hair wet.

Photos courtesy of my Samsung Galaxy SIII phone.

 

Daily Prompt: Nightmares

Dearest Readers, I almost never lack for blogging fodder; but today I am feeling a bit ill, so I am going to latch onto the WP Daily Prompt as an opportunity to showcase a particularly nasty nightmare I had some years ago.  It was recently published in the “Noir” eZine Close 2 the Bone.  The Daily Prompt peeps would love it if I were to interpret this dream for them; unfortunately, the dream speaks for itself and needs no interpretation.

N.B. It is my usual policy NOT to post TRIGGER WARNINGS but since this nightmare is truly terrifying, I am making a one-time exception.  And now, without further ramblings from yours truly, I present my scariest nightmare.

Vascular Surgery

There’s a good reason women make the best surgeons, she thought.  Quick, deft hands, single-pointed concentration, focus.  She thought of the women jet engine mechanics she had met in the Air Force.  Not that she had been in the Air Force; but in the course of her duties as a civilian surgeon under contract, she had met them.

Now, reining in her reverie, she was intent on the task at hand.  Drat this light, she thought.  She really needed a more direct light source, but one has to work with what one has at hand.

Slowly, painstakingly, she drew the outlines with a surgical marker:  carotid triangle; carotid vein;  carotid artery.  This, the artery, was what she wanted.

She steadied the syringe she had readied with an oh-so-fine 27-gauge needle.  2% lidocaine with epinephrine should be enough analgesia for comfort, and enough epinephrine to ensure a relatively bloodless field.  She couldn’t help chuckling: bloodless indeed.

Squinting in the insufficient light, she injected the layers:  first the skin, then the loose fascia of the neck; lastly, the layer surrounding the vessels of the neck, careful to avoid direct injection into the wall of the vessel, which might cause a spasm.

Now it was time to cut.  She picked up the number 11 scalpel and steadied her hand.  Carefully, carefully she opened the delicate skin of the neck, noting with satisfaction that the epinephrine had done its job.  There was no need for the tiny hemostats she had ready in case of superficial bleeders.  The next layer, the loose fascia, pulsated bluish, overlying the great vessels of the neck.  These she would blunt dissect with the larger curved hemostats.  She injected a bit more of the anesthetic, just to be sure.  No need to cause discomfort, which might result in unwanted movement.

At last the artery was exposed.  She marveled at its pulsations, at the tiny arteries that nourished the big one itself, and the miniscule veins that issued from it, carrying its waste into the larger system of veins, to be cleansed by the liver and kidneys downstream.

Holding her breath, she slid the first hemostat, jaws open, under the artery.  Clamp.  The vessel, trapped in the jaws of the hemostat, stopped pulsing abruptly.  There was no going back now.  Now the second hemostat, exactly one and a half centimeters below the first: clamp.  She raised the surgical scissors, poised for the definitive cut between the clamps.

Tilting her head to see better in the mirror, she cursed the dim light in that bathroom again.  And then, the definitive cut!  In a single motion, she swiftly removed the two clamps and was instantly drenched in red liquid.

A scream of agony split the night as she sat bolt upright in the bed, heart pounding, drenched in sweat, clutching the sodden bedclothes as she struggled, locked in the arms of the Angel of Death like biblical Jacob.

Frantically clutching her throat, she rushed to the bathroom, the very same bathroom, and strained toward the mirror in the same dim light.

Nothing.  Her throat, graceful and bluish white as ever, shone back at her from the reflection.

Sucking in a deep gulp of air, letting it out in a sigh that brought the dog running, she splashed water on her face and neck, toweling off the sweat.

“It’s OK, buddy,” she whispered to her whining canine companion. “Just another nightmare.”  The dog smiled anxiously, wagged his tail tentatively, and licked her calf.  She reached down and patted his faithful head.

“Good thing I have you, she murmured.  Stripping off her sweat-soaked nightgown, she rinsed off in the shower before throwing on a fresh one.  She sank into the recliner with a book: sleep would not visit again, not tonight.

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