So 4 AM this morning as I lay (dying? writhing?) in my bed at Emergency, I was passing a kidney stone and thinking: how will this experience help my writing? I was also wondering when the morphine would arrive, but that's not pertinent to this blog.
The first thing I noticed is that extreme interior pain tends to reduce one's (let's say a character's) conversation skills to one word grunts. "Painkiller. Now. Please." Also, it is a cliche, but one cannot help appealing to higher powers: "Mother. Mother. Make it stop." (Many a dying soldier in World War One cried out for their mothers in the end). Another reaction, even if that character is not religious, is to still pray between clenched teeth: "Dear God, please make it stop." And finally, the third reaction is swearing. Which thankfully I (err, I mean the character) refrained from while the health personell were in the room.
The other thing I learned was that even in real life some symbols can hit you over the head. While alone in the room, staring up into the far too bright fluorescent light, a large fly began to buzz around me, sounding a lot like a B-52 bomber. It would land on my knee and stare, divebomb near my ears, or quietly tickle my arm. I couldn't help thinking that this fly was way to obvious as a symbolic piece of this all too real story. That fly = death. I did inform the fly that he had come far too soon and was being a little too obvious. He laughed. He knew he was safe. After all I couldn't get him with my IV hand. And various other medical cables meant that I couldn't move. I was happy when he finally left through the open door.
I also learned, thankfully, why Coleridge and other poets liked morphine so much. But I did not write Xanadu once I'd had my hit. Instead, I slept.
And there is a happy ending. The stone is passed. And I am home. Now to use all this new knowledge to my advantage.
P.S. AC/DC is also a relatively good painkiller. Place iPod earphones in ear. Crank up to 11.
P.P.S Stay hydrated folks. Please.