Monday, January 05, 2009

Thursday 6th May 1943

Pleasant surprise this afternoon, when Hamad walked into the ward, with Sheikh Said! Hamad has at last been released from the prison-like 37, and is now in 34, an ordinary ward. The old boy soon found his way about. By a curious coincidence, Sheikh Said, and Hamad and I, all wandered into the groves later on, quite independently, and met in the middle. Hamad immediately took us to one of the rare places where the oranges were still to be found, and we picked a dozen or so.

But today also, I had an unpleasant surprise. The doctor called me into his office, and immediately asked, “Do you think you are ill?” “I don't know,” I replied cautiously, “Perhaps you can tell me.” “Well, I think you are ill,” he said, “You are suffering from a certain nervous illness.” (Ah! I thought, he is sure now. Perhaps the blood report told him something.) “Now,” he went on, to my horror, “I want to give you some treatment...” “What, sir? The electric treatment? Shock therapy?” “Yes. Would you like it?” “No! I'd not like to chance that! I've seen shock therapy – injections – in the other hospital. Some people get worse...” “Ah! But this is a bit different. Come down to Ward 37, now, and have a look at the apparatus.” “No!” I felt my face go pale and my hands were beginning to tremble more. The doctor noticed it too and put his hand on my shoulder, ushering me out, “Alright, never mind, “ he said, “You'll get better anyhow, but electric treatment would do you good. Think it over.”

I consulted Munsey, who had had the treatment. He looked shaken at mention of it. “Didn't think you needed that!” he said. He had been given four doses and then they decided the treatment was doing him no good. A few people seemed to benefit from it, he said, but it was a ghastly thing.

I still felt pretty miserable at night, and after lights out, Eugene Lobel came and sat on my bed. He talked for about two hours and told me not to have any shock treatment and not to worry about anything; to start going to the afternoon cinema shows, and have a day pass into Tel-Aviv with him. He left me feeling much happier, and I slept well.

It is strange that I seem worse now than I was two months ago, when I was in the acute ward at No.22. I felt more alert and happy then, not half so worried. Certainly my hands did not tremble then, as they always do now. But maybe this is a good sign, and they have brought my troubles to the surface more, since I came here.


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