Two very interesting things happened today~
In one instance, I observed my first electroencephalogram (EEG)! It was beautiful. I’d come across EEG often in my studies, and so I had some insight into the process and the readings. As is becoming a common occurance now, I had a moment of disbelief that what I was seeing was real – actual brain activity recorded right in front of me?! In a way that I could interpret? The technician was exceedingly competent and lovely, and talked me through what she was doing and answered my questions. I was enthralled with the reading, and we identified beta, alpha, a couple of theta waves. We watched as the patient became drowsy, we watched his motor cortex soften, and the beginnings of waves and structures forming out of the lines. We watched a sound from the corridor register, we watched the movement of his eyes. We began to whisper as we read that he was drifting off, and she waited until he stirred himself from his reverie before asking him to open his eyes.
In another instance, a man who has recently been physically & mentally abused and implanted with a thought transmission device inside of his ear is asked to leave his ward and have an MRI. He arrives to find two strangers insisting that he is having an EEG, and complies. He is told that one of the strangers is only there ‘to watch’. He, being a polite and personable fellow, informs the room of the implant – it was forced inside him against his will, and they now use it to transmit images and sounds into his head, and also to read his thoughts. He informs us of the doctor on his ward who is trying to convince everyone that he is crazy so as to continue the abuse. He tells us of his rape, and how he is meeting his mum for lunch today. He is cooperative as 36 electrodes are places on his head, and his brainwaves subsequently recorded. He drifts off.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how one endeavours to ‘do no harm’. I’ve come to understand that real and imagined harm are chemically identical. I’ve been wondering on what it is ‘to help’.
I just want so very badly for this man to have a nice day.