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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

From "Breaking Out" by Bob Brink

The protagonist is in a sanitarium in the mid 1950s and due to receive another shock treatment the next morning...

For the first time in the ten days he'd been at Woodside, he couldn't get to sleep. He imagined what he looked like during the ECTs as the electricity made him shake uncontrollably and bite hard on the piece of wood. He was frightened. Gloria had been doing something with the oxygen tank when he woke up the last time. Did they have to use it on him? And what if they had to and it didn't work? Could a person get epilepsy from the treatments? Was this good for his brains? Didn't people who got hit by lightning sometimes have brain damage? Yes, but lightning was a lot more powerful than these ECTs. Still, why wouldn't they at least cause a little damage? And it would add up with each one. What if something went wrong with the machine and too much electricity went into his brain and it killed him? Holy Moses! Yeah, what if something went wrong? Or what if all that convulsing caused him to have a heart attack? Had it ever happened? Had anybody ever been killed?

Britt was becoming panicky. He had to know the answers to these questions. He got up and switched on the light.

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