MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
scream and rave, then another followed suit, then another, and pandemonium seemed at hand. I t was stopped by rather rough measures, gentle ones making matters worse. .,There was a current story of one of the surgeons having effectually stopped a most threatening outbreak, which the nurses began to join, in which an abundance of cold water was only part of the remedy employed.
Many protean forms of that strange disorder, hysteria, were frequently pointed out to me. The demoralisation that accompanied it was shown by the gross and palpable lies told by the patients in their desire at any cost to attract attention. A paroxysm of it may resemble a severe epileptic fit. I was informed in all seriousness by a friend, of a v aluuai:,le way cA distirnguuishing them, imports tit fill - nurses to bear in mind, that in epilepsy the patient might and often did bite himself, his tongue for example, but in hysteria the patients never bit themselves but always other people.
Delirium tremens was a strange malady. The struggles were sometimes terrible, yet the pulse was feeble and the reserve of strength almost nil. The visions of the patients seemed indistinguishable by them from realities ; in the few cases I saw, they were wholly of fish or of creeping things. One of the men implored me to take away the creature that was crawling over his counterpane, following its imagined movements with his finger and staring as at a ghost. Poor humanity! I often feel that the tableland of sanity upon which most of us dwell, is small in area, with unfenced precipices on every side, over any one of which we may fall.