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Codeine Diary by Tom Andrews

Codeine Diary by Tom Andrews

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Tom Andrews was a mathematician, a teacher poet a motorcycle racer and hemophiliac. His life was full of traumas even though he achieved great triumphs. He slips and breaks his ankle on an icy Ann Arbor Street. According to him, this wasn’t an ordinary fracture. His fall is extraordinary because it begins a “bleeding” that is the pooling of blood beneath the skin that can cripple a hemophiliac. While at the hospital and in great pain, Andrew is doped on codeine a drug that send him spiraling into reveries about his disease and the way he would overcome it with ostensibly self-destruction pursuit of his adolescence. Andrews’s family had been overshadowed by disease that killed his brother. His brother died of a terminal kidney disorder a situation that affected Andrew more than even his problems.

Andrew worked his best to get the attention of his parents as a son who will be unfailing and healthy. At the age of eleven, Andrew got into the world Guinness book of records for clapping for fourteen hours and thirty-one minutes. All his narratives contain a problem with memory. Andrew is tormented by the memories of his brother who died due to kidney complications when he begins hemophilic bleeding. It becomes very difficult for him to separate his memories from his current situation a circumstance that brings crisis to his life. A retrospective look at Andrews’s choice of words in his work reveals his story of pain and relief. He uses the word “codeine” to identify his experience in reference to his analgesic.

From a hemophilic perspective, Andrew argues the story of hemophilia a story about pain, how to tolerate it, how to outguess the pain, how to disrupt one’s attention from pain and how to accept one’s painful situation. Andrew’s hemophilia is intertwined with the memories of his brother who died from kidney disease. Coincidently, Andrew and his brother suffer from unrelated blood-related illnesses. Their situation puts Andrew in great physical and psychological pain and torture. Andrews’s brother had suffered kidney disease since he was young until he was an adolescent. For all that time, he was using a home dialysis machine that helped the filtration of his blood system.

When Andrew first injures his leg, he recalls his brother John in hospital emergency waiting room without pain medication. This is an indication of how the blood related diseases connected the brothers and how it shaped the family dynamic at home “The brotherhood of pain and illness to unite us a bond thought as undying as actual brotherhood.” During his hospitalization, Andrew writes a poem and diary entries. These documents cover the period between the time he hurts his leg and his hospitalization. During all this time, he is flooded with his brother’s thoughts and quotations from various authors. While at the waiting room in the hospital, he experiences creative assault on his creativity that desperately seeks to release. He tries to tell this to his wife, but she requests him to write them down. A critical analysis of work reveals that it is this painful situations that triggered creativity energy that caused Andrew to write. On receiving his first dose of codeine, he starts writing with his writing reflecting on the treatment he receives through the hospital. His work is can be classified among the best trauma writers.


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References

In Bartlett, J., In Black, S., & In Northen, M. (2011). Beauty is a verb: The new poetry of disability.


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