I am sitting at my desk in the hospital at work with blue medical gloves on. I have a purple woollen furry blanket from home on my lap. I am peeling quails’ eggs which are to be used to treat Covid patients. The phone rings and I am being asked lots of questions about the eggs as they are needed for patients. More eggs are being heated in a white medical bath, but they are soft and egg yolk spills when I try to crack them open. I push my red glasses up with my wrists. The phone starts ringing again but I can’t answer it as I am covered in yolk and bits of shell.
I leave a room by revolving so as to get past a strap on the doorway. I go down a corridor to see my wife. She is in the next room and has a present for me on the table, a box about 30x60cm, and about 5cm thick with a clear plastic top. It has various novelties and small activities in it. In the middle is a table tennis set with green bats. On one side in the box there is an old black mobile phone, with a few other small components, and the words Funeral Preparation Kit. The kit is partly a joke rather than being serious.
[On the day before the dream the dreamer had heard of an acquaintance who had died in hospital, possibly with Covid-19.]
National Health Service nurse Libby Nolan, who is currently under quarantine with the virus and having breathing problems, shared online a nightmare she has been having. Her nightmare, had twice during her confinement, repeated but changed a nightmare she has had before. In this, she was looking through the open door of a house and could see strange trees with strange leaves and knew it was very dangerous outside and the danger would soon come into the house. She couldn't close the door as it was so large. Inside, she goes upstairs and to a large hall. A party was happening and everyone ignored her warnings and didn't look at her. She then saw a man with red trousers who is a composite of all past loves for her, he looked at her and knew what she was warning about, but with a smile looked at her to say without words that all was actually fine and that she should not worry. She went into a side room, which is a hospital room with a dead man on the bed and an old ventilator. Her deceased mother is there with a cat on her lap. The cat jumps onto Libby and onto her mouth and stops her breathing. Libby then woke up.
We are grateful to Libby for her dream, for sharing and discussing it, and for the work she has been doing and will return to for the health service. We thank also everyone worldwide who took part in the event, on Facebook Live.
The painting is made onto two pages taken from Freud's book The Interpretation of Dreams. Online here the viewer can enlarge the painting when looking at it, so as to see details made during the two hours that the discussion and painting took place. For example, the stairs, the trees, the man at the party with his glass of red wine. The pages were chosen by Julia when she was first hearing the dream, on the basis of the shapes of the paragraphs found in Freud's book, but during the painting process she incorporates words that happen to be on the page. Some of these do have coincidental but eerie references to Libby's dream. Such as, in the trees, in reference to Libby only being acknowledged in the dream by the one man, red-trousered, who is based on her current and former loves: 'My beloved is mine, turn again to me my beloved..', and reference to her quarantine, 'sweet dove, already you are enclosed in my cavern', and on the left page (i.e, bottom half of painting) there are many medical references.
Dr Julia Lockheart