Dream 3- Bagpuss
Date: July, 2009
I am waiting with Angela in the Eye Hospital. I’m in the main part of the hospital but I am (kind of) aware that I have to go (or be) somewhere else. I tell a nurse that I can’t see properly, that my vision isn’t right. She says that I have to see someone in the other building. I am anxious about getting there and getting lost.
I am in the other building, walking towards some carpeted steps. Someone (a man?) is helping me from behind. He is grey-haired. I think that he is East European, maybe he is a Pole? Also he is the ophthalmologist.
I am sitting at a desk. The ophthalmologist is testing my eyes. He holds out a saggy, stripy, old, soft cat. It is shaped like Bagpuss. But, at first, I can’t see that it is Bagpuss. I have to identify some black signs (like the letters on the eye chart but they may not be letters) that are under Bagpuss’s skin. I can’t see them properly. So the ophthalmologist pushes the cat closer and shows me Bagpuss. I know that I have failed the eye test. I feel very anxious.
Memories and concerns with associations to “Bagpuss”.
Remote memory 1
About two weeks prior to this dream I went to the Eye Hospital to have a test for glaucoma. I was anxious about this. Glaucoma results in loss of peripheral vision, and leads to blindness if not treated. It is common in the elderly. People like me, who are very short-sighted, are more susceptible to glaucoma. I usually get my eyes tested at the local optometrist. This was the first time I had been back to the Eye Hospital since I was a child. I went to the building I used to visit but, on approaching the steps, realized that this old building (although still having the sign ‘Eye Hospital’) was actually closed down. The new Eye Hospital was around the corner but I was uncertain exactly where.
The steps I approach in Scene 2 could reflect the ones at the entrance to the old Eye Hospital but these weren’t carpeted because they were outside.
Remote memory 2
I worked with Angela in the Main Hospital, which adjoins the old Eye Hospital, when we were both in our early twenties.
Very remote memory 3
As a child visiting the Eye Hospital I did enter and wait. Then I saw a nurse who told you where to go next.
Recent memory 1
An few evenings prior to the Bagpuss dream I went out to dinner with my partner, Hugo and his brother, Anthony. Anthony was talking about walking in the countryside with his ‘pole’. I felt confused by this because I had never heard of a walking stick called a ‘pole’. This is not a day-residue but may be the recent memory which triggers the dream.
Remote memory 4
The positioning of the grey-haired man and me in Scene 2 is similar to the sign used in the UK to indicate that elderly people may be crossing the road (an old woman holding on to a bent old man with a walking stick who is immediately in front of her). But, in Scene 2 this positioning is reversed as the man is behind me.
One of my previous colleagues, who specialized in geriatrics, very much disliked this sign. She said it looked as if the old woman was a pickpocket- as though the woman was taking money from the man. In Scene 2, no-one is holding a walking stick/pole. Instead, the East European (Pole) ophthalmologist may be an association to a current political issue in the UK where many British nationals assert that Poles are taking ‘their’ jobs and, therefore “their” money.
Remote memory 5
Bagpuss is a 1970s children’s television character- an old, stripy, saggy cloth cat. Bagpuss is always shown in scenes that fade out into hazy, blankness (see, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpwhohWhrEE). Glaucoma involves a loss of peripheral vision. Therefore, in the sense of loss of peripheral vision, the Bagpuss with his hazy blankness around the edges is associated with glaucoma. Bagpuss is old but is a children’s TV programme.
Remote and on-going concern 1
As a child, I loathed reading the Eye Chart because I feared my increasing inability to read its fuzzy letters indicated that I would go blind. I always hated Bagpuss without knowing the reason why.
What does “Bagpuss” mean? What does it reveal about me?
Clearly, Bagpuss shows I’m afraid of going blind. I was scared as a child and am again now because I’m going for a test for glaucoma. But I’m aware of this fear during my waking life so this doesn’t come as any surprise to me. I have never thought about associating glaucoma with Bagpuss while awake- this is a non-obvious association. Gradual loss of peripheral vision is a difficult thing to visualise. Bagpuss- a concrete toy cat who is always shown in scenes which fade out into nothingness- seems to be a metaphor for glaucoma (see Decoding dreams for more explanation about metaphors). Although in the dream description above, I name the saggy, old cloth cat as Bagpuss I didn’t name the cat while dreaming. It wasn’t until I woke up and wrote down the dream that I named the cat as Bagpuss. Then remembered about the image loss around the edges of the Bagpuss scenes and confirmed this by looking on youtube. If I was asked in my waking life if I was afraid of getting old, saggy and fat I would deny it but the Bagpuss dream reveals that I am. Another aspect of the dream is that I need support. I need assistance from the nurse, a helping hand as I approach the steps and the dream incorporates a walking stick or pole, this is associated with blindness because blind people use a white walking stick. Again, while awake, I would deny a fear of needing help but the Bagpuss dream reveals it, particularly the fear of needing support because of blindness .