20 February 2012

Preparing for a Second Date

My surgeon and I had a date last Friday. He’s got a glamorous South American name, but because my sister Sue can't remember it, he is known amongst us as Dr. Escargot.

Because of an upcoming procedure (which is very small) I’ve been practising some relaxation techniques. I don’t actually enjoy surgery, and this was evident to everyone involved in the first operation.  I was anxious going to sleep, anxious waking up, and didn’t calm down until the Percocet kicked in, a few hours later.

Preparing for Surgery
But this time is going to be different. Recently I’ve discovered Guided Meditation, and it’s going to help me stay calm through surgery. They promised! According to the CD, it will make me feel relaxed, happy, and confident about my surgical team. We will all work together to make it a stressless situation.

There are a few steps to total relaxation. (Previously my preferred method of relaxation was a one-step wonder known as Atavin). According to my CD, you picture yourself in a nice place, as well as a few other scenarios, eventually picturing yourself in your hospital bed saying, ‘Oh, I’m so comfortable’. In between are a couple of other awkward steps, one of which is meeting with the anaesthetist.

The meditation lady suggests calling him/her and requesting that they say positive things during the surgery about how the success of the operation. She believes these positive affirmations from the medical team will make me feel that we are all participating in the same adventure. I like this idea, if only because it’s a better option than having your surgeons make fun of you while you slumber.

As I was sitting with Escargot, my CD fell out of my bag and onto the floor. He picked it up and examined it closely. I told him that I was going to be the most relaxed patient he’d ever seen.  He looked slightly skeptical, but I told him about my wake-up goal, and thinking, ‘I’m so fu*king comfortable’.  I explained how this is psychologically superior to thinking, ‘I’m so glad it’s over’, since that suggests that surgery is not your friend. And, I am endeavouring to be pals with my surgery.

Dr. Escargot leaned back in his chair and looked at the ceiling. ‘I like that,’ he said in his soft Colombian accent, sounding slightly like Marlon Brando playing a drug lord. ‘Surgery as a friend. That’s good. I’ve never thought about that.’

Never?! In forty years of medicine he never thought of surgery as being slightly disagreeable to the patient ?!   Escargot's scientific brain, or his ego, has been guiding him for far too long. Meanwhile I'm being guided my a soothing stranger on a CD. 

And thank God for that. Our next date is in two weeks.