Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 26 February 2009

All part of the healing process

General anaesthetic? They stick a plumber’s friend over your mouth and pump in isoflurane. But not quite. Don’t forget the muscle relaxant.

The prep didn’t work and I lay awake and febrile on a trolley close to where they keep the sharp things. Desperate, I read The Daily Telegraph proving that the balance of my mind was disturbed. A scruffy quasi-medical figure declared himself baffled by my alertness.

I awoke from the procedure to hear the surgeon complaining it had all taken far too long. But I was concentrating on breathing. It’s a simple activity, I’d been doing it all my life. Except now it wasn’t so simple. My chest muscles were inoperative and my lungs seemed to be elsewhere, perhaps in a waste bin. I was the star in a film about dying from shortness of breath. And I knew what a 35 lb carp feels after being whipped from the river and held for minutes by a grinning angler posing for the camera.

Later the surgeon visited me in the ward. Was I OK? Yes, but the non-breathing had been scary. Ah but that’s all over. Alas, no. I now chose to pass on the bad news that I’d been commissioned by World Medicine to write an article about my experiences. Hmmm.

Ten minutes later I was visited by the scruffy quasi-medical figure who smelt overpoweringly of cigarettes. The anaesthetist. Just the after-effects of the muscle relaxant, he said. But I wouldn’t be writing about that, would I? I reassured him I wouldn’t. But I lied.


marja-leena said...

Surgery and waking from it is scary enough without feeling like you may be dying! Did you really publish something? Or do you mean this blog post?

Sir Hugh said...

Your mind must have been working overtime worrying whether science would Work Well on this occasion.

I believe a Freudian lack of confidence in science is demonstrated here.

Perhaps anaesthesia is more an art than a science?

Barrett Bonden said...

M-L: The article appeared in World Medicine and I was paid for it. After its publication (accompanied by an enormous cartoon showing the medical profession in a less than favourable light) I had a check-up appointment with the surgeon. The atmosphere was guarded.

Sir Hugh: Any subsequent lack of confidence in science can be attributed to events in the physical rather than the ratiocinative world. Anaesthesia may exist in the hinterland you suggest; however some anaesthetists, practising neither art nor science, are clearly graduates from the Cock-up School of Medicine.

Lucy said...

Not mentioning the article until afterwards showed chutzpah.

Is a plumber's friend a sink plunger?

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: Chutzpah and curiosity are my only true skills. And yes, a plumber's friend is a sink plunger