It isn't just the title of an awesome song by the artist formerly known as Prince. Or whatever he is these days. No, I'm not fact checking. I care not about him (so what if I had every Teen Beat picture of him plastered to my pink bedroom walls in junior high. That was then. This is now.) 1999 is the year of my first ever surgery. The first time I had ever been placed under a general anesthetic. I was petrified, only I didn't realize just how petrified I truly was.
Why Elsie? Why would a bad ass, who had dabbled (way to much for her own good to the point of addiction *ahem*) in illegal drugs, be scared in a controlled environment when the drugs were being administered by a professional? A person who has gone to school for 55 years to stick that needle in your arm...or back...or pop that mask over your face. You get my point. (Obviously, I've never attended medical school, nor was I paying attention while being knocked out.)
Thanks to a 20/20 episode I watched a few nights before the surgery I was concerned I would be awake while under anesthesia. The show recounted several instances of people remaining alert but being paralyzed, feeling everything. Hello scary! I like to think of myself as a rational person. I knew that statistically these cases were few and far between and it made for good television. However, the seed of fear must have been planted.
I remember being wheeled into the operating room and speaking with my doctor then the anesthesiologist. I recall telling him about the 20/20 show and he assured me everything was going to me fine. I vaguely recall counting backwards and then nothing again until being back in my room several hours later feeling like I'd been hit by a mack truck. Cool! Surgery over, homeward bound tomorrow!
A man walked in who looked vaguely familiar. "I'm Dr. Anesthesiologist, do you remember me?" Vague images flickered through my foggy memory bank.
"Yes, I think so. Yes, I do!" I exclaimed, then coughed. I found out later about the tube down my throat.
He asked if he could sit on my bed and talk for a minute. I got a bit nervous and nodded in agreement. He explained that he'd been practicing medicine for many years and this was the first time he had come to personally follow up on a patient. Normally he followed up with the patient's doctor to make sure the patient was doing well. He asked if I remembered any part of my conversation with him earlier in the day so I shared what I could recall.
He went on to explain that he had been quite concerned because although I had counted down at which point most patients simply "go under" I continued to question him about whether or not I'd be able to feel anything during the operation. He said that I continued to talk about the 20/20 episode despite the meds he had given me...I kept on talking and talking and talking and to put it kindly, I was being rather, um paranoid, so, they decided to ramp up the dose on my "shut her up" meds.
I think it was very cool that this doctor came by to follow up on me. I wonder if he ever thinks about "that really paranoid chick" and laughs like I do.