Monday, November 24, 2008

The Stone, the Stent, the Stint and the Surreality

All done, the stone has been ground to a million pieces, the stent has been removed and my stint at the hospital seems to be over. I shall tell you about the surreal though. The shards of the stone have been picked by a cystoscope, and I, ladies and gentlemen have a long lists of firsts added to my life experiences.
So:
~ my first stone
~ my first surgery
~ my first stay in an Indian hospital
~ my first total loss of dignity
~ my first brush with spinal and general anaesthesia

and..what this post is about

~ my first experience of regression..

So, the General Anaesthesia I was given for surgery made me pass out a lot quicker and painlessly than its predecessor which was jabbed into the base of my spine with a long painful metal injection a few days earlier. I was told GA will make my throat sore as they would send in an oxygen pipe to make my lungs work (to keep my heart going). They also told me I would be miserably nauseous and sick when I come around. The first happened the latter did not.

So, up on the operating table, I lie down, I hear the beep of my pulse, the blip of my heart and various machines winking at me, the large light on the ceiling stared back at me, looking a lot more dramatic than it does in movies and TV. They connect me to a whole load of pipes and tubes and then I am asked to look away as they put GA through an IV injection. This time there was no oxygen mask, which I had when I got the spinal Anaesthetic for the previous op. So I soon drift off, the last thing I remember seeing or feeling was the cold injection and the sharp pain of it filling my arm. and then nothing.

Nothing.

I cant say I was awake, and I know I was not physically awake. But very gently I felt my own presence in a silent space, silence so sharp it was obvious. Hard to describe, it was like being in a silent white room, except that white was not a colour but a light, a light so blindingly white, clean, clear and silent and a room or space which had no identifiable boundaries or edges. I did not see myself, its like my brain was in this space of nothingness. Absolute silence..and then a thought.

A mere brush of a thought, followed by a pattern of silent thoughts, slithering into this space, following each other, asking questions, answering themselves..there was no me, just thoughts and white light and silence. Thoughts, not in my voice, just there. We think in our own voices and thoughts have accents too..but this was not so....here is what came into my mind..in the order I can remember it in. It was not this unclear, and there was no sound. Almost as if I could feel my thoughts and not think them. Hard to describe.

...I can think.
..how can I think..
..where is my body..
..under sedation..
The Mind is beyond sedation..
..what about the body..
disdain at the body which succumbs to chemicals
...thoughts are beyond chemical sedation..
why am i thinking..
is this hallucination..
..no..
..i am clearly thinking..
..clear thoughts..
..will i remember this..
..yes..but only for a bit..
this place is very quiet and peaceful..
..very quiet..
..very eerie..
..am i afraid..
..no i am just wondering where the thoughts are coming from
..no wondering where I am..
..why..
...have been in this space before..i know it...
..will i remember this..
..yes but only parts..
...there are people outside this white space..
..yes..
..they can see me, hear me..
why cant i hear them or see them..
..oh my eyes are still closed..
..so am in imagining this white space..
..yes..silence...whiteness..no i am here its not imaginary..
..now someone will call my name..

And there it was, the doctor said instantly 'Can you hear me? are you ok? nod..' and I did. Like my mind could read minds and actions of others before they occur.

The thinking inside my head stopped..slowly..I could not open my eyes for a long time and I could not talk, even though I wanted to, I could hear my mother, my sister whisper, I could hear the nursing staff tell me, we are moving you to your bed now. My mum asking the surgeon if I am awake? when I will come around? If the operation was successful. I could feel them around me, touching my hand, whispering. I could not respond. It was as if I was in a coma. It was weird.

The thoughts in my head faded, but that feeling I had..of being in such a clear, quiet, white place, where the silence and peace were tangibly sharp was strange. It spooked me when I recounted it to my family and friends later and even now as I write I have goose bumps.

It is hard to describe.

2 comments:

mar00ned said...

Well if must have been the first time when your brain was working and the body wasnt ... its the other way round at all other times.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

thats seriously surreal. out of body experience?