Why do we worry so much about surgical pain when we really won’t remember it anyway?
I have come to believe that pain has amnesia—I mean it’s not that pain is totally forgotten….it’s just that when I look back at serious surgeries and injuries; I really have to dig deep to think about the pain component and how much it REALLY hurt. Honestly it was not that big a deal.
The doctors and nurses keep you in an almost catatonic state with hoses and needles, and pain buttons that magically give you pain medicine when you push a little electrical switch. This is much different than the dreaded idea you have when you first start thinking of getting surgery and ponder “I wonder what kind of bullet I have to bite on?”
Seriously, before your surgery, you are going to want to get intimately accustomed to your anesthesiologist. He is usually the guy with about ten syringes sticking out of his pockets and a big smile on his face. Anesthesiologists generally have a strange sense of humor- they sound more like Tom Cruise in the movie “Cocktail” than Dr. Dreamy on St. Elsewhere. They say stuff like “Oh lets put together a cocktail that make you feel better. Then they put about 20 needles into your iv until ---- NIRVANA! ---everything seems to slow down…and every one is so nice. Pretty soon he says something like- “OK just start counting backwards from 100…99…98” Then in what seems like a nanosecond the orthopedic surgeon is saying, “Everything went very well. We had to do a little more… blah…blah…blah.” And you are like “wait a minute- when are you doing the surgery? What do you mean you already did the surgery? Are you sure?” Then they ask if you need more warm blankets. They must have a warm blanket class in nursing school. It seems like they are always asking if you want more.
To be honest- the warm blankets do feel really nice. But one thing they don’t tell you about is the whole nausea thing. The more anesthesia you take the worse the nausea is afterwards so go easy on the anesthesia.