Self-Hypnosis for Injury, Surgery and Dentistry Part 3. The Dentist!

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View from the far side of the recliner

The last of my self-hypnosis tales for injury, surgery and dentistry. I have been blessed with really strong teeth. I have had very few cavities in my life even though (please don’t tell the dental hygienist) I only floss during eclipses (both lunar and solar, I don’t discriminate). In the last couple of years the local dentists have decided to see what is inside some of my teeth. I’d don’t really remember the first drilling experience too well. I know I did some visualization of peaceful places but I think that was it. The second and last drilling expedition involved the discovery by the new dentist that the filling from the first dentist wasn’t done right and would have to be drilled out and replaced and of course there was a new small cavity or two that needed excavation and filling. He had a new type of machine that drilled with a laser and used a constant flow of water. I went into hypnotherapist mode using visualization of my two go to places, the beach and a spring in the mountains. Additionally I gave myself the suggestion that the sound of the drill and the feeling of the water helped me go even deeper into relaxation. Everything went fine except for the longest time my tongue kept exploring the new topography of my teeth. Perhaps I’ll include a suggestion to floss. Probably not.

Next time it will probably be Blissborn the new (for me) hypnosis assisted childbirth technique. I might change things up though and go off in the non-hypnotherapy direction of experiencing seizures. That would be the ones in my head. It will be something about babies, brains or something beginning with a “B”.

Feel free to contact me with any comments and of course if you know someone who might be interested in these posts please send them on.
Thanks,
Don Berlyn

Self-Hypnosis for Injury, Surgery and Dentistry Part 2 The Hip!

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View from the far side of the recliner

One of my coolest experiences with self-hypnosis is when I had my hip replaced. There is a long story about how the hip came to deteriorate so badly. I’ll save that for another time. Basically there had been a traumatic injury to the leg on that side more than twenty-five years earlier.
The day came for the surgery and the plan was that I was going to have a spinal so I would be numb from the waist down and use hypnosis for everything above the waist. Typically a sedative called versed is used to keep the patient calm, still and sleepy during a medical procedure where a general anesthetic is not used.
As a physical therapist I was very aware of what happens during a hip replacement, having observed a couple and worked with very many patients after their surgery. If you are curious you might be able to find a video on the internet. Basically orthopedic surgery is carpentry with blood. There are saws, reamers, drills, chisels, mallets, screws and metal plates. Hip replacement adds the field of mechanics because there are two pieces that are made of some combination of metal, ceramics, and/or plastic that are driven into the bones to make the new joint.
During the surgery I was able to talk to the anesthetist, later the nurse anesthetist, hear everything that was going on, feel my body being dragged down as my leg was tractioned and the pounding when the socket part was hammered into my pelvis. I could also feel the surgeon pushing into my side to get leverage and a weird kind of patting on my abdomen which turned out to be the instruments that were being laid on and taken off my belly. It seems that during surgery the patient is often “out” and the patient’s face is behind the surgical drape, the patient gets used as kind of a table. The drape over the patient is sterile so there’s no problem, it just felt strange.
Mentally I was able to check out and go to the beach or mountains whenever I wanted. I felt calm and relaxed throughout the procedure except towards the end when it felt kind of hard to breath. During surgery there are straps across the patient stabilizing them on the table as well as straps around the forearms to keep the arms stationary for the IVs. After I had been pulled toward the foot of the table, the straps had moved up on my chest making it somewhat difficult to breath. This seemed to get worse later in the surgery. Other than that everything was great.
Because I was never “out” I never had to regain full awareness without grogginess, nausea, discomfort or dizziness. I felt good. Later there was some discomfort but never intense pain.
There was a really interesting phenomena. When I sat up on the table with my legs straight to get the spinal anesthetic I noted that my toes were pointing toward the ceiling. The anesthetic worked very quickly. As I lay on the table, from time to time I checked in on where my feet were. My brain always told me that my feet were together pointing at the ceiling even though I knew that most of the time my left leg was completely off and below the level of the table with my leg turned as far as it would go. Strange, the tricks that your mind can play on you!
By the way, if you or someone you know is thinking about getting a hip replacement make sure to ask about the options with pros and cons. This probably applies to most procedures.
Next time I’ll finish up with personal experiences with self-hypnosis for dental procedures. After that it’ll be Blissborn the new (for me) hypnosis assisted childbirth technique.

Feel free to contact me with any comments and of course if you know someone who might be interested in these posts please send them on.
Thanks,
Don Berlyn

Self-Hypnosis for Injury, Surgery and Dentistry Part 1

For more information about the below post, click here.
View from the far side of the recliner

I went into hypnotherapy to work with people in pain. Less than a year later there was an opportunity to use self-hypnosis to deal with a sudden injury in a challenging situation. I was on an annual weeklong retreat. One of the days was twenty four hours in silence, alone as much practical. Most of us spent the day in nature. There is a beautiful canyon in the desert with a stream flowing through it. I drove a woman from Switzerland to the canyon in the morning. We had agreed the previous day to meet in the canyon later in the day for the drive back to town.
After we went our separate ways, I crossed the stream to get to a spot up higher in the rocks. While bracing myself between two vertical rocks to get over an opening my wet shoe slipped causing me to fall forward with my right arm stuck against the rock. I felt my shoulder dislocate and then reduce (go back into place). I was able to quickly determine that one muscle was completely torn off the bone but that there was no nerve or circulatory damage. So it was not an emergency situation and I couldn’t just take off and leave my friend from Switzerland alone in the canyon without a ride. I had planned to meditate anyway. I propped my forearm on my pack and using some combination of meditation and self-hypnosis I was able to stay in place for several hours. Meeting my friend, walking out of the canyon and driving back to town was a bit more uncomfortable. Moving the arm didn’t help and having to be focused on where I was walking and driving did not allow me tune out.
It was at least six weeks until the shoulder got repaired. I listened to a pre and post-surgery hypnosis CD. During the outpatient surgery it was not possible to wear any type earphones, I ended up with a nerve block and general anesthesia. Coming out of surgery I felt pretty bad. It was difficult to focus, between the pain meds, the ice water machine and interrupted sleep. After a few days it became easier to use hypnosis.
This was a good learning experience. I was able to use hypnosis to relax, block pain and stay calm after being injured. It helped of course that I had the knowledge and experience to be able to determine that the situation was not an emergency. After the surgery I don’t know if being under general anesthesia then pain meds kept me from being able to focus enough to use hypnosis. I’m not sure that using hypnosis (at least at my skill level at the time) without any pain meds would have been sufficient to control the pain.
My experience with a hip replacement a couple of years later was totally different. I’ll blog about that next time.

Feel free to contact me with any comments and of course if you know someone who might be interested in these posts please send them on.
Thanks,
Don Berlyn