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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.