3. Brain Surgery (Part II)

Apart from giving birth to my son some 18 months ago and breaking my wrist snowboarding during a High School day trip to Sunne in Värmland, I have never been to hospital. Hence, I had kindly asked to be drafted pre-op by my anaesthetist  to get an idea of what to expect. Again, I didn’t have a list of questions (I’m sure there is a great list of smart questions on anaesthesiology to dig up on the Internet). However, I instantly liked him and felt I was in good hands. I did suggest that if he (or anyone else for that matter) were going to stick me with needles, I would prefer having it carried out after being put to sleep. Speaking of needles, he did inform me that I would wake up after surgery with an “artärnål” (a cannula placed into an arterial blood vessel of my hand) in order to constantly monitor my blood pressure beat-by-beat. Sounded lovely I thought (not). Then again, monitoring “beat-by-beat” by squashing my arm with an inflated cuff (pictured) didn’t feel like an option.

Auscultatory method aneroid sphygmomanometer with stethoscope

We met again after I had been rolled into the operating theatre the following day. I must have greeted some seven green robed people in the room including a medical intern who kindly asked if it was OK for him to join in. Sure, I said, why not? If my brain surgery could help him learn the trade, I wasn’t going to protest.

My surgeon was nowhere to be seen. The anaesthetic nurse was incredibly sweet and talkative, which helped put my mind at ease. I managed to figure out that she had been a colleague with one of my parents’ closest friend, who is currently going through a more trying time than I am. It helped me put things into perspective. Furthermore, my anaesthetist, who I had conversed with the day before, now felt more like a dear friend. I believe I was injected with morphine whilst given oxygen through a mask. There was no need to count backwards. I started to cough, feel a bit uneasy and then… darkness.

February 26th, 2007.


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