Want to know a surreal experience? How about going under?
I am talking about going under gas, as in surgery. I think it’s surreal because if you’ve ever experienced it, it’s almost like a first-person account of death in novels, except this is temporary.
I went under twice in 2013. The first was in May that year when I finally committed to get rid of the calcification in my left leg. My doctor/surgeon originally didn’t want to put me under. He was originally just going to inject me with anesthesia and be done with it. Unfortunately, I have tiny veins and the anesthesiologist wasn’t skilled to find one that will work. I guess it’s their fault to tell me to go on an empty stomach.
Anyway, they wheeled me through the narrow corridors into the operating room. Then it felt just like in TV shows and movies when they put a mask over my nose and mouth, told me to take a few breaths and said, “You should be out in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” I was still awake after he said one. Then just as I lose my last shred of consciousness, I could almost hear him say, “Now close your eyes and drift off.”
Anyway, this isn’t the surreal experience I want to tell you.
I want to tell you about the second time I went under in September. It was the day of my oral surgery. It was a procedure I paid for all on my own and frankly, it was a huge waste of money because it didn’t work. That morning, as usual, my mom was cranky because first she had to miss an hour of work and secondly, when we got to the office, we had to pay an extra $250 for the anesthesiologist, all because the oral surgeon was afraid to work with my small veins.
Anyway, she left right after writing a big check, much more angry than before, and I was left waiting alone with nothing to do in the waiting room. They told me the anesthesiologist was running late and wouldn’t be there for another 20 or 30 minutes. Well, that’s not good.
Finally, about thirty-minutes later, the anesthesiologist finally came out and called me in. I was expecting an OR like the last time I had surgery but this room was bright and was lined with windows. There was even music playing.
He showed me the gas mask as I sat down. “I need you to take a few deep breaths into this mask for me, okay?” The anesthesiologist instructed. I nodded and he placed the mask over me.
I was nervous and anxious. So I focused on the music to calm me as I breathed in the gas and before I knew it, the music became slower and slower and then it stopped.
I don’t mean it stopped playing. I mean it sounded like a CD or a vinyl playing on a turntable and it’s caught at a place and the same note just plays over and over and over. If you watch I Love Lucy, the episode where the apartment was dressed like Cuba and Lucy was serenading Ricky with Spanish music, you’ll know what I mean.
The other strange thing is I don’t think I even closed my eyes because all I could see was that florescent light above me and I couldn’t blink. Maybe in reality, my eyes had been closed but in my reality, they had been unblinkingly open like someone had kept their eyes open during their last moments.
A while later, when I finally came to, I found myself on a wooden table in a tiny room. It was odd and uncomfortable and it made me wonder. Is this where they let the patients sleep until the gas wear off? Do they not have a bed or anything?
At the same time, I really want to sleep. Unfortunately, I think someone knew I was awake and sent my mom to come and get me. She helped me off the table, apparently, it was a table because she was complaining about a few hours later when my mind was once again crystal clear. Then with her aid, I stumbled across the parking lot to the car like a drunk and before she even leaves the parking lot, I was asleep again.
So how’s that for a surreal experience?