Thursday, June 16, 2011

Having Faith...But With a Backup Plan

I had surgery today. A D&C and an endometrial ablation. To help with women stuff…basically to lighten or eliminate my periods.

When I discussed the procedure with my ob/gyn, she told me that I’d be knocked out – put under general anesthesia. I said I didn’t want that. I was under general anesthesia years ago for a laparoscopy and I hated how long it took to come out of it and then the hours and hours of nausea that followed it. I knew I could do this procedure with only local anesthesia. I didn’t know how I knew it, but I knew it.

In the past few weeks, there were many phone calls back and forth between us. She consulted with the anesthesiologist who would be at my surgery. No one has ever had the procedure done with just a local, she said, including herself.

I kept saying I was different. I don’t do Novocaine at the dentist. I have a high pain tolerance level. Won’t they just let me try? It was finally decided that they’d let me try the procedure my way if I agreed to sign papers that said if they thought I looked like I was in too much pain and would compromise the surgery that they could put me out. I agreed to that.

So, I changed and got wheeled into the surgical room. I had my headphones on with Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach. I did end up listening to it quietly with only one ear covered so that I could still hear the doctors talking to me and so I could also give them feedback.

The weirdest part of the surgery was being strapped up in stirrups with four people around me. They said they thought nothing of that. Okay. I got a shot of lidocaine and then the four shots for the local block in my uterus. I felt a slight pressure poke. She did end up giving me a fifth shot in my upper left side because I felt a little bit more when she went in to test my tolerance. My doctor thought it was interesting how I described things. Some things felt “wiggly.” The D & C part was “tickly.” I thought the coolest part was when they put a camera inside me and I got to see the inside of my uterus including where my fallopian tubes opened up into it. I wouldn’t have been able to experience that if I wasn’t awake.

Next came the balloon that got attached inside me and filled up with boiling water. That circulated inside me for ten minutes. Didn’t really feel it until they drained the water back out. That was a bit warm then.

And, then, that was it. My doctor took credit for her awesome block. The anesthesiologist told me that I was just “wired differently” than most other people. He didn’t think most people could do what I just did. I felt like some super hero. I don’t know how I did what I did. I just knew that I could do what I did.

I think by doing the surgery with just a local that it opened their eyes, too, to what the human body is capable of. I thanked the doctors for having faith in me. For letting me try it my way. They had faith in me and I had faith in me…even though we had a backup plan. Just in case. Not a bad way to go about anything in life.


  1. Very is often the case that, given the option, most people don't want to be aware of what is going on during a medical procedure...particularly one where people are messing around in your vagina! You are a brave soul who knows what is best for you and you trust yourself - which is totally awesome!!

  2. I think the most important part of your story is how you thought for yourself, advocated for your rights as the patient. I'll bet the medical professionals involved aren't used to hearing that. Are you wired differently? Perhaps. But wired to think for yourself.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  3. Wow Barbara, I'm proud of you for following through with what you believed inspiration! Thanks for sharing your experience.


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