Sunday, June 09, 2013

Dream A Little Nightmare

Don't ask me what goes on when a patient actually goes under. Certainly on the top ten list of FAQs for your friendly neighbourhood anaesthetist. Honestly though, we might be able to explain the biological mechanics of it all along with the underlying scientific theories but what actually goes on in a patient's brain when he slips under the euphoric miasma of anaesthetic gases is beyond what we'll ever know.

At least not without employing a specialized highly-trained team of mutant psychics.

Or till some future super-genius figures out a way.

Till then we can only guess what goes on when a patient finally shuts his eyes after counting to ten. As far as I know, excessive emotions usually spill into the dreams or nightmares that follow, all courtesy of the Sandman. So far two patients have actually stood out in my career as the most bizarre cases ever - and one happened this very morning.

Colleague : WTF just happened?
Paul : I was going to ask you the same thing. Mysteries of medicine?
Colleague : Yeah, mysteries of medicine.

  1. Years back when I first started in the department, we had a sweet young lady placed under general anaesthesia for a simple routine procedure. Everything went according to protocol as usual without nothing amiss - at least till the end.

    Once the gases were turned off, as she began her slow return to reality, we all heard a soft moan. Could have been an agonized cry but as the rhythmic moans grew in shocking intensity and volume - along with staccato gasps, it started becoming almost impossible to mistake as anything but a pre-orgasmic sexual symphony.

    And that was all before she started to smile. Still terribly naive - and unfamiliar with such a startling development, I could have sworn my face must have turned three different shades of crimson. Of course once the deliriously ecstatic patient actually woke up - with tell-tale beads of sweat crowning her flushed forehead, none of us even dared ask her what she'd dreamt of.

    Yes, our drugs can occasionally tease out the more amorous desires of a person.

  2. Not to mention it can sometimes play the role of an uncertain veritas serum.

    Which is what happened today when we encountered an even more shocking incident. Slim young fellow, quite charming actually, came in for something utterly untoward as well but the moment we called him back from the drowsy mists of anaesthesia, his eyes flew open wide and he literally screamed bloody murder. 'I killed him. I stabbed him with a sword. I did that!'

    Not exactly a run-of-the-mill confession.

    Needless to say, the nurses and I were a tad bit freaked by the unexpected incident. Hard to tell whether his fearful nightmares have actually merged with hard reality, especially since the fellow can't actually recall what he was dreaming about after, even on repeated questioning.  
Seriously though, working in medicine can be utterly unpredictable, you just never know what's going to come around the next corner.

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