Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Let's hear it for anaesthesia

Recently I had to go into hospital for a minor procedure, and my, how about that lovely sinking feeling of impending oblivion brought to you by modern day anaesthetics? Then there is the rollercoaster ride of resurfacing, fading and resurfacing in dribs and drabs, hospital staff sounding near and far. The only negative: did I talk while I was under? What idiotic utterances did I come up with? Well, maybe it was more exciting than this blog...

What a contrast to the experience I had as a five year old when I had my tonsils out (all the rage in 1950). They used ether then and sometimes I'll get a flashback of the tiled walls and that horrid cold smell. Quite by coincidence I recently read a very accurate description of what it feels like to be anaesthetised with ether in E. L. Doctorow's novel "World's Fair": "a hideous rubbery mask was clamped over my face...", "the cold sweet suffocating poison...it was cold, it smelled like the hiss of gas in a cellar, it had echoes in it, it rang like metal footsteps...I heard my voice calling to me down long stone corridors...a roaring sound filled my head and began to pulsate..." "...now I was breathing in this terrible gas in a white tiled swimming pool or corridor whose walls moved in toward me and then outwards..." That says it all.

1 comment:

Sonia said...

Val, that's incredible!! This post remind my childhood! I am 63 and I remember exactly how I feel when I had my tonsils out, too. Yes, that horrid cold smell.
The L. Doctorow's description is perfect!
You and me have many things to share! (Sorry my English, I do my best, but it's difficult to me to express all my feelings and I made many mistakes).