Imagination During Surgery

Today I had a root canal. Oh the joy. I am looking forward to the relief that it will bring in about a week. One thing I have learned and was reminded about today was the importance of not freaking out when you are about to go under or be worked on in any way. There is a key to all of this and for me it involves not looking at the surgeons/dentists/assistants in all the sterile white with their masks on and the big shining light in your face as my last image. So, just as my chair is being lowered, I close my eyes and go in myself to a happy space and let the rest go. If I forget to do this, then the last image I see that stays with me the entire time is of being worked on and it feels so weird and surreal that if I do my own countdown and space out it works much better. This way I don’t have that image in my head and I can easily create a new one.

When going into my own person zen internal cave, I take some deep breaths. With a root canal they are working so directly in my face that it’s hard and the numbness was impacting one of my nostrils, so it made it a bit awkward. I do also usually try to scan into my body, but I wasn not feeling that either, could have been due to the drilling and the vibration it was sending through me. Instead of focusing on the awkward way of trying to swallow with my mouth propped open wide and saliva gathering in a pool at the back of my throat and trying to time when the right movement of swallow could occur and not interrupt the man with the drill, I had to just take myself far away. Usually I am all about staying present and acknowledging what was happening, but today, this was my best coping mechanism.

First I thought of a recent experience of feeling really tranquil and at peace, I was in the clear waters of the mid coast of New South Wales and I was diving into the waves and I could feel the corners of my overstretched mouth turn up a little. I then went to another time in my life, a time that I have been writing about and walked around in scenes of my life when I lived at the Grand Canyon, I saw the big open sky, I saw the beautiful red rocks, I saw the promising smile of someone I would spend time with, and in that moment I could smell that distinct mustiness of the office I used to have in the windowless upstairs section of the General Store, a mixture of old carpet, and papers.

The hour went right along and when my protective sunglasses were taken off, it felt like it had been about ten minutes. That’s the funny thing about using my imagination and how time takes on it’s complete own rhythm. It’s so much easier to head into that space if I go in before the action of the operation begins.