I had minor surgery yesterday to remove a large and still growing lipoma from my neck. Because of placement near the spine the Dr. wanted to use a general anesthesia rather than a local – he didn’t know how much ‘teasing’ (that’s the word he used – read cutting, gouging, tugging) he might have to do to clean the thing out to its roots and how those roots might or might not be attached to the spine. It tuned out not to be attached to the spine but ran deep into muscle tissue so the ‘teasing’ left me a little ouchy. But, praise God I am back up and about – with limitations like no lifting more than 20 pounds and as little turning my neck as possible. On most counts I might as well stay home and watch TV! But I figure I can write this blog! So, OK, anesthesia – a wonderful invention allowing all manner of medical benefits (I read the account of George Rogers Clark’s leg amputation!). Here’s what I can tell you. Local anesthesia (lidocaine, etc.) works slowly on me. I have had to persuade a few Doctors that I really do know the difference between pressure and pain and that if they will just wait another couple minutes – we’ll get there. General Anesthesia, on the other hand, works extremely well and VERY quickly on me. I have not had a lot of procedures requiring general anesthesia (one that should have – but that’s another story): a hernia repair a long time ago. Mostly I have had colonoscopies (age!) for which the professionals assured me I would not really be out – just a twilight groggy kind of thing which would even allow me to answer questions. Well, let me tell you – the last thing I ever remember is thinking it hurt when the anesthesia came through the IV tube into my arm. The next thing is usually a dim awareness that someone is fussing at my wife ‘This office needs to close – can’t you get him to wake up?!) If forced to wake up quickly from anesthesia – there needs to be a receptacle for the contents of my stomach available. So this time I told the intake nurse, the surgical nurse, the anesthesiologist and the surgeon in turn of this issue. They all assured me I would not really be out. ‘Oh yes I will!’ I said. By the time I got to the anesthesiologist who was even more inclined to argue the point I said I would bet him $100 on the matter. He finally agreed to start off easy and see what happened but figured really that I would end up with the normal dosage. While they were positioning me for the surgery I remember thinking very briefly that my are hur…. Later, when I started to wake up in recovery – which I did because the anesthesiologist stopped with a lighter dose – the recovery nurse commented – ‘You really are a lightweight!’ OK. I’ll take the abuse sooner than be over-anesthetized any day! There is a difference in general and specific knowledge. I don’t know a lot about anesthesia generally. I do know my own history with it very well. There are lots of things I don’t know in the fields of theology, ecclesiology, hermeneutics and so forth. But I know my own history with Jesus Christ very well. At the end of the day – and THE DAY – that’s enough for me.
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Pastor and Author Terry Bailey, Senior Pastor of Indian Run Christian Church