Before each of my hip replacement surgeries, I was plagued by the same nagging thought…
What if I die on the table?
Waking up during surgery has always been a deeply rooted fear of mine.
Sure, it’s completely irrational and not really even possible in modern medicine.
Still, the thought of it nagged at me to the point of piercing headaches.
Waking up during surgery is one thought, but dying during surgery is quite another.
It’s strange, though…I never once feared dying on the table.
But I did wonder about it. Quite a bit, too.
I never particularly feared death in general, but I’ve always been fascinated by it, so maybe that’s the reason.
If it happened, would I even know?
If it happened, would it be like all those stories about out-of-body flirtations with death?
After my first surgery was done and I woke up in recovery, the thought of possible death didn’t seem to matter all that much anymore.
I remember the ‘bee-sting’ shot in my spine and I remember my legs got heavy and then a nurse was shaking me awake three hours later in recovery.
Point is, if I had died on the table, I don’t think I would have known it.
I don’t think I would have suffered any pain, trapped inside my own head – as I always imagined I would if I suddenly gained consciousness (inside my head) while asleep during surgery.
Now, I don’t claim to know any of the sciences behind surgeries, but it seems to me that with all the physical pain blocked by the combined IV anesthetic and spinal shots, any event that could’ve happened would not have registered in my brain.
Physically, my body would have reacted to a terminal event, but I’m not so sure about my conscious mind. That idea still fascinates me.
I like to think that I would have simply ceased to exist, and then, if there was a place to go after, I’d have been in it in an instant…kind of the same as falling asleep before surgery and waking up after it’s done. Just that quick.
I was a lot calmer after the first surgery, but the question was still there.
Finally, I told myself, “If you go, you go, You’re not going to feel it.”
That gave me just as much peace as the feeling of waking up in recovery to the words,
“Frank…wake up. The surgery’s over. Everything went fine.”
There were no dreams, no thoughts at all, though.
No feeling existed from the time I first closed my eyes on the ‘cutting board’ until the time I opened them in recovery.
It was a blanked-out, missing-from-my-memory chunk of time in each surgery.
About three hours’ worth.
The strange thing is, I felt so good when I woke up from both the surgeries.
It was that good feeling you have when you wake up from a night filled with happy dreams and you feel refreshed and ready for anything.
Still…I wonder if I did dream.
I wonder if I did feel during either or both surgeries.
I really wonder if both those are possible when they leave absolutely no memory or recognition.
The philophiser in me thinks that, yes, it is very possible.
After all anything is possible, not everything is probable.
It probably didn’t go down that way, but it is very possible that it did exactly that.
An interesting concept.
Either way, I’ve never hidden or cowered from death.
I’ve never feared my own mortality.
If anything, I’m a little more than interested in what happens ‘next’
Do we simply cease to exist as Hawking believed?
Or do we enter a different state of being? Remember, energy only changes form.
Or do we enter a different dimension and a new lifetime completely separate and foreign from this one? With absolutely no memory of what came before it? That might be fun.
At any rate, I will never hide from Death.
I will never live in fear of my own mortality.
I’m not particularly morbid, but I am kind of anxious to see what lies beyond that last breath.
So, if Death does come to ‘my table’, I’ll be ready and waiting to bore him into another death with all of my stupid questions!
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