Tuesday, July 21, 2009

pain is a mind game

since i started working last week, i noted that i subconsciously categorize many things as 'firsts'. First patient i saw in clinic, first delivery, first early morning being woken up for delivery etc..etc. Today i have another first. First surgery and a major one too. I had no choice, the patient who,s an Arab lady, would like to do the surgery while her mother is here visiting her.So there you go, again doctor sacrifices herself so as to fit patient's schedule.
I had my doubts initially. I am barely off the crutches and here i am about to perform a hysterectomy (ie removal of the uterus), which may well take 2 hours to finish. Can i 'stand' it? (pun intended)
I already made a mental note, if i ever find that i was getting tired or my ankle is hurting,i will call my big brother dr ashar to come down and help me. Already , i have asked a few people to make doa for me. As usual , if i have a major op and i feel it could be difficult, i will ask my dear hubby to make prayers for me.
my anesthetist today is dr hashim, and as usual , when he's in good moods, he will belt out some old songs at the top of his voice.Even whwn the patient was still awake. I had to remind him...bismillah..bismillah.....He said 'tadi dah baca'. And I said, "you nyanyi lagi banyak dari u bismillah". He made a face and kept quiet.
And so the surgery went on for a good 2 hours. I was so focused on the surgery, i didn't notice my ankle at all. In fact I was the one who kept asking my nurse if she was allright, if she has had her breakfast before the op and even offered whether she wanted to sit for a while because she was very quiet and i was corncerned if she was hypoglycaemic.
Up until when the surgery was over, then i started to feel the tingling sensation in my ankle and as i removed my socks, noticed that my leg was all so swollen. Then i started feeling the pain...

My point today is that, pain is actually very much a mind game. When i was so focussed on my surgery, i didn't feel anything. I forgot even about my poor ankle.
So, is it a wonder, when we read seerah sahabiah who was hit by an arrow while he was praying, didnt feel the pain and continue praying. His mind was so focussed on Allah, that he didn't feel the pain.
We also heard some sahabah, eg Tholhah, got hit at 70 places during the war, but he could still fight?
And many many other examples.Some tabien asked surgery to be performed while he was reciting al Quran without the help of anesthesia.

There's a place in our brain which is called 'the pain gate'. When pain sensation comes, the pain gate is open and a person will feel the pain. Why do our pain become less when we put ice pack or hot pack? Because the cold or hot sensation will compete with the pain sensation, so we feel cold or hot instead of pain, and that is preferrable sensation to us instead of pain.

i have read somewhere that people are hypnotizing patients before surgery. So no drugs will be used. That'll be good. But dare i dream that one day our community will be so pious that we only need him or her to read the quran while we perform surgery? That'll be the day!

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