Monday, June 16, 2008

Patients' Fears and Dreams

Patients will sometime have dreams (nightmares?) before their surgery similar to the "got up to give my book report and I had no clothes on" ones from our younger school days. Some of them are understandable -- you can "see" a thread that connects the procedure and the anxiety and the dream. A good example of this is the 4th Season episode of Roseanne "Less is More" which dealt (very nicely) with her breast reduction surgery. In the episode she had a dream where she woke up after surgery and actually had larger breasts. She was dressed as Madonna in the "cone bra". I've had breast reduction patients tell me versions of this one.

Recently an abdominoplasty patient was talking to me before surgery. I was trying to answer any last minute questions or concerns. She needed to tell me about the dream she had the night before.

Patient-- I remember hearing you say as I went to sleep in the operating room, "I can't make a straight cut with the patient on this water bed."

Me -- A water bed?

Patient -- Yes. I know it makes no sense, but I was on a water bed. And my brother-in-law was assisting you and he was wearing a clown outfit.

Me -- Well, are you okay with going ahead this morning. We don't have any waterbeds here.

Patient -- Yes. I'm just a little nervous, but I really want the surgery.

Everything went well. The incisions were straight as I didn't have to fight the waves of a water bed. I was thankful for that (smiling to myself here).

5 comments:

Dreaming again said...

I had nightmares before most of my surgeries. The father the end of the spectrum (more serious/less serious) the more likely they are to happen. My shoulder & knee surgery just kind of elicited weird dreams. My gall bladder ..eh.
My thymectomy, reduction and bladder surgery had some doooooooozies of dreams that would wake me up drenched in sweat.

The Rosanne episode will make me hyperventilate laughing because I can soo identify with what she went through the night before.

Oh yea, my sinus surgery ..that one brought some funky dreams ... shudder. But not until after I'd gone back to have the packing removed from my nose. *shudder*

T. said...

Great post, Ramona! There was a recent feature on NPR about graduation / school dreams - 'tis / 'twas the season. I am fascinated by the workings of the mind/brain, even in our sleep, and how it plays around with often-unspoken things that matter deeply to us...often at times of transition...

Chrysalis Angel said...

I would think her dream found you to be quite skilled and competent. It actually should have been a good sign. lol.

Dragonfly said...

Hope the clown was a good surgery assistant!

rlbates said...

They weren't clowns, but I did have some good help that day.