It’s a year ago this month that I was in the operating theatre. So, I thought it would be a good moment to inform you about surgery.

In Western medicine, the body is seen as a machine. They try to fix the broken part or take it out. In Chinese medicine, the body is seen as a garden. If the leaves are wilting or turning brown, you examine the condition of the soil, see if the plant is getting enough water and sun or if the roots are being impinged upon. In the 3,5 years that I had a smoldering infection in my intestines, Western medicine did close to nothing and I have been able to keep the infection somewhat under control with Chinese medicine. Then the day came that my instestines perforated and another journey through Western medicine began, with the end result of major surgery.

What happens before and during surgery?

First, the patient has a talk with the anesthesiologist. He or she, will ask all kinds of questions in order to know what he/she can do (or not do) concerning anesthesia and painwise.

Then, everyone in the operating theatre, has a specific task. Right before surgery, the surgical team takes a time-out. During that time-out, everybody tells what exactly they are going to do, what their task is. Also the patient will tell what kind of surgery will be performed. Personally, I found this very reassuring. After that, the patient drifts off and the surgery starts.

No surgery without anesthesia. There are several kinds of anesthesia. Sometimes a local aneshesia is used. In other cases, the patient goes under totally. During my hysterectomy, I had an epidural with painpump placed and gas anesthesia. With my resection or also called colectomy, I had anesthesia put in my IV. And, whooosh, I was gone before I knew it.

Anesthesia is not at all like normal sleep, althought it is referred to as ‘sleep’. The anesthesia is so strong, that bodily functions we call normal, like breathing, don’t work by itself anymore. All kind of machines take over these functions. The anesthesiologist operates the machines. The patient will be on a ventilator, a clip on the finger will measure the oxygen in the blood. Electrodes on the chest check how the heart is holding up and a band around the arm measures the bloodpressure. The anesthesiologist can see how deep a patient is ‘sleeping’ by an electrode on the forehead, since it is everybody’s nightmare to wake up during surgery. After surgery, the patient goes to the post-op room or ICU, depending on the kind of surgery and on how surgery went.

What does the anesthesia consists of?

The anesthesia always consists of two means: a sleeping aid to ensure the patient is going to drift off and painmedication, so that the patient will not wake up during surgery due to pain. Some patients are very stressed and because of this stress, it can be harder to put them under. Those stress hormones will remain active during surgery and the anesthesiologist will have to work harder to bring the body into the best possible balance. I was véry stressed before my partial colectomy. I went under crying and I came out screaming for help. According to research, anesthesia is not harmful. It became less and less harmful over the years, because of new insights and better methods. The sicker and/or older the patient is, the higher the risk with anesthesia though.

As soon as the body is healed enough from surgery, the work is done for the hospital staff and the patient can go home for further and hopefully full recovery. Mind you, 100% will never be the case. Surgery causes irreversible damage to your body. That doesn’t mean you cannot live your best live though!

The human body consists of more layers than ‘just’ the physical body. The human body  is a fairly complex energetic system. Every cell carries information and awareness. Can you imagine that? Isn’t that totally amazing? Opioid painkillers and specially anesthesia, wrech havoc on all levels and it can take upon a year before they are out of your system. Acupuncture can be very helpful to get rid of this toxic stuff way sooner. These medications also disintegrate the human energetic system and it takes time and effort to re-integrate fully. Little exercises help the re-integration. One little exercise is: circle one arm away from your body and the other one toward your body at the same time. Then change sides. This makes the two sides of the brain work together again.

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