About a week ago, I underwent corrective foot surgery. Since I’ve never had surgery of any kind before, I had plenty to be worried about. But what freaked me out most of all was what my friend Gareth referred to as “alien abduction juice,” a component of the anesthesia that not only renders me relaxed, but also eliminates pretty much all memories until it wears off. I asked the doctor about it, and learned that indeed, this drug, Midazolam (marketed under the name Versed here) will do that to you.
I made the mistake of Googling for it and reading a lot of the complaints about it, and managed to get myself really worked up. I eventually comforted myself with the notion that the complaints were mostly from people who hadn’t been adequately informed of the drug’s effects and a few who had genuinely adverse effects. But I still had a lot of lingering discomfort with the idea of willingly creating a gap in my memory. But considering that the alternative was general anesthesia, and that choosing Midazolam would allow me to remain conscious through the procedure (so I could report on my pain levels, etc.), I figured it was the best possible choice for me.
In the end, I have no recollection of ever getting my spinal anesthetic, only a fleeting image of the room I was operated on in, and a series of disconnected memories as the drug wore off. I asked my doctor what I talked about (if anything) during the procedure, and he reported that I kept asking the same questions about the anesthesia (and apparently repeatedly expressed surprise that I had already received a spinal anesthetic). So clearly, neither the Midazolam nor the Lorazepam that they first gave me reduced my hang-ups about this part of the process.
And upon reflection, I’m glad I asked a lot of questions from the minute I started discussion anesthesia with my doctor, the hospital pre-admission folks, and the anesthesiologist. I’m glad that I was more hung up with something that didn’t have to do with cutting, grinding, or sewing, as well. The alien abduction juice was a good distraction from all the other stuff I was going through, and I’ll certainly use it when we do the work on the next foot.