Saturday, November 14, 2009

Death must be beautiful

This time, I was keen to erase my unpleasant memories of 1981. Then, the incident was 'acute appendicitis surgery'. Now, it was the surgical correction of 'avulsion fracture with displacement at the base of fifth metatarsal'. In 81, the procedure started with the local anesthesia induced through spinal injection. Was it the cause of an anesthetic agent or my fear ? I don't know. All I recall was I struggled violently for water to quench my parched throat and body. There was no mercy. I was forced to sleep and to wake up after 12 hours. The torrid memories stayed with me all these years.

This time, I wanted to be alert to witness that moment of slipping into sleep. As my mobile stretcher wheeled inside the OT, familiar brands of Valleylab, Maquet were in sight. A bolus through the IV cannula pushed into the vein of my left wrist as the Nurse standing next to my right shoulder sighed in exasperation for a hairless site on my chest to paste ECG electrodes. That was it. Next moment, I found myself in the recovery room, under the protection of CMC Vellore trained nurse. ' You are done and your surgery is over '.

Two hours of deep sleep with no dreams, no past, no present, no future. An emptiness that detached my body and mind. I had no feelings. No pain, no anguish. no elation, no attraction, no distraction . Surgeon's cautery didn't bother me nor the metallic screws that penetrated through my bones rattled me. It was a silence both within and outside. Time froze where it was as I ceased to exist for myself and for the world around me. As I looked back, I realized this is what a death must be. If it is, I savored it with all its beauty.

I don't know if it was the technology of minimal anesthesia delivery system or efficacy of drugs or the skills of an anesthetist, the transition from the ' awakening' to the ' deep slumber' was swift and sudden ; so too was the shift from the 'black hole' to the 'realization of one's existence' . Whatever may have been the reason, it was beautiful and magnificent . I can safely assume that death in reality must be close to what I witnessed. A blissful state of nothingness.

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