October 31, 2019
I don’t know if I’m spelling it right. But I do know that this drug begs for words to explain its power.
Yesterday, I went under. I wasn’t in a place that was recognizable, I don’t think that I was even in a place. I was rolled into the procedure room by a woman who had ghosts drawn on her nails. Today is Halloween. She was nice. I knew what to expect, because I’ve been through these steps probably a hundred times. But I was in a different building today, a new one that I hadn’t yet experienced. She wheeled me towards the room where I would go under. There were automatic doors that both opened as once, like I was a queen coming being pushed into this bright, sterile hallway. I saw a nurse on my left who smiled at me like apple pie during a warm July day. I said “Hi” as I passed her. I looked right and saw the break room for people who administer the strongest drug I’ve ever experienced. They were chatting and relaxing. But I was tense. How do they not understand the power they weld?
I wasn’t going under to take a nap. The anesthesiologist told me it would be like a nap. I would get a nice rest and then wake up, feeling like the procedure never happened and only a few minutes had passed.
It wasn’t like that.
I rolled down that hallway past more nurses to my left and into a room filled with the most equipment you’ve ever seen. Basically, a garage full of instruments and machines that could take you under to a space you’ve never consciously remembered before.
I was pushed to the left side and told to stand up and walk over to the other bed. I said “Oh, I’m transferring”. I thought it would happen on the bed that I was wheeled in on. The nurse with the ghosts on her nails escorted me to this new bed. I saw another nurse to my right, the most soft-spoken person I’ve ever heard. I was told to say my name and birthdate as they both looked at my wristband. Gotta make sure they have the right patient before they take them under.
I crawled onto this new bed and laid on my left side. My gown open in the back. I knew how they wanted me positioned. I was scared, so I started talking. I was telling the nurses that they are really nice. That they have a nice facility and fancy machines in the room. The soft-spoken one started asking me questions; why was she talking to me from the opposite corner of the room? She sounded like a mouse. That was confusing. I forgot about all the tools I needed to get attached to before they took me down. I was hooked up to an EEG, cold sensors placed on my chest and one below my sternum. My heart is important to pay attention to when I go to this new place. I was given oxygen through each nostril and wrapped the tubes below my ears. Oxygen feels like a metallic and cold air being forced deep inside of you. I thought, well it’s good to watch my lungs too. I needed that rush of oxygen coming into my body because soon, I wouldn’t remember how to breathe.
The nurse with the ghosts on her nail polish told me that I was now going to get some anesthesia. Okay, here comes my nice nap.
At the end of her sentence, I didn’t feel any different. I felt the cold air in my nostrils, the open gown exposing my backside and my ass, which was the money spot for these docs. I still heard that soft-spoken nurse talking and asking me questions, I was irritated because I could barely hear her, but I still answered her. After about ten seconds, I said, “I have a high tolerance”.
“I’m still awake, I’m still awake….” The nurse said, “It’s okay, I will get you there, but in a slow and gentle way.” So, I waited as I was tied into all these machines monitoring the force of life, I was still aware of. I could feel my heart beating through the fear. What if I couldn’t get enough meds, and I would feel everything. Someone touched my right butt cheek and I said, “I’m still awake”. I didn’t want to feel them going inside to see my organ.
I felt my chest and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to take the nap that I was promised. So, my anxiety began to rise. I hoped the nurses would help me. And then. I thought it was the anxiety. I thought, oh god, I know this feeling of being so anxious that I can’t control what’s happening in my body. Colitis has a fun way of controlling your physical sensations wherever it pleases. I thought maybe, I wasn’t getting enough oxygen and hoped they would turn it up! My heart pounded through those EEG sensors.
Then that anxious feeling, having a power bigger than your own free will, took me in its grasp.
I knew I was going somewhere else at that point.
It was not a nap. I felt my legs go heavy. Like I became only a chest and head, with my legs below me in another level of consciousness. That feeling moved up my body from both ends. I felt drunk, limp.
My head became heavy, without me feeling it, just knowing I couldn’t pick it up now. My chest calmed to a point of no sensation. My legs were still gone, somewhere else I didn’t understand, and my arms followed soon after. I was not falling asleep.
I was losing consciousness.
It was empty. No more feelings. I wasn’t in the room. I wasn’t in my dreams. I was gone. I went under to another place that no person could feel in any way. My body was lifeless. I had a concept of knowing I was gone. Not a feeling, more like an understanding.
My eyes rolled back into my head and I thought this was it. Not coming back this time.
Because, when I woke up, I wasn’t in that procedure room anymore. I was laying down next to a model-looking woman who asked how I was feeling. Feeling? I didn’t feel at all. I didn’t even sense what happened. Where was I?
I said I felt drunk. My body and my head were heavy. I felt good. Like I had no anxiety or fear. Such a rare feeling.
But I was still nervous, so I kept talking. How many of these procedures do you do a day? I don’t know what she said, I didn’t really care. I was in a nest of a propofol hug and I wanted it to last longer.
I slowly jolted back into my regular level of hyperawareness to my surroundings and my physical body. After the drunkenness wore off, I wanted it back.
I was shocked by my experience with Propofol. So much so, that it made me think. I wonder if these anesthesiologists know what it’s like to go where I went, a place with no sense of touch. I wonder if they understand the power of this drug, pushed into the tiny plastic catheter on my hand.
When I die, I want to go out with that drug. Sensations erased, thoughts no more. I was a pile of physical matter, mere body parts.
I wasn’t taking a nap in my mind. I woke up and realized that I wasn’t done with this life. No more pain sounds nice though. To be done with any more worries of how to live day to day. Of how to be in remission, but still have a chronic illness. Of how to explain to others that the physical pain I’ve experienced in this physical body, would never be a match if I had an affair with propofol during the worst of my days. When I didn’t think I would wake up in the midst of my worst flare to date. In the darkest days, I would say to my disease, that the nerve rippling pain it caused were reminders that I was still alive. Why? I guess needed all those reminders to know that I would get through that. The resiliency I learned in two years of a flare was beyond my awareness, similarly to the fact that life can be taken away with one syringe full of liquid. A chemical that could erase my pain and my worries. I hope going under is what it feels like when it is my time to die. I would take that goodbye over the constant pain that I’ve endured in this life, teasing the mortality in front of my eyes. Maybe my next life will be in the land of Propofol.