(Guest poster: Michael Raugh)
First things first: Ellie is okay. She’s run into a serious time crunch because of some of the changes she alluded to in her real-world life, and that’s what has kept her from the blog. When she returns I’m sure she’ll share as much of the story as she can.
My sweetheart, Julie, had day surgery recently at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, which involved a different sort of pain than Ellie’s. Often as a hypnotist I feel a little out of place in a medical facility. So many real doctors tend to see hypnotists, especially “lay hypnotists” like myself, as a nuisance at best or charlatans at worst. The staff at Newton-Wellesley gave me none of that vibe, I rush to say. They are delightful people and made us feel very comfortable.
In the 19th century James Braid performed hundreds of amputations and other surgeries using only hypnosis for anesthesia. A number of modern hospitals welcome hypnosis in childbirth (talk to my friend Dee Bitner about that) but it’s not often seen in other forms of surgery. And Julie was no exception. She is capable of reaching very deep trance states up to and including the Esdaile state, so in theory she could have had her procedure that way, but there’s a time and a place for experiments and this wasn’t it.
We did make ample use of hypnosis both before and after the procedure, though. Before, for example, I put Julie in a moderate trance to help her remain relaxed and distracted while the nurse tried twice to establish a good IV and then had to yield to the anesthesiologist because Julie’s veins were hard to pin down. The nurse commented on how soothing my voice was.
After the procedure Julie was in a fair amount of pain despite the medications still in her system. We worked on that and were able to lessen the pain somewhat, but the narcotics interfered with her concentration. It wasn’t until that evening when she could focus well enough to really take control of her body’s responses again. I’m proud of my honey, though, because she made it through the next few days needing nothing but hypnosis and a little Advil to keep herself comfortable. As a result she felt good enough that we spent Memorial Day weekend out and about, within reasonable limits, and that helped us both feel worlds better.