Anaesthetic and Time Travel

Two months ago I tore the medial meniscus cartilage in my knee. Yesterday I had an arthroscopy operation to clean up the ragged bits in order to get me back to full activity. This post is a few notes on the experience which show that Einstein was right and that everything depends on the frame of reference of the observer.

The weirdest aspect of going in for surgery is the disconnect between the hospital and medical staff and me and I suppose other patients). This is not to say that I’m unhappy with my treatment – I’m very satisfied. The staff are going about their workday, joking and grumbling with each other, hanging out for their coffee break, etc. It’s just another ho-hum day at the office for them. For me, however, I’ve never been under the knife before. I’ve never had a general anaesthetic. I don’t know what happens next and I’m close to paralysed with terror.

On the positive side, the operation has given me a sense of what time-travel must feel like. I remember distinctly checking the clock in the theatre as the anaesthetist put the cannula in my arm, turned on the juice and said “sleep now.” It was 9:43am. The very next second, I was somewhere else completely removed in space and time. The clock on the recovery room wall said 10:55 – still before lunch, I presumed. I have no sensation of time passing at all yet all objective evidence says more than an hour had passed. The feeling of dislocation is quite pronounced.

The aspect of the whole deal that I’m not happy with is the time it took to get from injury to operation – two months. The first question from anyone I dealt with from hospital admin staff, receptionists at medical imaging shops, etc was “is this a workers compensation claim?” On answering no, I was immediately put into the second-class category. “Oh. In that case we can make you an appointment in two to three weeks.” Next time (by which I mean never), I’ll know to push the timetable.

Now I’m looking forward to recovery. I’ve been away from fencing too long already and my boy is starting to crawl. He enjoys chasing and being chased. I’ve gotta be up for that as soon as physically possible.