Friday, October 07, 2005

A Cutting Question

Premise: You are about to undergo major surgery (for you medical types, the abdominal cavity will be invaded and reflexes obtunded). For educational purposes, you have given your consent for the filming and display of your surgery.

Question: At any time later, would you watch the tape of your surgery? Why or why not.

(After 4 reader responses, I will give my own answer!)

UPDATE: So the 4 responses are now in. Kudos to Lori and Tanya who set a new Clarity of Night record in responding: 15 and 16 minutes after my post, respectively!

My Answer: I would force myself to watch the video; however, it would be very uncomfortable. Why? Not because I'm squeamish (having prepared my own meat for food is proof that I can handle a few guts...literally). My discomfort flows from another place.

Although I am well aware of human anatomy and the functions of the various organs, I have difficulty accepting that I and people I know are mere conglomerations of beating hearts, sodium cascades, mitosis, cellular respiration, etc. A living, passionate mind, the unique glimmer in every person's eyes, seems so much more to me than the extravaganza of biochemical processes whirling away beneath the skin. Seeing surgery on myself would be a peek behind the curtain at the truth. The Wizard of Oz isn't a thundering, flaming green deity at all. He's just a fumbling little man putting on a show. And losing his hair too.


Lori A. Basiewicz said...

Oh, yes. Definitely. How often do you get a chance to see your own insides? I'd even make the doctor popcorn to encourage them to sit and explain to me what I was seeing.

Shesawriter said...

You've got to be kidding. No WAY. LOL!


anne said...

One of my friends had her eye laser surgery filmed, watched the video (obviously) later and kind of enjoyed it. I don't think I would. But I'd like it to be local anesthetics, so I can watch "live".

Diana said...

As long as I don's see my face, I would watch.

Chemical Billy said...

I did get to see some photos from a recent surgery. I found them fascinating, like pictures of this whole universe I'm carrying inside me.

But these were internal shots. I'm not sure how I'd feel about seeing myself, utterly unconscious, completely helpless, while strangers cut into me. Hm.

Kara Alison said...

I love this kind of question and I'm compelled to respond to your point.

I know for certain that I would watch the video. What I find interesting is that you are dissapointed by the man behind the curtain. I think he's amazing (and by "he" I don't mean god. I'm just continuing your metaphor - sorry, I felt the need to specify that). I think the human mind along with its unique glimmer and passion is undeniably incredible. What I think is even more amazing is how it works. Our bodies accomplish truly fantastic things in relatively clean and logical ways. The phenomenon of evolution and the near perfection of the human body really are wonderful when you stop to think about them. The fact that we are able to understand and "tune up" this machine that, for the most part, runs itself amazes me even further. (Can you imagine if your car changed its own tires?)

Inside our bodies, with all of their intricate processes and organs, also reside minds that posseses the capability of being great and appreciating greatness. The body supports the intangible greatness of the mind. How could you not want to know about that?

Anonymous said...

Kara, what I struggle with is how ephemeral and fragile we are, and seeing the mechanical processes in action reminds me. One tiny air bubble (or bloot clot, or burst capillary) in the brain can erase essential pieces of who were are at this moment. Impair liver function or kidney function and our blood fills with poison. I could go on, but it'll be too depressing for a bleak Monday morning.

One of the reasons I write is to capture the person I am at the moment on the page. So, if one of the blood vessels pops during particularly stressful day, everything will not be lost.

Kara Alison said...

Tragedy occurs and greatness can be lost, but knowing that there is no guarantee makes me appreciate what I have even more. I do see what you're saying, but doesn't it border on paranoia to live in a manner where one expects all to be lost without a moment's notice? Understand that this isn't an attack on your perspective, rather an attempt to understand it.

I suppose I try to live as if each day could be my last, but also assume that it will not be.

Anonymous said...

I understand where you're coming from on being freaked out by the raw scientific-ness of it all. When you think about how unique every person is, how different from everyone else, it takes some of the "special" away from that to be reminded that we're all really the same when it comes down to living - just a body that could self-destruct at any given moment. I don't like thinking about it, either. For instance, I drive a car every day and usually don't think a thing of it but, every once in a great while, I'll think about how one speeding car failing to stop at an intersection could change me forever or even kill me, how everything I was on my way to do that seemed so important right then wouldn't matter at all anymore. It's disturbing. I don't think of it so much as paranoia, though, rather just a distaste for mortality. *LOL*

Anonymous said...

Beanie, you beat me to it. Your description is very similar to how I feel. It's a little dread that lurks in the back of your mind, but I agree with you Kara, I assume that each day won't be may last. However, one of those days, I'm going to be wrong.

Patrick said...

I would not want to watch.

Like Billy above, I recently had laproscopic abdominal surgery, and while in recovery, I was provided with a few photos taken inside. I had no idea what I was looking at, so it didn't make me all that lightheaded. And apparently, my confusion couldn't be blamed on the anesthetic I was still coming out of: I showed the pics to the nurse and asked what was what, and she didn't know, either.

But looking at photos from the inside is one thing.

Seeing yourself lying there with people slicing into you like you're a wedding cake...well, that prospect doesn't carry much appeal for me.

I agree with you, Jason, about how fragile we simple chemical imbalances can cause dramatic a simple clump of blood cells in the wrong place at the wrong time can forever change a virus can destroy what we take for granted as being so strong.

I don't think I'd want so vivid a reminder showing on my television.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, Patrick. That would be a little too potent a reminder.