© Cindy Beck, 2008
(Keywords: Cindy Beck, colonoscopy, medicine, doctor, amnesia, milk of amnesia, song, sing, Lola, Stuck in the Middle with You, inhibitions, surgery, YourLDSNeighborhood.com)
Like many of you, I’ve had a few medical procedures done. You might wonder why someone who wouldn’t normally tell her best friend that she even has a hangnail would tell the entire LDS community about her surgeries. I think that must be one of the side effects of inhibition-erasing drugs being injected into your veins. Doctors say the medication in the I.V. is to relax you, but we all know the truth. They don’t call it the “milk of amnesia” for nothing. You can bet no one is going to wear the hospital gown with the natural air conditioning in the back unless there’s a way to keep you from remembering that you paraded around and mooned everyone.
There’s no doubt in my mind why the doctor requests that you bring someone with you to the hospital, either. It’s not to drive you home. It’s so there’s a witness who can tell you the crazy things you did that you don’t remember.
For example, I had a colonoscopy a couple of years ago. I vaguely remember humming a tune that popped into my mind as I was getting dressed to go home. To hear my husband, Russ, tell it, I was singing the words to “Lola” at the top of my lungs. They could hear me all the way out to the parking lot.
“Lola” is a rather strange song to have stuck in my mind, and certainly not something I would sing to just anyone—even under normal circumstances. The lyrics aren’t obscene, but they are about a questionable subject … cross-dressers. It’s not a topic I’m particularly well-versed on, and admittedly, I should have been singing “I Am a Child of God.” But you can’t blame me; I was only singing what the I.V. dictated.
I did much better on the next colonoscopy. I kept reminding myself not to sing. You’ll be glad to know I accomplished the task. Not because I didn’t feel like singing, but when I offered to burst into song, everyone remembered my last rendition and refused to encourage me.
Did that deter me from trying to embarrass myself in some other venue? Not at all. Instead of singing, I spent my recovery time explaining—to everyone I passed in the halls—exactly which of my various, lower-body parts were working correctly. By the time we left the hospital, half the people in the hospital and twenty inmates from the prison knew that my bowels were in good, working order.
When my final surgery rolled around a month later, I was prepared. Not only did I remind myself not to sing but also not to talk about body parts. Instead, I concentrated on the whiteness of the hospital walls, the cheerfulness of the nurses and the kindness of the anesthesiologist as he explained that I wouldn’t remember a thing in just a few minutes.
This time I was sure I had it under control. And then a song popped into my head. That’s when I realized I must have a subconscious longing to perform karaoke, but it was too late to do anything about it.
Even so, I’m sure things would have been fine if only Russ hadn’t told the anesthesiologist about my previous experiences. The doctor smiled down at me and said, “So, the anesthesia makes you sing, huh? What song is in your mind right now?”
Well, what can you do when your doctor asks a question? You answer, right? I looked up at him and in my high-as-a-kite, drug-induced-haze replied, “Stuck in the Middle with You.” Considering the less-than-complimentary title of the song, I’m glad the doctor didn’t have a scalpel in his hand.
You can bet Russ has enjoyed mentioning my “milk of amnesia” experiences to all our friends in the ward—but I’ve found a way to keep him quiet. I just remind him of what he tried to do after his last visit to the hospital.
I’ve seen men run out in their underwear to move the lawn sprinkler. But until Russ’s surgery, I’d never seen a man try to walk, buck-naked, to the mailbox.
What's playing in my head: Stuck in the Middle with You (by Stealers Wheel)
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