Thursday, August 21, 2014


Many years ago, I read that post-surgical recovery is sometimes easier if patients listen to music or relaxation tapes during surgery, even when they are under general anesthesia. For my knee surgery last week under general anesthesia, I put together a playlist of music that puts me in a good mood, and brought my phone and earbuds with me into surgery.

Who’s in charge here? There was the 2-person surgical team, the anesthesia team, the OR nurse(s), the prep nurse(s), and the post-op recovery room nurse(s). Most people said it was up to the anesthesia team, since the anesthesia team needs to monitor me and is up around my head. The universal response, as I asked each person in turn, was that it was ok with them as long as it was ok with other people. In the end, I went under in the OR with the earbuds in place, and woke up in recovery with the earbuds out. I have no idea when the earbuds were removed, or if the earbuds just fell out when I was transferred from the OR to recovery.

What is the objection? The universally stated concern was that the hospital staff did not want to take responsibility for the safety or security of my phone. I told them repeatedly that it’s only a phone, I was not going to hold anyone responsible, it was no big deal if it broke or disappeared, and I was happy to replace it if I needed to.

Did it help? Well, the music was certainly a pleasant distraction during the 90 minutes of waiting around the prep area before surgery. And having the phone meant I could text with Lisa while I was waiting both in prep and in recovery, as well as look up possible side effects of the first anti-nausea med they offered. I don’t know whether it helped block out the sounds or conversation during the procedure, or kept me more relaxed. I have listened to the mix since the surgery, and I’m glad that listening to the music before and (possibly) during the surgery didn’t create any aversions to the music.

Michael’s surgery mix
Sailing, The Blenders
Theme To Grace/Lament, George Winston
Holy Now, Kallet, Epstein, Cicone
Sallé, Lokua Kanza
Toda Sexta Feira, Belô Velloso
Ngwino Rukundo, Samite
I’ve Just Seen a Face, Holly Cole
Tupelo Honey, Cassandra Wilson
Farthest Field, Kallet, Epstein, Cicone
Tshona Malanga, Talisman
Ring On The Sill, Cowboy Junkies
Caramel, Suzanne Vega
Shantyboatin’, Kallet, Epstein, Cicone
Touch, Jezebelle
Hard To Explain, Cowboy Junkies
Channeling Byron, Janet Feld
The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy), Simon & Garfunkel

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