Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Anesthesia and God's Grace

Cataract surgery round two wasn’t too bad. In fact. I could see better the next day from that eye than I did after the first surgery. I was more aware of the doctor and author people in the operating room, which was kind of strange. They said the second time would be like that. I couldn’t tell you what they talked about, but I remember hearing voices. This was the result of light sedation with a local anesthetic.
Capt. Holly Hess, 2013, {PD} From Wikimedia Commons.

Sedation with local anesthetic and general anesthesia are two separate things. They both are meant to make you forget what you went through and keep you from feeling pain, but general anesthesia adds a loss of consciousness, so that the muscles are completely relaxed and the surgeon can work inside the body. At the end of my eye surgery I remember trying to talk and being wheeled out of the OR.

Sometimes it seems like it would be nice to have anesthesia from emotional pain in life, but the Lord didn’t make us that way. Memories can be suppressed and we can stuff feelings down, trying not to feel them. And I think there’s the suspension of belief we go through when faced with loss of a loved one or being given some terrible news, which allows us to begin processing our grief in a healthy way. But God never promised to put us under some kind of emotional sedation or general anesthesia, so that we’re protected from every bad thing.

For one thing, if we didn’t feel the bitter, hurtful things in life, we couldn’t comfort others the way the Lord would like us to. Our own troubles should help us to build empathy for others. As God’s word says in 2 Corinthians 1:4 “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (NLT)

Second, if we didn’t have these difficult, painful situations, I suspect we would forget how much we need the Lord each day. At least, that’s the case in my life. Physical pain is a daily reminder of our humanness, of our mortality. Likewise, emotional pain touches our hearts, our wills, our spirits. We long for peace and love in our lives, much the way it was in the Garden of Eden before the fall of Adam into sin. These trials work patience in us, as it says in James 1:2-4: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (NLT)

The pain and burning in my eyes after my two surgeries were temporary and were there for a good reason. It’s taking awhile for the swelling to go down and my vision to be what it’s fully supposed to be. Every morning I open my eyes, impatiently hoping for improvement and sometimes I can literally see a little better. Three days after the surgery on my left eye, where an intra-ocular lens was placed for distance, I drove on the expressway for the first time without glasses or contact lenses! This was pretty amazing! And each day is a little better with my right eye, which contains the near vision lens. I’m thankful the painful part is over.

This time has reminded me how precious my eyes are, along with God’s gift of sight, and how much I rely on them. How blue, bright, and beautiful the sky appeared to me this morning while out on my walk! My fears of having my vision changed permanently have been replaced by acceptance and thankfulness. I hope that I will be more sensitive to others who haven’t been as fortunate. Between early onset of glaucoma and cataracts, I am blessed to live in an age where my sight has been saved by modern medical technology, at the hand of God’s grace.


  1. You've had quite the experience, Kathy! Sounds like you've come through the surgeries seeing not only sharper, bolder colors but are experiencing the same in life. I appreciate you wanting to share it with others!

    BTW, I've had (too) many surgeries, both under general anesthesia and IV sedation. Under the latter I had 2 interesting experiences: the very 1st time (back in the late '80s), when the doc was pulling (for lack of the proper term) me out of the anesthesia I could have sworn I heard a trio of angels coaxing me to come to (they were all female!). The second sounds more gruesome than it really was: the IV sedation must have been wearing off and suddenly I was coming awake (though with eyes closed) and I felt a pull/tug from them suturing me up. I said something like "ouch" and then immediately started calling for my doctor, by his name, asking if he was there. He was. And kind of chuckled, and then I "fell back to sleep"--I'm sure they upped my sleepy meds.

  2. Thank you, Elaine, for sharing your experiences with anesthesia
    and surgery. I hope I am seeing things from a better perspective
    these days, because I've been truly blessed in many ways! So
    glad you took the time to read my post and comment!
    Much appreciated! And good to see you here!