During my medical training, my colleagues and I would often joke that we were in school to become professional drug pushers. As an anesthesiologist, our daily job is to give a concoction of drugs to patients, allowing them to feel no pain and have no memory of surgery. For every procedure, we push sedatives, pain killers, and anti-nausea medications through an intravenous line, and provide a safe environment for procedures.
At the end of my fellowship, I had the fortune to travel to South Africa for the World Anesthesia Conference. The guest speaker, Bishop Desmond Tutu, inspired me with his pure laughter and words of wisdom. Specifically, he said that we as anesthesiologists are dream weavers.
Over the years, I have embraced this label of Dream Weaver. Before taking a patient to the operating room, I always ask "Where is your dream vacation?" Hawaii and Paris are the most popular destinations. Some wish to go camping, be with family, or simply sleep in their own bed at home. One day working in Los Angeles, I had a patient in the morning say she wanted to go to the Self Realization Fellowship, and another patient in the afternoon said she wanted to go to her meditative space.
As I give the initial anxiolytic versed, I laugh with the patient and say I am giving a little cocktail - maybe a fruity umbrella drink on the beach in Waikiki, or a glass of champagne at the Eiffel Tower. Dreaming while under anesthesia has been reported. Thinking of a trip to Hawaii with warm sand, palm trees, and ocean air can help provide distraction for the mind and calm the nervous system right before what is for many a terrifying experience.
Photo: Greystone Mansion, Beverly Hills, California, June 2017
Making magic potions is also part of my holistic medical profession outside of the operating room. Essential oils - either individually or in combination as a blend - can provide natural relief for a variety of conditions, including anxiety, migraines, and premenstrual symptoms. For example, one with migraines may benefit from applying a few drops of a blend of rosemary, lavender, lemon and peppermint behind the ears.
Traveling to dream vacations is also helpful when practicing meditative breathing exercises. When in a stressful situation, it is comforting to remember a peaceful sunset or a visit with good company.
Whether it be by name of physician, dream weaver, or witch doctor, I am grateful to help others heal with a variety of modalities.
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