(Canada, 20’s) When I was younger I had a collection of operations to correct a birth defect and resulting life complications with my kidneys. One of the weird blessings about surgery is that once your IV is set up in pre-op, you are doped up on a collection of drugs that basically take away your consciousness of the situation around you. You are moved around, and somehow finagled to the operating table where they really put you under withanesthetic. Then, you wake up in recovery with a new scar and new pain meds, but with no memory of the past seven hours of your hospital stay.
In a recent dream, for some reason my memory was improving. I have been teased in the past for my inability to remember certain details of stories, or not realizing I am telling a story to a friend who was a part of the story itself. This dream was great in that sense, because I was remembering everything! I could tell you what color shirt my best friend had been wearing on the fourth day of high school; I could remember the recipe to my mother’s famous foods without needing to look things up; I was remembering everything and I loved it!
At least in the beginning.
As my memories began coming back, so did the memories I didn’t want, namely those of being in the hospital as a child. I began to remember being taken away from my parents in pre-op, wheeled down unfamiliar halls and taken in to stark white operating rooms, things I had previously been too drugged up for to comprehend. But that wasn’t it. These memories became increasingly upsetting as I began to remember times when I was actually no longer conscious, when I would have been sedated under heavy anesthetic. I started to ‘remember’ lying on the operating table under bright florescent lights, as the doctors began using a scaple to cut open my stomach. I ‘remembered’ watching them remove my kidney, how they talked about their vacation plans while I lay motionless with monitors hooked up to every part of me. I hated these memories. As more and more upsetting memories came flooding back to me about being in the hospital, I began experiencing the pain that those event would have caused. The scars on my stomach and side began burning, and I woke up with my heart racing. I looked around my room, felt across my stomach, realized I had only been dreaming, and was for the first time grateful for my inconsistent memory.