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Imagery Reduces Stress from Fumbled, Pre-Surgical Needle Sticks (Yech!)

20 Oct

This man reminds us that you don’t necessarily need the actual recording if you’ve listened to some relaxing imagery and it’s running in your head all by itself.  We read this account on a blog a few weeks ago, from someone who had an abdominal resection surgery for colon cancer.  Because he listened to his imagery in advance, in a nice receptive, trancey, altered state, he “owns” the imagery and can call it up at will.  Here are his words: 

When a lab technician is inexperienced, they will keep trying to find a vein and end up bruising your arm. This is called a bad stick.  Not a big deal if you just need a blood test for routine lab work and you can go home and calm down.

Unfortunately for me, I got a bad stick while getting ready for my abdominal resection surgery.  I had an inexperienced nursing student make numerous attempts at trying to find a vein and miss.  I got more stressed from this treatment.  I felt like a pincushion.  She gave up on one arm, and then my wife fainted.  I asked for my brother to enter the prep area and help calm me down. Finally she got an IV started in my other arm.

I found it hard to relax and let go of my worries about surgery with a bad stick.  I was relieved to run my “imagery for before surgery” recording in my head, and I was able to relax before surgery.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award