Mindful Methods Practice During a Medical Procedure

I declined the Valium before my epidural pain injection in my lumbar spine because I reasoned that my meditation practice would help me manage any fear or anxiety that might come up. I wasn’t sure what technique I would pull from my Mindful Methods toolbox, but I had the box at the ready!

I was laying on my stomach on an exam table with my face in a nice padded face cradle. There was a pillow under my belly, and I asked for another one to be placed under my ankles. So far so good, I was comfy enough.

The doctor started rubbing a cold wet cotton wipe with skin cleanser around my right hip and I slowed my breathing, counting in for 5, and out for 8. In for 5 and out for 8.

He said, “This might sting, like a bee sting, as I put in the anesthetic, but it shouldn’t last for more than a few seconds.”

Okay. Big breath in, slow breath out. “Ouch! Oh, okay, it’s fine now.”

“Now I am going to start the procedure. I’m going to lower your trousers a bit so that in case there is bleeding, it doesn’t get on your clothes. Sometimes there is one drop of blood that rolls around and down and gets everywhere.”

“No worries, they are just yoga pants,” I said from a dream like trance where I was repeating gorgeous phrases for my safety, health, happiness and ease.

I then switched the beneficiary of my beautiful wishes for goodwill to the doctor. I was beaming out “may you be safe; may you be happy; may you be healthy and may you live with ease; may you live with ease.”

The room felt so filled with love and nurturing. When he was finished, he had me roll my head to the left so that I could see the monitor illustrating where the needle had sent the medicine to the head of root nerve 5, the likely culprit of my months of ridiculous radiculitis sciatic pain, going from my right butt cheek down the outside of my right leg.

I then sat up and noticed the doctor had this warm almost amused looking smile on his face.

“That is the best job I could have done. That was just perfect,” he said.

“What do you attribute that to?” I inquired. “Is it your skill level and experience?”

“Well, it’s true I’ve done a lot of these, 30 years worth, but each one is different and you never know exactly how it’s going to go. This one couldn’t have gone better.”

I smiled and shared that I was sending loving kindness phrases to him the whole time.

Who knows whether that made any difference, but it’s certainly better than me being nervous and sharing fear, doubt and anxiety with his man with a needle in his hand!

I didn’t plan this in advance, that’s the beauty of practicing for enough time (years in my case) that it becomes automatic.

Wishing you safety, health, happiness, and ease.

Please share your thoughts. . .
By |2018-05-31T12:12:42+00:00June 1st, 2018|Mindful Methods|

About the Author:

Julie Potiker
Author and mindfulness expert Julie Potiker is an attorney who began her serious study and investigation of mindfulness after graduating from the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program at the University of California, San Diego. She was trained by Kristin Neff, Christopher Germer and UCSD as a Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher. She went on to study with Rick Hanson, becoming a graduate of his Positive Neuroplasticity Training Professional Course. Potiker also completed Brené Brown’s Living Brave Semester. Now, she shares these and other mindfulness techniques with the world through her Mindful Methods for Life trainings and her new book: “Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm In the Midst of Chaos.” She holds a B.G.S. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from George Washington University.

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