Sunday, October 18, 2009

Senescence sucks: The virtues of Versed (part 4)

(When you see this guy coming, just say "Versed please".

Last week, I had occasion to be given an "ultra short-acting benzodiazepine derivative, which has potent anxiolytic, amnestic, hypnotic, anticonvulsant, skeletal muscle relaxant, and sedative properties"?  Of course, this was done under medical supervision at the hospital.  Don't try this at home.  The occasion was a procedure called an upper GI endoscopy, and it was conducted by the same doc that does my colonoscopy every five years.  Hopefully, he uses different instruments for each procedure; no double-dipping, please.  This most recent procedure involves having the specialist thread a tube with a small camera attached down your throat into the esophagus and into your upper digestive system to reconnoiter, take pictures, or even repair some problems.  This was recommended because of that hiatal hernia that I wrote about earlier. 

The barium swallow that I took several weeks ago was a preliminary look inside the problem area but, as my doc explained, the endoscopy procedure is the "gold standard" for examining that area of the human body.  I may not invest in gold when I trade online, but you can be damn sure I want the gold standard applied to figure out what to do about this hernia.  The doc and I sat in his office as we discussed all this.  It took only five minutes to explain the endoscopy procedure, and we spent 20 minutes talking about cigars, wines, and scotch.  I really like this guy!

Part of the reason the medical discussion went so quickly is because as soon as I learned that the patient is sedated with a drug called Versed, I needed to hear little more.  This is the same drug they used for the colonoscopies, so I was an old pro at this one.  Understand that I have never done recreational drugs in my life (well, there was that one time at the Delta Chi house), but I now go around to cocktail parties, wedding receptions, and bar mitzvahs giving free testimonials about Versed.  What is sad is that my testimonials are more interesting than most conversations at these events, so I always have good attendance in my corner of the room.  There are a few jock-types standing around the hors d'oeuvre table discussing the Yankees, but there are really impressive numbers in my corner where I am discussing my favorite ultra short-acting benzodiazepine derivative.

In short, and I'm obviously being very non-technical, Versed works not only by relaxing and sedating the patient, but it results in total amnesia about the event that occurred while you were under the influence of the drug.  You are completely awake during the procedure, you can answer questions, and you are able to respond to the medical team's directives, but you remember absolutely none of the gagging and swallowing of the tube.  Think about that for a moment.  You realize they are putting 2-3 feet of tubing down your throat while they are doing it, not a very comfortable thought, but when you recover from the drug, you can not remember a single second of the experience from the time they injected the IV drug until you recover. 

Think of all the times in your life you wish you would have been under the influence of Versed.  Your boyfriend breaks up with you.  The next day you feel great, because you don't know you have no boyfriend.  Your boss fires you, the next day you feel great, but you don't know you are unemployed.  The stock market crashes as it did last year, but the next day you feel normal, even though you have no money for retirement.  Wow!

But there are two problems with this antidote for life's miseries.  First, you don't know when these adversities are going to occur, so you would have to be on Versed all the time to gain the benefit.  On your 50th birthday, you wouldn't have any memories until before your 20th, when you began the Versed regimen.  And second, eventually you will realize you don't have a boyfriend, and that you're unemployed and broke.  At that point, you would probably employ Plan B, which is to partake of a more common drug of choice, alcohol.  So Versed is not a long-term solution to life's problems.  But when it comes to someone in a white coat sticking a tube into one of your body's orifices, it is fantastic.  Who needs to remember the details about that?

Plus, I have always adopted the view that life is mostly about creating memories, which you can draw on later in life.  In fact, bad memories may be better than no memories at all.  Memories enrich life, help us realize that our time was not spent for nothing, give us something to discuss over and over, and entertain us when we are alone.  They represent material for sharing with others. But when you see the doc comin at ya with a tube and a camera attached, just say "a benzodiazepine derivative, thank you very much".

No comments:

Post a Comment