What if the surgeon started slicing into my knee before it was completely numb?
That was my biggest fear, while weighing whether to remain alert and watch the operation on the cartilage in my right knee, or to be put to sleep, preserving my peaceful ignorance.
Rational or otherwise, my reasons for staying awake — an option increasingly taken by patients, the subject of the accompanying article — prevailed.
1) I don't like general anesthesia's side effects.
2) For a long year, my knee pain had resisted straightforward diagnosis and treatment. I wanted an ah-ha! glimpse of the problem.
3) Ever since I was a child, I have watched when the doctor gives me an injection. Not because I am brave, masochistic or even curious. On the contrary. Looking away, I imagine something far scarier. So watching a medical procedure has always been a form of self-soothing.