iPod or Headphones in surgery?

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With all the news and research about the numerous benefits of music for the patient undergoing surgery, many people are wondering if actual headphones or iPod earbuds are best. At this point, I would say that overall, headphones are best, primarily because they will have a more secure fit. There are many cases in which the iPod would probably be fine but my experience is that with some patients they just don’t stay in the ear securely. Babyboomers and older are not used to earbuds and so are probably better off with full headphones that comfortably cover the entire ear. After all, one of the benefits is blocking conversations that the medical staff might be having that the patient doesn’t need to hear. Please write to me on this blog with your questions and concerns.
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An interesting surgery experience

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Recently, a friend of mine’s son had to have brain surgery. Thankfully, the tumor was benign and he is recovering fabulously well, but over coffee the other day, the father related an interesting and humorous experience his son had while coming out of the anesthesia. Apparently he was thinking of the new TV Show “Deal or No Deal.” In his “dream state” he was playing the game and was asked “deal or no deal.” He said “deal” and when the pretty girl opened the case, in it was a NEW BRAIN!
What does this have to do with music? Nothing, but I thought my readers would enjoy the story! Actually I will say this: if my friend had been wearing headphone (or earbuds in this case since it was brain surgery) he might or might not have had this dream. I believe that music affects the thoughts and probably dreams of people who are listening. In this case, the dream was funny and amusing. I believe that the chances for a positive surgical experience are greatly increased when listening to music through headphones or earbuds.
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Music for Surgery: Profile of Hysterectomy Patient

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This past week, a dear friend of mine experienced a surgery that she was not looking forward to. (But then, who does look forward to surgery?) She had known for some time that she needed to have some large fibroid tumors removed, but did not think she would need a complete hysterectomy until a month before she had it. We talked many times about how she would use music before, during and after the surgery, but she had no idea how glad she would be that she had it ready to go when she arrived at the hospital that morning.

My friend had carefully chosen Handel’s “Watermusic Suite” to have playing through headphones during the surgery, but almost as soon as she arrived, things began to go awry. During the wait to be called back for getting into a gown and getting the IV started, she began listening to her chosen music. When she was finally called in, thee staff wouldn’t allow any family members to go with her although all she was doing was changing clothes and she was clearly scared beyond what she expected. They finally did let her sister and me go back but then informed her that they couldn’t find any of her pre-surgery blood work and would have to do it all again! She turned up her music and stuck out her arm for a repeat of the procedure she dreads so much. Shortly after that, a nurse came in telling her that they had found the blood work from three days before. My friend almost started crying but instead looked at us and pressed repeat on the CD Walkman.Then the anesthesiologist arrived. She was a woman in her forties at most, and was “all business.” There was no smile, no “how are you doing?” nothing. She even began to berate my friend when informed that someone had donated blood for her, saying that she was sure they wouldn’t use it unless it had been typed for an exact match. My friend said “but O+ is the universal donor for other + types and the doctor glared and said “I know that!!!”

It was like a scene from a bad soap opera but my friend remained steadfast now with her trusty CD player mostly obliterating the conversation that her sister and I were having with this physician.Finally, the surgeon entered the room and she was as kind as could be. Soon, my friend was wheeled away and the OR staff assured us they would change the CD to the recovery music once the surgery was finished. This, they did. We never expected these kinks in the process, but my friend has said that the music made such a difference in being able to tolerate these difficulties and that in the recovery room, she was able to recognize the music she had chosen. The familiarity provided comfort and reassurance to her that words could not have provided. Studies continue to come out that document this anecdotal report.

Please remember this when you or a friend needs surgery. It is so easy and so worthwhile. My “Music for Surgery “ audio tapes are intended to help prepare you mentally, emotionally and spiritually for surgery. They work well for the preop, operative and postop periods of your surgical experience. I also offer links to amazing music for purchase through Amazon online that can also help significantly. You won’t believe the results!

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