“The mind creates the abyss…”

There can be no overstating the importance of clear and informative communication. This is particularly true in the health profession where medico’s of all persuasions hold the balance of power.

Regardless of your own educational background you should never down play the propensity of your brain to park itself at the door and refuse to come in and assist you; in the waiting room, the Dr’s surgery, the MRI et alibi. It has certainly been the modus operandi of my brain and I know more highly educated people than me that have similarly experienced this phenomenon.

The paperwork requested an ‘ Imagine Guided Injection’. I imagine, in the circles in the know, it is referred to as an ‘IGI’.

The receptionist, when I made the appointment, said ‘the procedure will take 30 – 45 minutes’.

My brain heard ‘THE PROCEDURE will take 30 – 45 minutes.

How my brain processed it (based on what it saw and heard): You are going to be subjected to a probing injection for 30 – 45 minutes. The first needle will be a local anesthetic. The next, ‘guided’, needle will slither its’ way around your hip joint like a writhing long snake searching for the right place to inject its venom (never mind that I have a realistic grasp of basic human anatomy and that this is ridiculous).

My brain has just gone into ‘fright mode’. This has lead to my amygdala hijacking my neocortex. Ipso facto  I have no capacity for rational thought and I now have a week to stew over THE PROCEDURE.  The reptilian part of my brain is well and truly in control. Something it is prone to whenever medico’s enter my field of (in)comprehension.

Amygdala hijack 101 (please note this is a diagrammatic representation of a brain; any resemblance to my real brain, living or dead, is purely coincidental) Click on image for a larger view.

I realised that my brain had set my body into spin when my normally quiet ectopic heartbeats made themselves ‘heard’, well more accurately, felt. My heart was all  flutter the morning of the day I was to have THE PROCEDURE.

So what really happened…

  • deal with the receptionist to set me up on system (~3min),
  • fill out forms (~3min)
  • wait be called (~5min)
  • guided to a little cubicle, go through the usual questions about allergies, heart issues, are you pregnant, be shown how to put the gown on (backwards of course), wait around again until called. (~10min)
  • taken into the x-ray room and settled on the bed, a bit of fiddling on the x-ray machine and then a further few minutes of small talk with the nurse while waiting for the Dr (~5min)
  • Dr arrives; introduced to Dr, previous questions repeated (~5min)
  • Dr and nurse compare notes, check medications (~2min)
  • x-ray images of hip taken and texta dot drawn on my hip where (snake) injection site will be (amygdala really kicking in)(~2min)
  • alcohol applied to clean the area, drape put over hip, local anaesthetic given, wait a few minutes, ‘you’ll feel a bit of pressure’, main injection given, bit of pain (note: this is THE actual PROCEDURE) (~5min)
  • ‘all done’
  • get changed, pay bill and wait for x-ray image (~5min)

Yep it took about ~45 minutes of which THE PROCEDURE took about 5! Needle pretty much in and out. No serpent writhing and wreaking havoc in my joint.


Yep that’s me hip complete with needles! Proof positive that no serpent was involved!

At the time of writing this, some eight hours after THE PROCEDURE, I don’t even have a visible bruise at the injection site. This, however, won’t be enough, in the future,to prevent my mind from creating another abyss, and for my heart to blindly follow it on an angst ridden ride into it.

“The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (who, if you are interested, was an Indian spiritual teacher and philosopher of Advaita (Nondualism)).

Where does your amygdala take you?

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