Jonathan Colvin wrote:
I've sometimes wondered whether some anaesthetics might work this way: put
you into a state of paralysis, and affect your short term memory. So you
actually experience the doctor cutting you open, with all the concommitant
pain, but you can't report it at the time and forget about it afterwards. If
you knew an anaesthetic worked that way, would you agree to have it used on
you for surgery?
Here is a similar situation.
I had a medical procedure performed using something called "conscious
sedation." In this technique, a drug was administered (Versed in my
case) which allowed me to retain consciousness and even engage my doctor
in conversation. Yet no long term memories were "laid down."
This temporary anterograde amnesia is the same experience as above,
except I wasn't paralyzed and was free to report any experienced pain to
In my case, this was a (supposedly) mildly painful procedure, yet I in
fact have a puzzling gap in my continuity of memory and have no
recollection of any pain (or of anything else) during that time period.
For all I know, I was in agony and had to be in full restraints to
allow things to proceed--without anyone telling me what happened, I have
no way to know.
Today I'd do this again without hesitation. I wish my dentist were
licensed to do this so the next time I have to have a root canal I can
have no memory of it afterwards.
(As an aside, Versed is quick to act but slow to recover. It's very
difficult to describe the 1st person experience here but I have memories
of something I can only call "gradual awareness" that got better over a
period of a couple hours, yet the nursing staff said I was talking to
them on and off during this whole period. Weird.)