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This one is about: Spiritual Preparation for Surgery


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The following is part of some conversation on cleft-talk an email discussion group.. regarding what else can be done to enhance healing... The two people talking are not doctors, just people sharing experience and knowledge.

One parent writes:

Hi, please elaborate more on what you said:

I strongly believe that when it comes to cleft surgery, "spiritual respect and intention with regard to the body" are almost as important as good technique.

I am very interested in learning more.

I was about to post some questions with regard to boosting our overall robust-ness in preparation for surgery in July (if it goes). Especially my child's, but also the other members of my family, since we will all be dealing with a new kind of stress. Here is my question: What kinds of things can we do to build stamina, endurance, healing, mental readiness? I already know that she will be taking iron supplements during her blood donations. I also want to use Joanne's calcium regimen for bone building (she will be having grafting, and will need to knit those bones in her face together). She's getting lots of fresh air, and we are walking to school twice a week to increase exercise. I've mailed her clinic to ask for a nutrition consult to find out how much extra calcium etc she can safely take.

But in addition to the conventional medicine and wisdom, I'd like to know what else we can be doing.

Any suggestions for me to explore? Thanks.

Response:

One of the best things that I've seen written on the subject of spiritual preparation for surgery is called, (if I can remember it correctly)

_Rituals of Healing_  by Jeanne Acterberg, RN

and someone else with a PhD. (Should be in health/alternative section of local bookstore -- it has a green cover -- a friend of mine who just had surgery said the visualizations and things were really helpful before her surgery to keep calm and positive, and to help her spiritual body/mind come to terms with what was happening). It's written for adults, but I think that you could probably translate some of the stuff for kids (who might think the drawing/visualizations were cool). Kids are much better at this stuff than adults!

About spiritual intention being as important as technical skill--there are now lots of studies that say that the patient absorbs the conversation and attitudes that are in the OR--(responding to suggestions that they will have an easy recovery, that sort of thing.)  Also, any negative things (subjective comments about body image, that kind of thing)
stick, too. Cluing a surgeon in on the fact that you are familiar with these studies can at least gently get him/her on the same wavelength.

But, I guess on a general level, I mean that a plastic surgeon and team need to have a really good understanding that they are being entrusted with a precious body/mind whenever they operate, and that there's a sacred aspect of what they do when they go inside someone's boundaries like that. (I believe Achterberg goes into some of the cultural anthropology of physical/spiritual boundaries, and what it means when you cross them.) Don't mean to sound "Oregon West Coast Woo Woo", but I wish that some of the medical people I had contact with had understood their spiritual role more. (Some of them, while polite, were very cold and clinical, and in some cases, actually yelled at ME because they were frustrated that my "case" wasn't going well) Onward and upward in the
medical profession, eh?


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