Pain Instead of Painting

Next Monday, I had been scheduled to attend my monthly oil painting class. I always look forward to going to this 3-hour class. It is a complete respite from thinking about my multiple medical problems, and their pervasive impact on my life.

Participating in this class allows me to be creative, which is very important to me. I also am leaning new painting techniques. It’s very gratifying to notice that the quality of my paintings has definitely improved, since I started this involvement last October.

Next Monday, however, I won’t be donning my paint apron, nor preparing my palette. I’ll be receiving a most uncomfortable, in-office bronchoscopy from my ENT surgeon. This is necessary in order to visualize the severity of my subglottic stenosis, prior to my next throat dilatation surgery.

It’s certainly far from the first time that my plans have needed to be changed, secondary to medical problems. Nor will it be the last, I’m certain. Despite receiving an anesthetic, having a bronchoscopy is most unpleasant.

I do use my training as a clinical health psychologist, nevertheless. I definitely use guided imagery to mentally transport me to another place while my surgeon is inserting the scope down the entire length of my airway.

Actually, I need to have this procedure performed both before and after every throat surgery. It’s required prior to surgery in order to see my degree of airway occlusion; it’s necessary after surgery to access how well I have healed. To date, I’ve had more than forty bronchoscopies. I’m certainly not happy that I need to go through this uncomfortable procedure yet again. I am especially upset that it will force me to not attend an activity that I truly enjoy.

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