Sunday, November 8, 2009

Best anesthesia song ever

I'm talking of songs about legally prescribed sedation, not illicit drugs. So that eliminates most rock songs like "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" and "White Rabbit" (though that is now street slang for propofol). Every time I hear this song I feel like the song was written by an anesthesiologist. Not only is it a great song about anesthesia, according to Wikipedia this song contains one of the greatest guitar solos of all time and was voted the best song ever by this band. Of course I'm referring to Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" from their album "The Wall." Most people probably could relate more with "Another Brick In The Wall" with its rebellious anthem "We don't need no education. We don't need no thought control." But as an anesthesiologist "Comfortably Numb" makes me feel like I had written the song myself if I was ever that brilliant. Sometimes I'll say a couple of these lines almost verbatim to a patient when I'm taking a history. Unfortunately nobody has ever accused me of being the next Roger Waters.

Come on now. I hear you're feeling down.
I can ease your pain, get you on your feet again.

Relax I'll need some information first.
Just the basic facts. Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain you are receding.
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying.

O.K. just a little pin prick.
There'll be no more aaaaaah!
But you may feel a little sick.

Can you stand up?
I do believe it's working good.
That'll keep you going through the show.
Come on it's time to go.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, the song was conceived during Pink Floyd's concert tour promoting their Animals album in 1977. Waters was having severe stomach cramps in Philadelphia when the house doctor came and gave him a tranquilizer so he could continue the show. Ah the sacrifices great artists make for their art. I thought about including a YouTube clip of "Comfortably Numb" from their movie "The Wall" on this blog but I didn't like the movie much and the visuals distract from the poetic lyrics so I'll let you readers surf over there yourself if you're interested. A must have song on any anesthesiologist's playlist.

A close second for best song about sedation might be The Rolling Stones "Mother's Little Helper." However that song's subject might be more appropriate for a psychiatrist's playlist than an anesthesiologist's.

1 comment:

  1. If you don't know it already, check out "Entangled" by Genesis. It's not iconic like "Comfortably Numb", but it does end with
    "Well, thanks to our kindness and skill
    You'll have no trouble until
    You catch your breath
    And the nurse will present you the bill"