I had a puzzling experience last year when I had surgery on my left shoulder. The anaesthetist administered a pain block which normally lasts for about thirty hours, doing away with the need morphine as a pain relief. Apparently, as I began to regain consciousness after surgery I must have been showing signs of considerable pain because the nurses taking care of me, were urgently seeking morphine to reduce the pain. I was barely aware of what was happening. The next day when my anaesthetist visited me, she told me that the pain block had been functioning perfectly during the surgery; it was only when I was in recovery that it became obvious I was in considerable pain. She could not explain this. I had been administered pain blocks in previous surgeries and they had always blocked pain for over twenty-four hours.
There is always a good reason for any event in my life, so I set my mind to reason out the purpose to that experience. Four months prior to my surgery a good friend of mine died. He had been fighting cancer and resisted taking morphine for pain relief because for him, that meant death and he was fighting to live. A few days before he died he finally accepted morphine and in doing so, he accepted his death.
He and I understood each other well and so strong was this connection that on his death his consciousness became embedded in me; he took over and lived his fears and feelings through me, as he adjusted to his life after death. Gradually I came to understand why the pain block had only worked while I was under the anaesthetic. As I slowly returned to consciousness after the surgery, his consciousness once again took over; his foremost thoughts were of pain and the need for morphine; these feelings and need were expressed through me. In this way he came to terms with that distressing time and was able to move on.
However the experience does highlight just how we can be affected by someone who has died and the experience was necessary so that I could understand the implications; we need to recognise our own reactions so as to differentiate one from another.