Most psychology students or graduates (like myself) know the stories and experiments of Ivan Pavlov.
By: Robin Harry
Today I was at work at the hospital. I work in an outpatient unit, but there’s an inpatient ward just down the hall, and sometimes the patients get bored and take a walk down our hallway. This morning, a patient was walking around with an IV infusion pump which kept making that “beep-boop…beep-boop” sound. It’s a sound I’ve become very, very familiar with during chemotherapy; the IV pump makes that sound whenever the infusion stops – either the drug is done being pumped into the veins, or the tube is bent somewhere so the drug isn’t flowing through the IV. So today, each time I heard the sound I would just think to myself, “Uh-oh, someone’s IV needs checking..” and get back to whatever it is I was working on.
Now, a few times during the morning, I felt a little bit sick, kinda nauseated. It never lasted very long, but I wasn’t sure why I felt sick in the first place. I’m well between chemo sessions, no new medications, I wasn’t hot flashing, I hadn’t eaten anything weird, I was well hydrated. So I wasn’t sure what was going on. And then around noon, when I was having another flash of nausea, I think someone in our office mentioned the noise outside. And that’s when I realized what was going on! The stupid “beep-boop” infusion pump sound is so married to my sicky chemotherapy sessions, just the sound on its own is enough to make me feel sick! FASCINATING!
After I realized that was what was happening, it was pretty unmistakeable. Every time I heard the sound in the hall after that, the wave of nausea was right behind it. And even when I was telling a colleague about it and imagining the sound in my head, it made me feel sick. It’s one thing to study conditioning in school, it’s quite another to see how clearly I had been conditioned. And to think, behaviour modification was one of my worst classes in my psych degree. Poor Pavlov’s dog…
Other Side Effects:
Hot Flashes and Neuropathy