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#1
Old 02-14-2008, 05:12 PM
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General Anesthesia, what is it like?

I'm having a minor surgery for sleep apnea next week, and I will be put under general anesthesia. Now, I know that I am blessed compared to any number of people with serious surgeries, but I have never been "put under" before, and am a little scared of the loss of control aspect.

Are the drugs mentally comforting as you are drifting off, or is it a "My God, I'm going under, maybe dying and I CAN'T MOVE!" feeling for some people?

Ten years ago, I had my wisdom teeth taken out and was given an IV drip which they called "twilight sleep". When that stuff hit me, I could have been in heaven. I wanted to bottle it up and take it home.

Is this similar? Many thanks..
#2
Old 02-14-2008, 05:15 PM
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It's not a scary or uncomfortable feeling from my experience. You will likely not remember much about it after the fact.

It's not uncommon for patients to get sick to their stomach after they wake up so you might ask for a drug that reduces the chance of that happening.
#3
Old 02-14-2008, 05:15 PM
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Not in my experience. To me, it was like a black curtain descending (not in a scary way). I had to count back from 100 and got to about 97 and.... oblivion. No thought, no sensation, no awareness until my anesthesia was reversed after the procedure.

I hope your surgery goes well.
#4
Old 02-14-2008, 05:24 PM
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I've been under once. I don't even remember the countdown. They put the mask on, I guess I felt kinda tired (I really don't remember), close my eyes, and when I open them I'm in recovery. Not at all like sleeping, just empty time.
#5
Old 02-14-2008, 05:24 PM
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It knocks you out so quickly you know nothing about it, it's not like going to sleep where you gradually slip off. One minute the anesthesist is telling you to breath deeply next minute you're slowly coming to on a trolley.

One side effect I did find, is that evening I had very vivd and strange nightmares.
#6
Old 02-14-2008, 05:27 PM
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One minute you are awake, the next minute you are waking up in recovery. That has been my experience.
#7
Old 02-14-2008, 05:28 PM
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What everyone else has said. The only time I've had general anesthesia they gave me a happy pill earlier in the morning, so I wasn't worried about anything by the time they wheeled me into the OR.
#8
Old 02-14-2008, 05:34 PM
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What everyone here has said pretty much covers it. I've never been under a general myself but I work in the Recovery Room, so I help people wake up from it all the time. You can expect to feel sleepy, forgetful, and disconnected when you first wake up. You probably won't realize that your procedure is over at first. Your throat will be irritated from the endotracheal tube, and you will probably have a nasal cannula or oxygen mask on your face -- do NOT try to pull these off, as a) the oxygen helps you to wake up, and b) your nurses will become annoyed. If you have a history of post op nausea or of motion sickness, be sure to tell your anesthesiologist before you are put to sleep. They can give you medicines before you ever wake up to combat the nausea.

Good luck!
#9
Old 02-14-2008, 05:44 PM
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Thanks everyone:

1. I want this "happy pill"

2. I don't think I will have the endotracheal tube as the method, because it is a sleep apnea surgery with a removal of the tonsils, uvula, part of the soft palette and part of the base of the tongue...

I can't imagine a mask in that situation. Is there IV general anesthesia?
#10
Old 02-14-2008, 05:46 PM
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I had a IV as at least part of my last general anesthesia. I can't tell you if they used a mask after that because I "wasn't there." Or possibly they do something that only involves your nose, like oxygen.

Last edited by cher3; 02-14-2008 at 05:48 PM.
#11
Old 02-14-2008, 05:50 PM
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I had an IV anesthesia when I had my wisdom teeth pulled. I started feeling slightly loopy and the next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery. All in all, not a bad experience.
#12
Old 02-14-2008, 05:54 PM
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I was last under for wisdom teeth extraction. It was definitely an IV induction: There was no mask involved as far as I knew. I made some small talk with the surgeon and anesthesiologist for a few seconds before I woke up, laughing and puking and acting like a stereotypical "happy drunk", in post-op. Puking blood was never so much fun. From my perspective, there was no time in-between. I was flanked by "weepy", a young female who wouldn't stop crying, and "sleepy", a young male who didn't want to wake up.

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#13
Old 02-14-2008, 05:54 PM
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I don't even remember a countdown or a mask. One minute they're wheeling me down towards the O.R., and the next I'm waking up groggy.
#14
Old 02-14-2008, 05:54 PM
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Going under is no problem, but waking up seriously sucks, at least for me the one time I had to go under.

I didn't recognize people I knew. I recognized people I didn't know. I asked the nurse on a date, and told her she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I couldn't think, and was constantly struggling to make sense out of ordinary things I was seeing and feeling.

I actually couldn't connect being thirsty to asking for water. I think I asked someone for "one of those things, like a pencil. A cylinder!" when all I wanted was something to drink. I was so frustrated, struggling against literally every thought my brain produced. It was almost like talking to a sleepwalking person, where they "almost" make sense, except that I was awake and aware of how stupid I sounded.
#15
Old 02-14-2008, 06:07 PM
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My pre-surgery "happy pill" was gas through a nasal tube for the wisdom teeth and shots for the gall bladder and knee, but other than that, what everyone else said. It felt like time had been spliced. There was no there, there in the middle.

I think all three had the anesthesia in the IV. The knee folks were kind and put the happy shot into the saline IV. The gall bladder folks went for the tukas.
#16
Old 02-14-2008, 06:09 PM
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I had surgery when I was 8 or 10 and it was pretty unpleasant but mostly due to surprise - they didn't tell me what would happen. They told me to count down from 10, which I did, and when I got to about 8 my eyes began to close on their own. Surprised, I fought to keep them open but it was as if a hydraulic press were pushing down on my eyelids and I didn't have the strength to fight it. I didn't feel like I was falling asleep but rather that my body was being forcefully closed. I was out in a few seconds.

Had I actually been told that was going to happen, I don't think it'd have been that unpleasant - but it was scary, I thought something had gone wrong.

Waking up I can't remember - I had stitches to the side of and behind my eyes after the surgery so the discomfort of that trumped any other discomfort probably.
#17
Old 02-14-2008, 06:11 PM
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During my wisdom teeth IV sedation I didn't go completely under. My mom said that during her procedure she didn't remember anything.

I remember the whole thing, but I was happier than a mouse at Chucky Cheese. I remember the scalpel cutting my gums and a streamer of blood coming out of my mouth. I was happy at that, as it showed that the dentist was doing his duty. Damn those were good drugs. But they didn't put me under...
#18
Old 02-14-2008, 06:28 PM
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I am surprised no one mentioned a "hummmmm" that gets louder as you go under, blocking out all sound. Am I the only one that experiences this?
#19
Old 02-14-2008, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASAKMOTSD
I am surprised no one mentioned a "hummmmm" that gets louder as you go under, blocking out all sound. Am I the only one that experiences this?
That's sort of what happened to me with my surgeries for my decubitus ulcer (see my recent posts for more on that). Long long ago and far away I tried sniffing glue a few times as a teenager. Go under was sort of reminiscent of glue sniffing - ringing/humming, vision fading out from the periphery in, and then I woke up in recovery. A few years ago I had some bladder surgery; that time I had a distinct sensation of warmth in my arm when (I assume) they injected stuff into my IV and then I woke up in recovery, with no recollection of any other symptoms in between.

Last edited by Canadjun; 02-14-2008 at 06:38 PM. Reason: spelling
#20
Old 02-14-2008, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadjun
That's sort of what happened to me with my surgeries for my decubitus ulcer (see my recent posts for more on that). Long long ago and far away I tried sniffing glue a few times as a teenager. Go under was sort of reminiscent of glue sniffing - ringing/humming, vision fading out from the periphery in, and then I woke up in recovery. A few years ago I had some bladder surgery; that time I had a distinct sensation of warmth in my arm when (I assume) they injected stuff into my IV and then I woke up in recovery, with no recollection of any other symptoms in between.
When I was going under for a gastroenteroduodonectomy (they put in a camera to look around my stomach and throat) the nurse said "there may be a burning sensation" I never really felt it. Unlike others who felt an incredible groggyness when woken up I felt like I normally do when I wake up, a little bit heavy, the onyl difference (other than location) was doctors talkign to other patients, I think I actually (quietly) responded to a question to another patient. In my defense his name sounded a LOT like mine.

Edit, I don't want this to worry you at all OP. But there are a minute handful of people that have a general resistance to anesthesea and may wake up (completely immobile and numb) during it. I've heard accounts ranging from, "I'm too loopy to care" to "freaking horrifying." Like I said I wouldn't worry about it, it's like some of those side effects on medicines where they're like "ih yeah, one of our patients spontaniously combusted once so we figure we;ll put it down as a potential side effect."

Last edited by Jragon; 02-14-2008 at 06:47 PM.
#21
Old 02-14-2008, 06:44 PM
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The only part you need to worry about is if you are prone to barfing.

I barfed after surgery but it didn't matter except for when I had abdominal surgery and that was quite the thrilling experience, both times: holding a pillow to the incision so you didn't rip it open while you puked or coughed.

It didn't happen. Just felt like it might.
#22
Old 02-14-2008, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosier
Going under is no problem, but waking up seriously sucks, at least for me the one time I had to go under...
The only thing about going under last time I had general anesthesia was feeling like I was sinking into table. I don't remember waking up at all, but apparently I woke up screaming and started scaring the nurses and other patients in recovery.
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#23
Old 02-14-2008, 06:54 PM
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When I was a kid I didn't barf after surgery, but I do now. Or at least I did ten years ago, at 22, which was the last time I was put under.

That time the nice anesthesiologist showed up while I was waiting to go back and put something in my IV that, a few seconds later when it hit my brain, made the room go sideways. That's all I remember until waking up in recovery, the whole thing being over. And shortly after that, I found out that anesthesia makes adult whiterabbit puke. E The second drug they gave me for that finally worked.

I don't remember getting the insanely good drugs before my childhood surgeries, even my major back surgery at nine. But I also don't remember being particularly bothered by the process.
#24
Old 02-14-2008, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jragon
Edit, I don't want this to worry you at all OP. But there are a minute handful of people that have a general resistance to anesthesea and may wake up (completely immobile and numb) during it. I've heard accounts ranging from, "I'm too loopy to care" to "freaking horrifying." Like I said I wouldn't worry about it, it's like some of those side effects on medicines where they're like "ih yeah, one of our patients spontaniously combusted once so we figure we;ll put it down as a potential side effect."

Well, thank you for telling me not to worry, but that was the tertiary worry. The first being death from complications, the second being fear from going under, and the third from waking up because of resistence to the drugs.

I drank like a fish when I was young, and still drink like a thirsty dog. I have a large tolerance to most sedatives and these guys need to knock me the fuck out..

Thanks again to all of the posts...
#25
Old 02-14-2008, 07:41 PM
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I assure you I consumed many years worth of alcohol and other recreational substances and I don't even recall being asked to do the countdown. Suddenly I woke up in recovery and it was all over.

Not sure if this will relax you or frighten you, but my leg muscles were incredibly sore in the days after. Apparently people sometimes clench or struggle as they're coming out, and I was a big clencher and struggler. Again, I don't remember any of this, but I did apologize repeatedly as I am fairly big and strong and afraid that my struggling might have hurt somebody. This is just what I recall being told in recovery, it could as well just be my imagination.
#26
Old 02-14-2008, 08:05 PM
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They had me count backwards from 100 and I was out completely by 96. No sensation of "oh I'm falling asleeeeeeeep" - I was awake and then I was out.

I did get violently ill afterward, in recovery, and vomited hard about every 10 minutes for some number of hours. It was not pleasant.
#27
Old 02-14-2008, 08:06 PM
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Other people have basically implied it but there is one huge difference between going to sleep and having general anesthesia. There is almost no sense of time loss. When you go to sleep, you generally know that it took some time to go to sleep, some number of hours have passed while you are asleep, and then it took some time to wake up. That isn't the case with general anesthesia. They knock you out in seconds after some prep work then you wake up seemingly just a few seconds later with the surgery already completed. I have been under a few times and always refused to believe the whole thing was done because it seemed like no time had passed.
#28
Old 02-14-2008, 08:06 PM
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I've been under three times since last July. I was nervous lying on the operating table the first time, but don't even recall them putting the mask on me. I was already out from the IV drugs. The last time they put me out with gas. I remember little more than asking, is this gas or oxygen and being told it was the anesthesia. No count down just out.

I was worried about this waking up thing during the operation and asked the doctor about it. He said it was very very rare and usually found only in people quite sick.

I had no problems waking up or pain from the anesthesia at all.

Good luck
#29
Old 02-14-2008, 08:09 PM
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I've had at least a half dozen general anesthesia experiences. I was never nauseated. What everybody else said about 100, 99, wake up in recovery. The first time, I remember struggling to wake up, wanting to wake up, and finding it difficult to do so. By the most recent time, I can only say that maybe anesthesia and the associated techniques have improved. One second I was awake, next second I was fully awake again and the surgery was over. No grogginess, nothing. Just a period of time that was snipped out.
#30
Old 02-14-2008, 11:18 PM
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I’ve been there three times. The first, I was pretty loopy from some sedative beforehand, so I don’t recall much. I woke up thirsty, and they would not give me a Diet Coke, only apple juice, which gave me heartburn.

The second, I had an appendectomy, and I was chatting with the anesthesiologist in the hallway about what combination of drugs he would be using and why was it so damn cold. Then he told me bad jokes as they wheeled me in and knocked me out. Woke up thirsty, and got my Diet Coke. (Never did get the punch line to that last joke.)

The last time, I was having a tubal ligation, and my OB/GYN was patting my arm as I told her, “I’m starting to feel funny… is that because he’s… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” Woke up thirsty, and got 3 Diet Cokes. (That last surgery, however, I had dreams while I was under, and I can still remember them. For example, I dreamt that my oldest son, 5, was in charge of the babies, and I was horrified. I wonder if it was a different anesthesia or combination of such, but it was a little odd, for me. Could have been that I was 6 weeks post-partum, too.)

Upon waking, each time, I had the feeling of, “Ok, I’m still alive. Now I’m going to sleep this off for an hour or two.” Slightly groggy, drowsy, but quite comfortable.
#31
Old 02-14-2008, 11:31 PM
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I was put under with gas once to have my wisdom teeth out (and this weird mutant tooth that was growing out of the roof of my mouth, thank you very much). I remember starting to drift off, and all of a sudden the nurse took me into another room. I was very groggy and a little puzzled about why they weren't going ahead with the procedure. When she pulled a bloody wad of cotton out of my mouth, I realized they had.

When I had knee surgery I got an injection. I was strapped to a table just like the one they used for Sean Penn in "Dead Man Walking." I remember an ice cold feeling that seemed to be traveling through my veins. It was creepy but only lasted a few seconds. I was definitely aware that I was going under that time and although I was still groggy when I woke up I think I was knew that I had been operated on.
#32
Old 02-15-2008, 01:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
Other people have basically implied it but there is one huge difference between going to sleep and having general anesthesia. There is almost no sense of time loss. When you go to sleep, you generally know that it took some time to go to sleep, some number of hours have passed while you are asleep, and then it took some time to wake up. That isn't the case with general anesthesia. They knock you out in seconds after some prep work then you wake up seemingly just a few seconds later with the surgery already completed. I have been under a few times and always refused to believe the whole thing was done because it seemed like no time had passed.
Yeah, usually during sleep you form some memories, at least while you're gradually coming out of sleep and waking up. When you go under general anesthesia and it works like it should (which it almost always does), it's like you've stepped into a time machine and you skip right across from the time before the surgery to the waking up in the recovery room. I was pretty groggy and totally uninhibited after my wisdom teeth surgery--I kept getting up and stumbling around without meaning consciously meaning to. After my appendectomy, I was pretty tired but more or less normal otherwise.

Also, if you're nervous, they'll usually give you a Xanax or some other sedative a bit before the surgery. That usually makes the waiting a lot more tolerable.
#33
Old 02-15-2008, 02:02 AM
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I've had IV Midazolam for wisdom tooth extraction and that was unpleasant because I still had some memories, I was just distant from them with a weird blank in the middle.

General anaesthetic was nicer, totally clear memory right up until they asked me to start counting. I didn't feel icy cold or buring in my veins, but had a really unpleasant garlicky/oniony taste in my mouth from the Propofol. Woke up groggy but fine, just a bit tired, got 10mls of morphine and went back to sleep for a couple of hours, then read a book until my husband picked me up. I was fine the next day.

Not scary and they talk you through everything as they do it, so there's very little loss of control.
#34
Old 02-15-2008, 02:04 AM
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I've been put under three times, for an appendectomy, a knee surgery, and back surgery.

Did you ever get up too fast, or react badly to donating blood, and black out? Your last few thoughts start to get a little hazy and disconnected, and then you wake up and it's later. For my knee surgery, I was looking up at the ceiling of the OR and I noticed that the dots on the ceiling tiles appeared to be moving, and I got as far as thinking "I wonder if that means the drugs --" and then I woke up later. For my back surgery they gave me the meds before wheeling me to the OR. I was looking at the ceiling while they wheeled me, thinking they should make it look nicer for all the patients who get wheeled down the corridor on their backs. I think I remember looking up at the elevator door machinery. Then I was in the recovery room.

One thing I've noticed is that when I woke up I was freezing. After the back surgery they put on this blanket that puffed up with hot air to warm me up -- man I wish I could have one of those at home!

(I'm wondering what surgery I'm gonna end up having next ... I usually say that I'll complete the Old Person Trifecta by getting a hip replacement by the time I'm 35, but actually I'm betting it'll be my wrist ...)
#35
Old 02-15-2008, 03:12 AM
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You absolutely will have an endotracheal tube for this procedure because they are working in your throat and a tube is needed to protect your airway from blood and/or irrigation fluids during surgery. However, they won't put the tube in until they have knocked you out with IV anesthesia and they will remove it before you are awake enough to remember it.

It is not unusual for patients to have some old blood in their stomach post-op because it tends to trickle down your throat during surgery. This may cause you to vomit some dark blood if your tummy is sensitive. Don't worry (unless it is a massive amount of bright red blood). This is normal. Also, you may be surprised at the post-op pain. The throat is a sensitive place - make sure you get a prescription for a serious painkiller.

I wish you the best of luck and hope this will fix your sleep apnea. If it does the trick, you should feel a lot better as soon as you heal.
#36
Old 02-15-2008, 04:25 AM
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The only time I went under I found myself floating up, up above my body, and saw the legend 'lekatt was right!' written in the dust on top of the light fittings...
#37
Old 02-15-2008, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vison
The only part you need to worry about is if you are prone to barfing.
I've been knocked out for surgery four times in my life, and the only time this has happened to me was when I was given gas through a mask rather than whatever comes through the IV.

The last time, when I had my knee worked on, I was given an injection a little before being wheeled down to the OR. This already made me pretty calm and drowsy. As the doctors spoke to me I felt like I'd shown up drunk to an important meeting and had to fake sobriety. As the happy juice started coming down the IV, I began feeling very warm and heavy. I think I asked if it was ok to go to sleep now, and that was it.

Waking up, I just felt sleepy and vaguely uncomfortable (tubes in all five limbs will do that). I was alert enough to understand what my doctor and wife were telling me (although I can't remember if they spoke in Japanese or English), and I was aware that I ought to be in a lot of discomfort, so I should savor as much unconsciousness as I can and go back to sleep.
#38
Old 02-15-2008, 06:15 AM
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My experiences have been a bit different than most people here. I've been put under twice, for wisdom teeth and for an appendectomy. Both times it seemed that I was aware that some time had passed, much like when waking in the morning. The only times I've ever felt like time passed in an instant were when I've gotten knocked out, which was a totally different experience from either sleep or general anesthesia.
#39
Old 02-15-2008, 07:28 AM
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I had my first general a couple months ago. I'm in my late 40s.

They started a saline IV in the prep room then wheeled me into the OR. As best I could tell it was pure saline, no pre-relaxer drugs. The anesthesiologist said they were going to start infusing the anaesthetic via the IV, I started to say "I feel a mild buzz" & never got the sentence complete in my head, much less out of my mouth.

An hour later I came to in the recovery room and was alert & aware & talkative from the moment I was awake.

I can't tell you how much twilight there may have been at either end which I just don't recall. From my perception it was like a light switch: instant off, then instant on.

I felt kinda lazy for the rest of the day & slept normally that night.

Modern technology is really amazing.
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#40
Old 02-15-2008, 08:54 AM
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The last general I was under was for my wisdom teeth, when I was 15. I will say up front that my "going under" experience was pretty much exactly like what others here describe: a black curtain, or a near-instant THUD into dreamland. There's no time to panic, and as it starts to set in, it relaxes you to such an extent that I can't imagine feeling any panic.

I should say, however, that I did wake up during the surgery. That was weird. I remember opening my eyes and seeing people in white wearing surgical caps and masks over me. I remember thinking, "Wait, I'm not supposed to be awake," and consciously closing my eyes again. And then I woke up in recovery. There was no panic or pain whatsoever. So, it was strange, but it didn't really bother me.

Also, unlike others here, I didn't have a bad reaction to the stuff. No vomiting at all. My brother, when he had his done, puked his toenails up for two days straight, though, so I suppose you never can tell how it'll affect you.
#41
Old 02-15-2008, 09:10 AM
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I've been put under with gas and with an IV. It's nothing - I mean, there's not a hole in your memory, you just go from "10... 9...." to "when are you going to start?" I remember being confused because I'd just closed my eyes and the ceiling changed. I felt fine and couldn't understand why they made me lie down all that time, and why on earth they made me leave in a wheelchair... and then my dad had to carry me in from the car.
#42
Old 02-15-2008, 09:13 AM
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I was put under for a hernia operation a few years ago. They wheeled me in to the OR, had me covered in nice warm blankets, and the anaesthesiologist came over and introduced himself. I didn't have to count backwards, but he did ask me some questions like he was making small talk, and I'm pretty sure I just went out in the middle of a response. The next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery. It was like the best nap I'd ever had in my life.
#43
Old 02-15-2008, 09:23 AM
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It was basically like turning off a light, for me. The first surgery, I don't even recall anything after beine wheeled through the pre-surgical prep area. I remember being rolled out of the cube, then I woke up. No nausea, no fear. Just wobbly. And they sort of rushed me out, because it was a same-day surgery center (gallbladder removal) and I was one of the last patients. The second surgery, I remember being moved fromt he gurney to the operating table. I remember thinking how small and bright the operating room was, nothing like on TV. Then I was in recovery. I had to stay in the recovery area for 6 hours, while patients came and went, because the surgeon was afraid I might hemorrage and she wanted me watched closer and longer than usual. I had one shot of pain med in my IV, and before they were going to move me, I was ready for more pain meds. The nurse said I'd get some when I got to my room. When I got there, the floor nurses said the surgeon wouldn't approve anything in my IV, and I had a pill to swallow. Only I'd just had my thyroid removed, it'd been much more involved than they were expecting, and I couldn't swallow a pill to save my life. So I never had any pain meds after the recovery room. But no nausea or confusion (that I remember) from the anesthesia.

StG
#44
Old 02-15-2008, 09:54 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Eastern Connecticut
Posts: 16,520
It is fantastic if you have had a bad, sleepless week full of labwork and stress ...

The only thing I didnt like was being cold as you are only given a sheet while on the gurney for being rolled to pre-op. I HATE being cold!

The nothingness is fascinating. I didnt get any pre op sedation, I dont get nervous. Once was gas induced, 4 times IV induced. Mainly I get a count backwards from 100 and get to 98 and then I pop awake coherent and ravenously hungry, and freezing my ass off to the point of the whole electric blanket thing because I am shivering hard enough to pretty much need rails to keep from falling off the bed because I have no coordination and am shaking like you would not believe. That phase seems to last about 15 minutes, then I am fine. Pretty much 45 minutes to an hour and I was pushed out and into the room until the doc came in and cleared me - mrAru always brings me something to eat and drink because I detest apple juice, sprite and fruit cup. I prefer iced tea and chicken nuggets... the time I was in having a tumor removed, the nurse came in to see if I thought i would like to try to eat and drink something I was half way through a 20 piece mcnuggets and a supersized iced tea. Of course I pretty much hadnt eaten for about 3 days [they kept running me through radiology and diagnostics, and everything was pretty much dont eat, do this prep kit, and sit around here until it is too late to actually get something to eat before you hit the nothing by mouth time damn navy hospitals - hurry up and wait.

Odd thing is I just had a parathyroid out in October, and did the PT sedation for it [the Doc wanted me awake, and the gas passer told horrible jokes, but we had good conversation about other stuff - we were both SF readers and discussed favorite authors and series. ] On that one I believe I had versed IV just before the kickoff because I really dont remember my neck being shot up with the local, just sort of chatting with people, and an occasional tugging feeling makign it through, and an occasional twinge when it was time for more lido to be placed. I got the chills and shakes just about the time the were taking the sterile fields down, and having about 4 warmed blankets piled on me until I got to recovery when I got teh electric blanket. 45 minutes later the surgeon came in and released us. Took about 30 minutes to finish getting signed out, the chair and the car retrieved from parking.
#45
Old 02-15-2008, 10:21 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 36,850
I was knocked out with IVs. No pain, no panic, no fear. The anesthetist said, "OK, I am going to put you to sleep now", he shot the stuff into the IV line, and I said to myself "Gee, my arm feels cold" and I was in recovery.

Don't worry about it. It is, rather literally, nothing.

Regards,
Shodan
#46
Old 02-15-2008, 10:36 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Wilds of WV
Posts: 10,652
In the past 20 years, I've had general anesthesia more than a dozen times. Here's how my experiences have been, and what I've learned:
1. I've had gas-induced (they put the mask over your mouth, tell you to count backwards from ten, I never make it past 7) and IV induced; the meds they put in the IV burn, if it's in a small vein. I could feel it moving up my vein, as if someone had lit a match, blown it out, and was running the still-burning-hot match head up my arm; but it doesn't burn for long, because then I'm out. Whichever type they use (and more recently, it's all been IV), they put an oxygen mask over my mouth and nose for a few minutes prior to knocking me out, to "oxygenize" me.
2. Relaxing drugs. Some anesthesiologists seem to give this as a matter of course. With others, if you want something, ask. If you do want something (Versed is the most common, though it does nothing for me, many, many people like it a lot), and the anesthesiologist doesn't mention it, just inquire.
3. Passage of time doesn't seem to exist for me when I'm under. It's like someone found my "off switch".
4. Waking up in the recovery room, the nurse always asks if I'm in pain, and if I'm nauseated. I usually am in pain, so that's a no-brainer. But even if I'm not nauseated, I tell her I am. I've thrown up from general anesthesia before, it's nasty, and I'd rather head it off at the pass. I generally request Zofran, as the other frequently used anti-nausea, Phenergan, is a narcotic antagonist, and means the nice shot of morphine she just gave me won't work as well.
5. I'm always cold when I wake up too. I've found it best to be very direct. Instead of just saying "I'm cold" I'll say "Could I have a couple of blankets, please? I'd prefer the heated kind if you've got them", and instead of saying "My throat's awfully dry", I'll say "Would you check and see when I can have some ice chips?" (though they usually won't give you ice chips until your nausea is under control).
6. As for your alcohol consumption, the anesthesiologist will ask you about this before sedating you. Be honest with him (or her; most are men, but I've had a few women, too). Be honest about the idea that you might be more resistant to anesthesia because you drink pretty frequently. I have one friend, a tiny thing, who's always afraid they're not going to give her enough anesthetic, and when they ask her weight her default response is "300 pounds"!
Be aware and reassured that the anesthesiologist and doctors have lots of sophisticated equipment designed to tell them if you're under deeply enough for them to proceed.

Best of luck!
#47
Old 02-15-2008, 11:27 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Alamo City
Posts: 4,444
Last time I had it, I remember feeling very relaxed and heavy and cold as I went out (the coldness might have just been a cool operating room). I got a shot to get me going on the way to sleepytown, and then the real stuff in the operating room. When I woke up, I was back in my hospital room and I felt completely awake and talked very excitedly to my parents who had arrived from out of town at the hospital while I was in surgery. But after a few short minutes I felt exhausted and fell back asleep for some time. I puked once after my first post surgery meal. I also had a inhaler treatment as my asthma was bothering me. But after the one puke and my lungs cleared up, I felt as normal as I could be, given my abdominal surgery.
#48
Old 02-15-2008, 11:30 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Apple Core
Posts: 7,303
I was put under for my wisdom teeth extraction a few years back. I remember them putting the mask on me, and they told me to count backwards from 100. I got to about 97 and giggled, for some reason, and then got to 96...

And then they were asking me if I could stand up and walk out to the recovery room. The time spent during the surgery is just gone- it's actually kind of creepy if you think about it.
#49
Old 02-15-2008, 11:58 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Wilds of WV
Posts: 10,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ligtnin'
it's actually kind of creepy if you think about it.
I agree, so I try not to think about it!

Seriously, it is kind of creepy; I told my husband once, "they call it 'putting you to sleep', but it's not like sleep. It's more like being temporarily dead". But I try not to think about it because when I need surgical procedures, I need surgical procedures.

I did used to worry about that whole "conscious during anesthesia" thing. But I voiced my concern to my urologist, who pointed out that, by that time, I'd been "under" probably a half-dozen times, and if that was going to happen, it would have already happened. That relaxed me about that. Plus, they really do have more sophisticated monitoring equipment now that's supposed to be able to tell them when you're really 'under' and when you're just paralyzed!
#50
Old 02-15-2008, 12:51 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Almost Silicon Valley
Posts: 9,092
I see some folks remarking how freezing it is in surgery. That was the case for me - it felt like you could chill beer in there. I asked the nurse how she could stand working in such cold, and she said I was just feeling it more because I was sick (I was having an inflamed gall bladder out). Then she got a blanket out of a heating closet and put it over me. I guess the fact that I was lying there virtually naked might have had something to do with feeling freezing, too.

Last edited by teela brown; 02-15-2008 at 12:52 PM.
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