Friday, March 7, 2008

Why I Hate Anesthesia

1. During anesthesia, wake up. Each and every time, especially on Versed, otherwise known as truth serum.
2. While awake, reveal your deepest secrets, ones you had not even thought were secrets because the Conscious and Unconscious never conferred and said, "hey, maybe you don't want to say that." Realize with horror what you say at the time, but there's a disconnect between lips and brain. The lips are in control. The brain looks on but is unable to act to save itself. There are things that only two people should know about, and the other person is not someone in the surgery room. Make other confessions about issues you haven't even clarified with yourself and are not even sure are entirely true.
3. Eventually, have a reaction to the anesthesia because you are recovering from a respiratory infection that's lasted weeks and you didn't want to keep postponing. Uncontrollable coughing where you cannot take in any air. Wake up as doctor pats you on the back and says that you need to stop coughing. Try to stop coughing, but keep coughing. Tell nurse to remove socks because you're too hot, and you know being hot makes you cough more. Get drowsy again. Think you're at home. Ask someone to rub your back, thinking it's your husband. Wake up again when people laugh. Say something about sex and backrubs and husband. People stop laughing. Realize you've said something really wrong.
4. Conclude from surgery prep and someone messing with your very low back that sexual assault by some random stranger is about to happen. And that you're unable to act. Give doctor an earful and chewing out. Later, remember not being still. For a spinal procedure. Pass out again.
5. Wake up a minute later shrieking in 12-level pain on a scale of 10. Shake all over, uncontrollably, from pain. Hear doctor say, "good grief." Pray aloud for Gabriel and Michael to intercede on your behalf, because God seems to have taken a step back. Pass out again. Seconds later, yell at husband to turn music in the surgery room off and let the dog out. Apologize, saying you thought you were at home again (as if you shriek at people at home). Pass out again.
(If during wisdom tooth extraction, freak out about huge metal thing being put in your mouth and what's happening to your teeth. Realize this won't last forever. Pray you'll pass out again. Pass out again.
If during colonoscopy, freak out nurse and GI doctor (oh yes, very long time since you've seen her) by suddenly saying, "cool," and asking about the pictures on the screen.)
6. Wake up again. Say something about how this is a lot like time travel. Pass out again. Hear random comments of anesthesiologist, and respond to them with your own opinion. Everyone stops talking.
7. Wake up again when they're transferring you. The anesthesiologist tells you they almost had to stop the procedure completely, that they gave you Versed, the truth serum, after waking you up from the other drug and letting it wear off a little. Recognizing "Versed" and you don't mix, ask over and over, "I didn't say anything did I? Did I?"
8. Doctor comes in to talk to you and husband. He looks concerned but won't look your husband in the eye.
9. Get dressed. Realizing your socks are not on, recognize that those distant memories of discussing them with the nurse and the other memories did not happen ten years ago and weren't some weird dream but happened within the last half hour.
10. Remember later there's always a follow-up appointment scheduled--which you've been known to "forget." Can't forget with this doctor, follow-up too important.
11. Go to restroom. Look in mirror as you wash your hands. Look in horror at burst blood vessels around your eyes from coughing so much and not getting enough air.
12. Resolve not to go under again.
13. Later, when doctor recommends going under again, say that you don't think that's a good idea. Be glad he's so nice as to say, "oh...but you were sick then." Stupidly agree to go under again.
14. Hope that this time you won't talk on Versed.


Elizabeth McClung said...

This is very well and humorously written and reminds me of my own issues with anesthetic and how the second time (after Linda told me the first time I STARTED with "My brother sexual abused me when I was prepubescent" and then went on endlessly from them, both during "sedation" and waking up - of which I thankfully have no memory). I decided to just not ask anymore what I might have said. Apparently my mother, who could teach the CIA tricks on avoiding telling basic info just had the SAME truth serum and only repeated over and over "This is covered by insurance you know."

I am curious now about the socks. The reasons why the doctor won't look your husband in the eye: hey, I have enough of MY secrets, why do I want your too? But the socks?

Anyway, I enjoyed this, though I am sure I shouldn't have, but you did write it in such a way.

FridaWrites said...

You read it the “right” way, and though my feelings/thoughts come from fears about having more anesthesia, humor’s a way to deal with it. I think most people who have had anesthesia problems or fear of anesthesia problems can identify. I was talking with someone this week about a coworker’s sense of humor and occasional flippancy, and she said that in her family, sometimes the humor comes from difficult situations that then get reshaped into a narrative that the speaker has control over, kind of bypassing some of the original emotions and compressing some of the events. I can’t necessarily control every outcome (though I can try) but I can control how I frame it.

The hotter I get, the more I cough when I have a respiratory infection. The socks thing was just because I got too hot—I also told them to pull down the blankets and remove the socks since I couldn’t cool off or take cough drops or asthma medicine while in and out of consciousness. There wasn’t much clothing left to remove. They’d replaced the blankets after but not the socks. I also had a small amount of makeup on since it was supposed to be a superfast and easy procedure and my morning face is really bleary—I don’t remember them washing it off, but I saw in the bathroom they had, either trying to cool me off or clean me up; the anesthesiologist told me I got really sick in there.

I think the doctor and anesthesiologist also got worried since that kind of reaction can be dangerous (I subsequently read studies on reactive coughing with propofol). Or maybe it was my comments about my underwear. I could barely face him at the next appointment. He is young and cute, and I’m afraid I’ll say something about either that or how he can be a bit of a jerk and miss important details sometimes (like the bladder issue for a few months, because he came in knowing what he wanted to say).

Frankly, it scares me that it was the sulfites in the propofol rather than the respiratory infection, since I’ve reacted to sulfites in food with anaphylaxis. And epinephrine, which they’d use if the reaction got worse…contains sulfites. And my atenolol has an anti-epinephrine effect. But I can sometimes have sulfites with no problem. I’ll discuss with allergist.

Wheelchair Dancer said...



FridaWrites said...

Glad you enjoyed. Thanks for stopping by, WCD. :)