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BamaGrits84
05-17-2010, 10:01 PM
Caught my attention because I "woke up" while having my wisdom teeth taken out. It's a different type of anesthesia, but still scary as hell. I was physically unable to move or communicate, but could feel everything. I opened my eyes up to see these plier like things being shoved in my mouth to break up one of the teeth that was too deep to just pull. I can still feel and hear it being broken and the piece picked out. The doctor told me before hand if I started to feel anything to raise my hand. problem was I couldn't move my hand. Thankfully after what seemed like several minutes of trying to move and scream a loud yell came out. The docotor wasn't happy I yelled and "scared" the other patients but they needed to be scared. It was horrible.

(CNN) -- When Carol Weiher was having her right eye surgically removed in 1998, she woke up hearing disco music. The next thing she heard was "Cut deeper, pull harder."

She desperately wanted to scream or even move a finger to signal to doctors that she was awake, but the muscle relaxant she'd received prevented her from controlling her movements.

"I was doing a combination of praying and pleading and cursing and screaming, and trying anything I could do but I knew that there was nothing that was working," said Weiher, of Reston, Virginia.

Weiher is one of few people who have experienced anesthesia awareness. Although normally a patient does not remember anything about surgery that involves general anesthesia, about one or two people in every 1,000 may wake up during general anesthesia, according to the Mayo Clinic. Most of these cases involve the person being aware of the surrounding environment, but some experience severe pain and go on to have psychological problems.

The surgical tools didn't cause Weiher pain -- only pressure -- but the injections of a paralytic drug during the operation "felt like ignited fuel," she said. "I thought, well, maybe I've been wrong about my life, and I'm in hell," she said. The entire surgery lasted five-and-a-half hours. Sometime during it she either passed out or fell unconscious under the anesthetic. When she awoke, she began to scream.

"All I could say to anyone was, 'I was awake! I was awake!' " she said.

The use of general anesthesia is normally safe and produces a state of sedation that doesn't break in the middle of a procedure, doctors say. The patient and anesthesiologist collect as much medical history as possible beforehand, including alcohol and drug habits, to help determine the most appropriate anesthetic.

You may think of it as "going to sleep," but in terms of what your body is doing, general anesthesia has very little in common with taking a nap.

During sleep, the brain is in its most active state; anesthesia, on the other hand, depresses central nervous system activity. On the operating table, your brain is less active and consumes less oxygen -- a state of unconsciousness nothing like normal sleep.

Doctors do not know exactly how general anesthesia produces this effect. It is clear that anesthetic drugs interfere with the transmission of chemicals in the brain across the membranes, or walls, of cells. But the mechanism is the subject of ongoing research, Dr. Alexander Hannenberg, anesthesiologist in Newton, Massachusetts, and president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Patients who remember falling unconscious under the anesthesia generally have a pleasant experience of it, Hannenberg said, and the period of "waking up" is also a relaxed state, Hannenberg said.

Anesthesia awareness may relate to human error or equipment failure in delivering the anesthetic, Hannenberg said.

There are patients for whom doctors err on the side of a lower dose because of the nature of their condition, Hannenberg said. Someone who is severely injured and has lost a lot of blood, a patient with compromised cardiac function, or a woman who needs an emergency Caesarean section would all be at risk for serious side effects of high doses of anesthetic.

Heart or lung problems, daily alcohol consumption, and long-term use of opiates and other drugs may put patients at higher risk for anesthesia awareness, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Weiher started a campaign called the Anesthesia Awareness Campaign that seeks to educate people about the perils of waking up during surgery. She has spoken with about 4,000 people worldwide who have also had anesthesia awareness experiences.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists is engaged in an Anesthesia Awareness Registry, a research project through the University of Washington to examine cases of the phenomenon.

One of the goals of the Anesthesia Awareness Campaign is to make brain activity monitoring a standard of care.

There has been controversy about the use of brain function monitors in general anesthesia. Advocates such as Dr. Barry Friedberg, anesthesiologist and founder of the nonprofit Goldilocks Anesthesia Foundation, say brain monitoring is essential for ensuring the patient achieves the appropriate sedation so as to not wake up.

The monitors use a scale of 0 to 100 to reflect what's going on in the brain: 0 is a total absence of brain activity, 98 to 100 is wide awake, and 45 to 60 is about where general anesthesia puts the patient, Friedberg said.

But a 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found no benefit in using brain function monitoring to prevent anesthesia awareness. The American Society of Anesthesiology has said the monitoring is not routinely indicated for general anesthesia, but may have some value and be appropriate for specific patients. The downsides are that they are expensive, and should not be used in place of heart rate and breathing signals when regulating the anesthesia.

Research does not consistently demonstrate a benefit from using brain function monitors, and the decision to use them should be made on an individual basis, Hannenberg said.

The anesthesiologist carefully monitors the patient's breathing and blood pressure, which can rise and fall, while the person is under the anesthetic, Hannenberg said. The treatment is tailored to the patient -- a young, healthy athlete will tolerate fluctuations in blood pressure better than someone with a serious condition, Hannenberg said.

As with surgical procedures themselves, anesthesia can result in stroke, heart attack and death. Such complications are more likely in people who have serious medical problems, and elderly people. Over the last two decades, anesthesiologists have made significant strides in reducing those risks, Hannenberg said.

A 6-year-old boy in Richmond, Virginia, recently died after going into cardiac arrest during a routine dental procedure that involved general anesthesia, CNN affiliate WTVR reported.

Weiher had to have subsequent surgeries, including an operation on her other eye and a hysterectomy, and the experiences were terrifying. She is still taking medication for post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her anesthesia awareness experience.

TexasRN
05-17-2010, 10:25 PM
It's pretty rare but it happens.

I've never had any kind of anesthesia before and I have surgery coming up next week. My dad has a problem metabolizing the meds so they almost can't wake him up. My little brother metabolizes it like it's candy and has to be redosed over and over. Who knows what I'll do. I'm skeered. :unsure:


~Amy

flo
05-17-2010, 10:38 PM
I was scared too when I had surgery (twice, in 2007) but everything went fine and, seeing as you're a nurse, I'm sure they will take extra special care of you. Hope it's nothing serious.

TexasRN
05-17-2010, 11:00 PM
I was scared too when I had surgery (twice, in 2007) but everything went fine and, seeing as you're a nurse, I'm sure they will take extra special care of you. Hope it's nothing serious.

Bf is a nurse in a local ER and I'm hoping they'll let him back in the PACU area while I'm recovering to watch over me and make sure I wake up. And the surgery isn't any big deal, it's just a toe. :laugh: I dislocated one of the joints in one of my toes and it healed all jacked up. The surgeon will be scraping cartilage and bone in the joint and then inserting a metal pin that will stay in there but sticking out of my toe for 4 weeks. Then he'll remove the pin and call me done. It's gonna hurt. :cry:


~Amy

flo
05-17-2010, 11:06 PM
Well, any surgery is scary but I'm glad it's not major-major type. I bet a month from now you'll be so glad you got it done, good luck!

TexasRN
05-17-2010, 11:10 PM
Well, any surgery is scary but I'm glad it's not major-major type. I bet a month from now you'll be so glad you got it done, good luck!

Yeah, that's the reason I'm doing it. My toe hurts every day as it is so hopefully a little extra pain for a short time with the surgery will fix the long term pain. I'll survive, I'm too mean to die young. :laugh:


~Amy

logrus
05-18-2010, 04:02 AM
When they put me down for surgery I will start to come out of it mid surgery. I wont feel anything ut I am able to see whats goin on and communicate. I asked my Doctor working on my hand how much longer he was going to take. To keep me out of it the anesthesiologist told me that they gave me 8 times the limit.

MattHughesRocks
05-18-2010, 04:07 AM
I love drugs too much to not let them take it's full effect :laugh:

Twinsmama
05-18-2010, 04:20 PM
Oh my gosh Amy you have me scared! I know it seems more likely that you will have a problem because of you brother and fathers problems but you won't. I have been put to sleep a few times and it is good sleep.:laugh:

VCURamFan
05-18-2010, 04:39 PM
When I had surgery on my knee, the worst part was having the IV put in. Within about5min, I was already loopy. Next thing I remember is waking up thinking that my leg must have died in surgery, because my whole body was more, but my leg was ice cold. When I told the nurse, she gave me a "Duh" look & said "We've got an ice-pack on your knee". :laugh:

TexasRN
05-18-2010, 04:50 PM
When I had surgery on my knee, the worst part was having the IV put in. Within about5min, I was already loopy. Next thing I remember is waking up thinking that my leg must have died in surgery, because my whole body was more, but my leg was ice cold. When I told the nurse, she gave me a "Duh" look & said "We've got an ice-pack on your knee". :laugh:

Big baby.... :laugh: IVs aren't bad unless they are in your neck or a bone. Then yeah, it's bad.


~Amy

VCURamFan
05-18-2010, 05:07 PM
Big baby.... :laugh: IVs aren't bad unless they are in your neck or a bone. Then yeah, it's bad.


~Amy
O, I know, I just don't like needles, I guess. When I had to get my palm stitched up a coupla years ago (and my chin a coupla years before that), I disliked the needle puncture than the burning of the (insert name of drug I've forgotten here).

Even in movies, I've got no problem with violence & most torture, but for some reason it's things like needles/scalples moving/cutting slowly that gives me the willies.

TexasRN
05-18-2010, 05:09 PM
O, I know, I just don't like needles, I guess. When I had to get my palm stitched up a coupla years ago (and my chin a coupla years before that), I disliked the needle puncture than the burning of the (insert name of drug I've forgotten here).

Even in movies, I've got no problem with violence & most torture, but for some reason it's things like needles/scalples moving/cutting slowly that gives me the willies.


I understand. I had a mole removed a few years ago with lidocaine. I couldn't feel a thing but seeing the diamond shaped cut in my skin, which was tiny, maybe the size of a pencil eraser, made me very ill. I couldn't take watching that or the stitches. I can watch and assist on someone else all day long, but watching myself get cut on is awful! :laugh:

~Amy