I woke up during surgery, Have you? - page 2

I was responding to another thread the other day and made mention of the fact that I woke up DURING my last surgery. I got to wondering if this had ever happened to anybody else, so I thought I'd... Read More

  1. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I have had a lot of surgeries and this never happened to me. I am sorry it happened to you. HOW AWFUL.
  2. by   Agnus
    Did not happen to me. When I was a student I was observing a back surgery the pt work up and I swear he rose about 10 inches straight up off the table screaming.
  3. by   louloubell1
    to all who have expressed experiencing awareness under anesthesia, i am so sorry to hear that. awareness is a real problem, though rare, that should prompt an open discussion with your anesthesia provider, along with referral to a mental health professional if necessary to help you deal with the emotional problems which may result. the most common cases for awareness to occur include traumas, c-sections under general, and heart procedures. sometimes the emergency nature of these procedures combined with hemodynamic instability prevents tolerance of our anesthetic gases, all of which drop blood pressure and depress myocardial function, effects which may not be tolerable in an unstable patient. that is not an excuse, but rather a partial explanation of why awareness may occur in these circumstances.

    Quote from bsntobe2009
    the woman said she did a sign of relief because she thought, "thank god! they know i'm still awake!"....she heard the crna say, "hang on, i'll fix that."....and all he did was turn up the drug to bring her heart rate and resp back down....that still left her fully awake.

    it turned out later that the tank that contained the drug that puts you to sleep was empty.
    bsntobe2009,
    anesthesia involves combinations of drugs that may include benzodiazepines, narcotics, inhalation and/or iv general anesthetics, local anesthetics, and paralytics when necessary. other drugs may be used to deal with various other issues, such as hemodynamics. tachycardia & tachypnea (in the non-paralyzed pt) may indeed be signs of light anesthesia, however they may be signs of other problems too. to add to that, the concentration of inhalation agent necessary to block the body's sympathetic response to surgery is much, much higher than the concentration necessary to prevent recall and even to prevent movement with surgical stimulus. if using an inhalation agent to maintain anesthesia, as opposed to times when iv agents may be used, it is indeed a posibility that the vaporizer could empty, however, one of the parameters continuously monitored during anesthesia is the inspired and expired concentration of that agent.

    Quote from daytonite
    since, i've had a number of surgeries and told every anesthesiologist about the experience. more than one has told me about the phenomenon of people occasionally waking up during surgery. they all have assured me it shouldn't happen again and it never has. the scariest has been that for the last two surgeries they told me they would have to intubate me while i was awake. that scared me because when i worked on stepdown and as a supervisor i assisted many intubations. if i was awake, i sure don't remember. i just hope i didn't do anything embarrassing or punch anyone. this past summer i had surgery yet again and was told afterward that they had a lot of difficulty intubating me. great! i'm sure it's not because i was uncooperative. i've had a number of surgeries as well as major radiation therapy to my head and neck so i'm sure my airway is pretty well beaten up. i'm glad they didn't tell me until after.
    daytonite,
    good for you, communicating your past experiences under anesthesia is an important part of anesthesia being able to provide you with the best care. i'm sure the difficulty of your intubation had nothing to do with you being uncooperative. we have drugs that will fix uncooperative , but none that will make a difficult airway into an easy one. please continue to provide you future anesthesia providers with the information on your experience with awareness, as well as with the knowledge that you have a difficult airway. though i know it doesn't sound fun, an awake intubation is often the necessary choice in a person with a known difficult airway.


    lou
    Last edit by louloubell1 on Dec 2, '06
  4. by   KnarfKS
    I woke up while they were putting in a greenfield filter, it was an emergency and i had eaten an entire chipotle burrito a couple hours beforehand, so they couldn't fully put me under. I woke up 4 or 5 times during the procedure. I just remember them pushing and prodding on my neck to get the filter in, but the fentanyl made it not hurt as much.
  5. by   blueyesue
    My Mom had an emergency C-section, and told me of how she was put on anesthesia, but they did not wait till she was fully under. She said she couldn't move or talk, but felt them cutting her open and pulling my sister out. She said it was excruciating painful. She didn't tell the doctors because she didn't think they would believe her. (It was in the 70's)
  6. by   MikeyBSN
    I recently had my wisdom teeth pulled and, although I was never completely out, I woke up twice and my oral surgeon had to switch me from versed to ketamine. After the procedure she told me how she couldn't keep me sedated. There was one time when it hurt a little because she was pulling one of my teeth when I woke up, but I went back under pretty fast.
  7. by   SimonJester
    strange i thought you could not be put under for c-section because of what it would do to the baby... my wife delivered our first child via emergency c-section 100% awake, she had an epidural. she had been eating a lime green sucker and sipping water all afternoon… as soon as they pulled the baby out, up came the water… lime green... it looked like she was vomiting antifreeze… kind of freaked me out as i was in the or beside her…

    as a child i had a major oral surgery that involved putting me under… i woke up during that and can remember seeing reflections off of the surgeon’s glasses of what was going on inside my mouth… i remember them saying… “..oh he’s coming out…”

    after that i can only remember bits and pieces… i remember getting out of the chair but not out of the building, walking to the car but not the car ride home…


  8. by   louloubell1
    Quote from MikeyBSN
    I recently had my wisdom teeth pulled and, although I was never completely out, I woke up twice and my oral surgeon had to switch me from versed to ketamine. After the procedure she told me how she couldn't keep me sedated. There was one time when it hurt a little because she was pulling one of my teeth when I woke up, but I went back under pretty fast.
    The situation you describe, Mikey, is one of the problems with the current "sensationalism" surrounding anesthesia awareness. You were not undergoing a procedure with general anesthesia, but rather IV sedation. There is a big difference, and there is not an expectation that with IV sedation you will experience complete ablation of recall. That said, many people do experience amnesia with just IV sedation, especially when versed is one of the drugs employed, however, a general anesthetic is the only anesthetic technique meant to reliably ablate all recall.

    Quote from StudentSpouse
    Strange I thought you could not be put under for C-section because of what it would do to the baby
    In some situations it is appropriate and necessary to induce general anesthesia for c-section. See thread: primary elective c-section in the OB forum.

    Lou
  9. by   blueyesue
    Originally Posted by StudentSpouse
    Strange I thought you could not be put under for C-section because of what it would do to the baby
    So that explains it. I always thought she was a little off.
  10. by   barbyann
    Yes, I have experienced awareness during a surgical procedure. It is such a traumatic experience for me still, 6 years later, that I cannot post about the details comfortably.

    It happens, it is horrible and with long lasting effects. I have never felt so helpless in my life!!!
  11. by   blueyesue
    My Mom said it was like she was swimming in a sea of pain. She said the worst part was when they reached their hands in and pulled the baby out. She said that was worse than the cutting. She was awake for the whole procedure. She said she tried screaming but couldn't.
  12. by   Fuzzy
    I've had a couple of surgeries where I was under a general anesthetic. If I woke up, I don't remember it. Everything went well. I know that I'm very careful with the animals that I sedate and/or anesthesize as there is a very fine line in them waking up too soon and not waking up at all.

    Fuzzy
  13. by   prmenrs
    I had 2 abd surgeries w/an epidural: an appy and a hyst. Both times I got plenty of versed and/or fentanyl. The hys was ~ 3+ hrs, and was uncomfortable, but not really painful (til later!!). The appy was quite lovely once they hit me w/that there happy juice (I heard the attending anesth tell the resident to give me plenty of it, too. UNTIL the surgeon started to feel around in there--turned out the epidural did not go up to the gall bladder! I woke up from my nice little dream saying, "ow, ow, ow, ow!" and I knew exactly what he was touching: "Oh, that's my gall bladder!, I wonder if I have any stones?" But before I could voice the question, they topped off the happy juice. :zzzzz :zzzzz back to sawing logs.

    My experiences were extremely minor compared to the other posters. For which I'm grateful.

close