I woke up during surgery, Have you? - page 4

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   gonzo1
    I always have a hard time waking up after general anes, so I ask my doctors to use as little as possible. On my fifth knee surgery I woke up, talked to the doctors for a couple of minutes and they didn't want to be bothered by me during surgery so they knocked me back out. Fortunately I was in no pain and am very happy with this doctor. We still joke about it from time to time.
    I am horrified by some of the experiences fellow posters have had. I will definately discuss anes more in depth with the doctors should I ever need another sx.
  2. by   cozmo_blozmo
    People need to understand that not all surgeries require patients to be asleep. Many surgeries are done while the patients are completely awake. People have a misconception that they are unintentionally awake when they have a spinal or a regional anesthesia the fact is you are suppose to be. The main point is you should not be in a lot of pain. As far as recall emergency C-sections and Cardiac surgeries have the highest recall rates.
  3. by   BROOK9960
    I remember waking up during my colostomy surgery. Like a lot of others have said, I could not make a sound to let them know I was awake, so I tried to shake my legs..........or maybe I was having a seizure............I am not sure.........I just remember being petrified and in excruciating pain. No one has ever mentioned that I woke up during surgery, but I know I did, no doubt in my mind. I don't blame the anesthesiologist for it though. Everyone is different and everyone has a different tolerance level for medications, so there are apt to be those few out there who are more tolerant than others and only experience with that specific person will clue the surgery staff into the patient's tolerance level.
  4. by   louloubell1
    Quote from cozmo_blozmo
    People need to understand that not all surgeries require patients to be asleep. Many surgeries are done while the patients are completely awake. People have a misconception that they are unintentionally awake when they have a spinal or a regional anesthesia the fact is you are suppose to be. The main point is you should not be in a lot of pain. As far as recall emergency C-sections and Cardiac surgeries have the highest recall rates.
    Thank you. This is exactly the point I was trying to make earlier. Some people on here are describing awareness under general anesthesia, and that is indeed a shame. But what some others have described are IV sedation (MAC) or even spinal anesthetic cases. These are not the same things. Not at all.
  5. by   ewattsjt
    Quote from RNLou
    Thank you. This is exactly the point I was trying to make earlier. Some people on here are describing awareness under general anesthesia, and that is indeed a shame. But what some others have described are IV sedation (MAC) or even spinal anesthetic cases. These are not the same things. Not at all.
    That's it! Exactly! If you didn't have a general (where they put you to sleep and place a breathing tube down you throat), there is the possibility of remembering it. That is not uncommon. What is uncommon, and there is no excuse for, is being under a general and remembering part of the procedure.

    I work with a lady, who works in surgery that was having a visceral hernia repaired. She recalls what was said during the incision and how it hurt. She was even able to repeat who said what. This is one that should not have happened.
    Last edit by ewattsjt on Dec 5, '06
  6. by   jnette
    Quote from Gennaver
    Here, hear,

    I agree Angi O'Plasty. Reading this thread has been more than an eye-opener.

    I don't know how to express my empathy enough for patients who "feel" and are paralyzed, how unthinkable.
    Gen




    Just to see how many here on this board alone have had this happen to them is really scary. It does make you wonder....

    It must be sheer hell to not be able to communicate that you are awake and FEELING the pain ! Trying to mouth the words.. nothing coming out.

    Wish there was some way to discuss this with the surgeon BEFORE surgery and agree on SOME method of letting him know IF you were to waken. *sigh*

    I understand about the IV sedation versus the general, and I wouldn't even mind the being awake or feeling pulling, prodding, etc.... as long as there was no PAIN involved.
    But to be feeling intense pain and not be able to verbalise that... wow. That's just plain wrong. :stone

    Scary stuff.
    Last edit by jnette on Dec 5, '06
  7. by   ewattsjt
    There is a monitor called a BIS that allows the anesthesiologist to know how deep of an unconsciousness you are in. We have them. Sometimes the anesthesiologist simply does not use it. There is also something like a 15 sec. to one minute delay in the system.
  8. by   jetscreamer101
    Not during surgery, but I did wake up during a bronchoscopy. Kept trying to cough-heard doc say give her more.....

    Thankfully, all of the surgeries I've had were awareness free.
  9. by   Brian
  10. by   bradleau
    THis first happened when I had my tonsils out as a child of 6. They used ether then. I was hallucinating and screaming in my mind, but could not scream out loud. Boy did my throat hurt. The next time was during a total abd. Hyst....I did the floating thing to the light and all, but was sent back....into the pain,and.... I was not able to move or talk, but my eyes were watching the heart monitor. I went into Vtach several times. Each time I was thinking Oh, ****, here we go again...I am going to be hit." Back then the nurse came over and gave a good hit to my chest. One person did moisten my lips ( thank you) ...and when I finally did move, my arm knocked off the cap of the nurse. I was first case, but went from recovery to CCU, then at midnight I was taken to the ward. That morning I was up walking with foley bag in one hand and IV pole in the other. I had burns from the dfib machine. So I had arrested, and what not. But the worst was knowing and not being able to move or talk.
    I have had EEG's in which the brain waves say I am asleep, but I am still awake and alert enough to repeat back all the juicy gossip you were talking to your coworker about. SO I DON'T THINK THAT WOULD BE A GOOD WAY TO TELL THAT I AM UNDER. I have had Versed all other times and don't remember anything, or if I did wake up. SO I hope that will keep me from being there ALIVE.
  11. by   wilbur's mom
    YES!
    and horrified, unable to move or breath and aware of the tip of the et tube and ambu bag, during an exploratory lap for an infertility workup. He put me back down quick and I got 3 extra hours in PACU trying to wake up and breathe on my own. My husband was in a panic. However, the doc apologized to me and owned up to it immediately, saying he thought my GYN was going to be done quicker. The apology helped alot, but the horror was remembered for quite some time. I wasn't in pain, but was aware I could not move. I don't know what was documented though. sue
  12. by   dotty865
    14 years ago when I was 12 weeks pregnant I had to have an emergancy appendectomy , half way though the surgery I woke up crying . Luckily I knew the nurse that was working that night and she came running over and comforted me untill they could get more meds in me. What an experience !!
  13. by   biomedsam
    My Dad said he woke up during his hip replacement a couple of years ago. The surgeon asked Dad what he was doing awake.... Dad said it was the hammering of the new hip into his femur. He did not mention any pain and apparently they "dialed" him right out again. The next thing he remembers is waking up in recovery. Apparently, waking up during procedures is pretty common. More common than even surgical personnel realize. Dad was 73 when he had the operation. It may be that they keep you as far under as necessary and on occasion it may not be quite enough at times. Everyone reacts to anesthetics differently I am sure. To me it is still voodoo and I see surgical procedures weekly. I sure am glad we have what we do. I remember reading about surgical procedures during the Civil War. NOT pretty. We are getting better.

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