I woke up during surgery, Have you? - page 9

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   DutchgirlRN
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    Discovery Health did a whole documentary on Anesthesia awareness.
    Waking up during surgery and anesthesia awareness are two different issues. Anesthesia awareness is when your mind wakes up but you are totally unable to respond by moving or speaking, in other words, pure torture. and not treatable. Waking up during surgery is treatable because the anesthesioligist knows you're awake.
  2. by   GadgetRN71
    I had an EGD some years back and they didn't medicate me enough-I remember hearing this awful gagging noise and then feeling the scope down my throat, I remember trying to pull it out. That was bad enough-I can't imagine having a surgical procedure done and waking up! I feel badly for anyone who has gone through this. Fortunately, there is more awareness on the part of anesthesia providers and they really try to keep it from happening. Some of these patients actually end up with PTSD.
  3. by   HelenofOz
    Thankfully I have not experienced awareness under anaesthesia, though at times under conscious sedation there have been conversations that I thought I would like to join in if I could be bothered to talk, and then, damn! it was all over, but that is what I would expect under sedation-I would rather surface occasionally than go too far the other way! The only patient I had that admitted to awareness was a doctor's wife, and in any surgery afterwards she was given larger doses of anaesthetic.

    In the recovery unit I work in quite a few of the anaesthetists make it a point to ask patients if they remember anything of the surgery -I assume that sometimes this is particularly so in patients who have expressed a fear that such a thing might happen, but the concept is taken very seriously.

    And somewhere in the back of my brain, in amongst all the other trivia that I store for a rainy day, is the fact that there is supposed to be a higher incidence of awareness in nurses, esp theatre/pacu nurses who are more attuned to what goes on in operating theatres and are also exposed to anaesthetic gasses (don't you just love the patients that do the big breath out just as you lean over to do something) Whether this is a proven fact or anecdotal, I can't remember.

    And then if you have red hair, add this to the mix: http://www.cja-jca.org/cgi/content/full/51/1/25

    All up I'd still rather take my chances with modern day anaesthesia than drink a bottle of scotch and bite on a piece of wood. (with no offence intended to those of you who have experienced awareness-that must be the most awful thing)
  4. by   KaroSnowQueen
    I got sick last year on Thanksgiving day, and that started a round of surgeries that lasted until May this year. The very first surgery on my right kidney and bladder, I woke up. Couldn't move anything but my right eyelid and it was wide open. Made eye contact with some guy - not the doctor - but he was in blue scrubs standing near my right hip, and I remember his eyes getting wide and then bam I was out again. No pain thank God, but it was very weird. My kidney doc later confirmed that yes, someone saw me wake up and they dialed me out again.
    I feel so bad for all you folks who woke up and felt everything!!!! I cannot imagine how terrifying that must be.
  5. by   Weeping Willow
    These are so scary. I have always tried very hard to avoid surgery at all costs. Now here is another good reason to avoid it. Terrifying.
  6. by   marie-francoise
    There are now adhesive strips called Bis (pronounced "Biz") monitors that can help prevent anesthesia awareness.

    These strips, which are attached to the forehead, essentially give EEG readings that help the CRNA know if the patient's awake or experiencing pain.

    I heard one CRNA jokingly call them (fittingly for the Christmas season!) "We know when you are sleeping, We know when you're awake strips".
  7. by   banditrn
    Quote from GatorRN
    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 ask.

    It happened to me last year. I had a vague memory of waking up and seeing the overhead operating room lights, and being in excruciating pain. I thought I had imagined it, until two different anesthesioligists (teaching hospital) came up to my room, on separate occasions, and asked me if I had any memory of waking up during my surgery. I was shocked to find out that it actually did happen. :uhoh21:

    I later requested a copy of both my hospital records and my surgeons records for my own file, and amazingly enough, it wasn't mentioned anywhere in my records. I wooooonder why...Hmmmmm? Of course, my surgeon downplayed the whole incident at my follow up appt.

    Has anybody else ever had this experience before? If so, what do you remember, and did your surgeon own up to it?
    Are you by any chance a redhead? It's been a while now, but one of the anesthetists at our hospital posted some articles once in our nursing lounge about patients that are apt to wake during surgery. I remember that for some reason, readheads tend to do this more often.
  8. by   danissa
    Quote from banditrn
    Are you by any chance a redhead? It's been a while now, but one of the anesthetists at our hospital posted some articles once in our nursing lounge about patients that are apt to wake during surgery. I remember that for some reason, readheads tend to do this more often.
    bandit...thats interesting. i have heard for years about redheads experiencing more pain/ having a lower pain threshold, seems it does apply more in L&D. Being Scottish, with perhaps more redheads.....I just dont know yet!!!! (not being of Viking lineage!!)
  9. by   kukukajoo
    Well I am brunette with a ton of red highlights so maybe that is why I wake up! met with anaestheology today and they are aware I have a hx of waking up during surgery and said they will do all they can to prevent it on my upcoming T & A. Makes me happy since I woke up during a procedure when I was 5 and then again last year when I had my lap chole. No pain, but awake and last time was panicked as I could not open my eyes or talk (eyes were taped and and I was intubated!) CRNA caught it and yelled Breathe! and I deeply inhaled and no pain ever felt.

    The one as a child I remember being covered with blood and the nurse saying to me "you are not supposed to be awake!" again no pain felt and obviously my eyes were not taped as I was able to look about the room and down at my belly.
  10. by   chadash
    Ughhh! Just happened to me, remembered trying to say "please hurry and finish", but no one mentioned it happening, so maybe it was a dream? Recovery nurse said that "they had to stop your surgery once to get your BP down" but that is all I have heard.
    Rather unpleasant, and I feel naseated when I think of it.
    Sound like it?
  11. by   lamazeteacher
    Quote from chadash
    Ughhh! Just happened to me, remembered trying to say "please hurry and finish", but no one mentioned it happening, so maybe it was a dream? Recovery nurse said that "they had to stop your surgery once to get your BP down" but that is all I have heard.
    Rather unpleasant, and I feel naseated when I think of it.
    Sound like it?
    It's more likely the anaesthesia was lightened, to raise your blood pressure. You're past that experience now, and can get over the reaction to it as time passes. That was a very rare occurence, which could have been caused if you're very small, or have a lowered tolerance to sedatives, which would make your blood pressure go down further than was safe.
  12. by   chadash
    Thanks! Whatever happened, it was not a bit traumatic, just unpleasant.
    The nurse did say that my BP was up, not down, which struck me as odd too. But then, I was all narced up, so I might have heard wrong.
    But I do see where people would get the impression they woke up during surgery. Let's say, maybe you might become aware during the early post op period, before they take you out of the OR. The room is quite bright, and the sounds so loud, it could leave an impression. No one in the room looked a bit worried, just busy.
  13. by   jj23
    i'm really confused about the whole "awareness" thing. I woke up during a foot operation, but it was nothing like what everyone calls anesthetic awareness. I was talking to the doctor, i remember everything, i could move and see (they didn't tape my eyes shut??). there was very little pain , unlike what most people describe, because they numbed the entire lower part of my leg. all i could feel was a repetitive pressure shooting into my foot (the doctor said it was the numbing drug), it just gave me a small dull pain in my toe. i know someone mentioned that waking up right at the end of your surgery isnt the same as anesthetic awareness, but this wasn't the end. The doctor was still working, so i just carried on a conversation with the anesthesiologist until the surgery was over (i got bored, if that gives you an idea of how long it was until the surgery was over). So am i just a wierd case, or is this something completely different from anesthetic awareness, and if so, what is it?

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