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S.A.Michel
02-24-2011, 02:03 AM
A friend recently told me that someone might scream upon waking from anesthesia due to the pain signals sent to the brain that were not heeded to previously. I'd like to know for a character in one novel who undergoes heart surgery and is obviously anesthesized for it.

Sarah Madara
02-24-2011, 02:11 AM
I don't have an answer to your question, but a panic attack waking up from anesthesia is definitely possible. I woke up from sinus surgery 100% convinced I couldn't breathe. The doctors and nurses spent maybe a minute trying to convince me that I actually could breathe if I would just calm down, but then they just knocked me out again with some tranquilizers. It was the most terrified I've ever been outside of childbirth.

Jessianodel
02-24-2011, 02:15 AM
I know kids often freak out as they're coming from anesthesia. It's common enough for doctors to tell my mom that every time. When I went under for eye surgery (2-3 years old) she said she was terrified because she and the other doctors had to hold me down. She thought I was in a lot of pain or something. It's possible it could happen to adults too I suppose.

thothguard51
02-24-2011, 02:32 AM
Well I have gone through open heart surgery and I don't recall ever screaming coming out of Anesthesia, though I was told that I cursed when they removed the breathing tube. The nurse told me I sat up and looked right at her and said, "are you fucking crazy. Do you know what they did to me today." I apologized but she said this is very normal and was not insulted...

You have to remember that coming out of anesthesia from any major surgeries, you are also on heavy pain medication which keeps you somewhat sedated, so that all you want to do is sleep. I remember that family came to visit the first evening and I could not even keep my eyes open long enough to recognize who was in the room. I was told this scared the crap out of kids because they always had this view of dad is a big tough guy. NO body is that tough... lol.

The worse pain I felt was the second day, I could not concentrate and told the nurse I did not want anymore pain medication. They were glad to hear it, as I had gotten up and walked to the door and back at their directions. They had me sit in a special chair and I feel asleep again. When I woke up, it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I literally could not breath. I was gasping and the nurse call thingy had fallen on the floor. I was pretty luck that the nurse came in about 5 minutes later because the vital signs were jumping all over the chart on the monitors at the nurses station. She immediately shot some stuff into my IV and I could breath again as the pain subsided.

I told her not to listen to me anymore about the pain meds. She laughed. From day of surgery to day I went home it was 5 days. Drs said I was in very good shape. I love them nurses, they all took extra special care...though the one that took the catheter out of my.... seemed to delight in the shocked look on my face.

I hate it when they tell you this will only hurt for a second... LIARS.

backslashbaby
02-24-2011, 02:33 AM
eta: crosspost :)

Don't they usually give pain meds before the patient is fully awake?

That's been my experience, anyway. I did wake up moaning loudly in pain during surgery one time (and I remember it well ). I'd asked for the lightest anesthesia they could do. The surgery was also more involved, so longer, once they got in there.

Some crazy stuff can happen after you wake up in recovery, though. Definitely. Mom was convinced it was the '50s one time, and the docs said it was normal. And things do hurt, I know from experience, but I'm not sure about screaming pain because they think of that beforehand, as far as I know (not an expert!).

kathleea
02-24-2011, 02:54 AM
Sometimes patients wake up in a confused disoriented state and it takes a while to calm them down but I don't think its because of being in pain.

mgencleyn
02-24-2011, 04:06 AM
A friend recently told me that someone might scream upon waking from anesthesia due to the pain signals sent to the brain that were not heeded to previously. I'd like to know for a character in one novel who undergoes heart surgery and is obviously anesthesized for it.

Here are videos on YouTube of people waking up after anesthesia:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=waking+up+after+anesthesia&aq=0

veinglory
02-24-2011, 05:26 AM
If you are really under anesthesia your brain should be rendered utterly incapable of intergrating noxious stimulation into pain. And there is no mechanism to store these stimuli for later intergration. So you might scream for many reasons but according to conventional science it should not be because of delayed or submerged intergration of stimuli that would be painful to a conscious person.

Cyia
02-24-2011, 06:15 AM
When I was a kid and had to have surgery, I went under fighting and came out the same way (full out kicking, screaming, scratching, punching, etc.) doctors said that was normal for some people; they resume whatever they were doing directly prior to the anesthesia.

As an adult, I'm almost impossible to anesthetize, so it's different for everyone and can change with time and body chemistry.

Giant Baby
02-24-2011, 08:12 AM
When I was a kid and had to have surgery, I went under fighting and came out the same way (full out kicking, screaming, scratching, punching, etc.) doctors said that was normal for some people; they resume whatever they were doing directly prior to the anesthesia.

As an adult, I'm almost impossible to anesthetize, so it's different for everyone and can change with time and body chemistry.

Emergence rages are not so uncommon (at least not in pediatric anesthesia, which is the field I support), and as Cyia noted, they often involve far more than screaming. The patient may flail, kick, and fight with whatever he/she's got. They can really put the OR team through its paces, but the team's accustomed to that (whether or not it expected it in the particular case -- tho once a kid comes out raging, it'll be noted as a warning for future surgeries, BTW).

I'm not in medicine, I'm an administrator, and I'm sort of narrowly focused on my own domain. I'd be happy to ask a doc or two if this is a more common phenomenon in peds, tho. (Pediatric and geriatric patients tend to be a whole other ball game where anesthesia's concerned, so what's common in my hospital may not be the norm in an adult facility.)

Gretad08
02-24-2011, 08:30 AM
I tend to cry with anesthesia. It's really annoying. After I had my wisdom teeth removed I remembered being perfectly calm going in, and then as soon as they gave me the laughing gas I started crying...go figure. Then I woke up from the anesthesia crying. The dentist said that people don't just laugh with laughing gas, they often cry.

chocowrites
02-24-2011, 08:43 AM
^hey, me too!

Went under last year for an investigative procedure and I remember waking up crying. what a weird experience--was crying before I woke up, seemed like. It's like you have no awareness/control over what you're doing and finally realizing what you're involuntarily doing is such a strange feeling.

Anne Lyle
02-24-2011, 03:48 PM
I was in a lot of pain when I woke from my emergency c-section, to the point where I was convinced I was still in labour - I don't think I actually screamed, but they gave me morphine PDQ!

Sad Soup-eating Girl
02-24-2011, 03:49 PM
In my own surgery experience, there was never any screaming, only pathetic croaking, after anesthesia.
As for pain signals, I was always on bottles and bottles of pain meds, hooked up before I came to.
Dunno if this helps...

WriteKnight
02-24-2011, 09:09 PM
I remember my throat being sore from the breathing tube - hearing voices in the room - then they called my name "MR.K MR. K ? Do you know where you are?"

For some reason,I had the "Universe Song" going on in my head - so I answered. "Thirty thousand light years from Galatic central point."

The whole room started laughing.

shaldna
02-24-2011, 11:40 PM
the only time I was under I came round quite slowly, I felt really tired and groggy and I went back to sleep almost immediately. i didn't feel any pain then, it wasn't until the painkillers wore off that I hurt.

I've worked with large animals, and have put a lot of horses under. you never know how they will react when they come around, some come round fighting mad, and some come round slowly, feeling sorry for themselves,. There's no way to tell.,

mscelina
02-24-2011, 11:43 PM
My last back surgery--the one where they gutted me from stem to stern--I woke up fairly quickly after surgery. They were wheeling me into recovery. All I could manage was to croak, "Pain. Nausea." and I was immediately given shots in my IV and sent back to la la land. But screaming? No way. I'd been under the knife for eight hours. I couldn't have screamed if my life depended on it, and I was hurting so badly I would have if I could have.

amyashley
02-25-2011, 12:01 AM
I have been under five times now and it depends on if they have given you any local or pain meds or not. Once, like Anne, during my last c-section, they did not. They had to wait until I was fully conscious to give me anything, morphine, and it was HORRIBLE. I was nearly screaming for at least 20 minutes during which they had to ask me all sorts of irritating questions. I strongle preferred my previous experiences in which I had a spinal as well, or some sort of IV meds. With my wisdom teeth I was super groggy.

I've never actually woken screaming, but woken in a tremendous amount of pain, yes. That was the post-c-sect. Mine wasn't an emergency, I had a bleeding issue that warranted a general instead of my normal scheduled c.

Giant Baby
02-25-2011, 12:35 AM
I've just spoken with one of my anesthesiologists. The proper term for this (to help you google) is "emergence delirium" or "emergence aggitation." He says it does happen in adults, but is more frequent in pediatric cases because adults are more likely to be hooked up to an IV and knocked out with all sorts of drugs in addition to the gas, where children are more likely to be put under with gas alone. I asked him what causes it, and he says they don't really know. The anesthetic, certainly, but they don't know specifically what or why.

veinglory
02-25-2011, 01:31 AM
Some of the old gases used by dentists cause agitation, hallucinations and other general scariness.

not_HarryS
02-26-2011, 01:08 PM
A friend of mine who underwent foot surgery here in China (he shattered his ankle and had to get a metal plate) woke up IMMEDIATELY after surgery before they pumped him up full of pain meds (which they're generally very loathe to give patients here, because Chinese doctors overestimate the harm that pain meds do to your body, IMHO). In his case, yeah -- he screamed. Screamed very shrilly at first, which turned into an uninterrupted chain of curse words directed at the doctor, who told him to stop being a wimp, that' he'd be fine.

I will never, ever get serious surgery done over here.

BRDurkin
02-27-2011, 05:15 AM
I woke up once DURING surgery. I don't know if they didn't give me enough anesthesia or what. I couldn't feel anything, but I fought like a madman (I was pretty confused, wasn't sure where I was, or why I was there, etc.). Took every single person in that room to hold me down. Then they upped the dose and it was lights out again.

Not exactly a pleasant memory.

backslashbaby
02-27-2011, 06:21 AM
I woke up once DURING surgery. I don't know if they didn't give me enough anesthesia or what. I couldn't feel anything, but I fought like a madman (I was pretty confused, wasn't sure where I was, or why I was there, etc.). Took every single person in that room to hold me down. Then they upped the dose and it was lights out again.

Not exactly a pleasant memory.

No! I was already strapped down, with something covering my eyes. It was TMJ surgery, up near my temple. The nurse actually did tell me to be quiet, but I don't think they thought I'd remember it! I do. It's bound to happen sometimes.

I could feel it, for sure (hearing myself moan 'it hurts. it hurts' is what woke me up, with the pain), but I was still quite loopy. They said, You can FEEL that? I moaned a bit more, she said I'd be fine and to hush. I said OK, and tried to go back to sleep. Don't remember anything past that :D

tiny
02-27-2011, 07:25 AM
I am incredibly combative after I come out of anesthesia... don't know if I screamed, but I know I fought like hell.

blacbird
02-27-2011, 08:00 AM
Four years ago I had an emergency appendectomy. I don't know what the anesthetic was (delivered via IV, which was already inserted), but my experience was being wheeled into surgery, assisting the various techs and docs in getting myself up on the gurney, someone placing a pillow behind my head.

Then I was in the recovery room. Weak, but not even really groggy. I made a joke to a nurse about whether she'd like to go outside with a basketball and shoot some hoops. Of the operation, I don't remember squat. It was just like an hour had been sliced out of my life.

not_HarryS
02-27-2011, 10:24 AM
Four years ago I had an emergency appendectomy. I don't know what the anesthetic was (delivered via IV, which was already inserted), but my experience was being wheeled into surgery, assisting the various techs and docs in getting myself up on the gurney, someone placing a pillow behind my head.

Then I was in the recovery room. Weak, but not even really groggy. I made a joke to a nurse about whether she'd like to go outside with a basketball and shoot some hoops. Of the operation, I don't remember squat. It was just like an hour had been sliced out of my life.

That's kinda what it was like for my appendectomy, but in my case it was seven hours that got sliced out of my life. Mine had actually exploded and shot poison throughout my body, which the doctors proceeded to laporoscopically vacuum out of my system.

I still remember very distinctly how the doctor made me count down from 10 when he began to administer the anesthesia (it was gas, not intravaneous). I got to seven, blinked, and continued to count down to one, without realizing that in the course of that blink they had completed the procedure in its entirety.

Kinda cool, actually. Hehheh.

Sarah Madara
02-27-2011, 07:14 PM
It was just like an hour had been sliced out of my life.

That's what freaks me out about demerol, which doesn't knock you out but is an amnesiac. I had it for an upper GI as a kid and I don't remember a thing beyond the first few minutes, when I started to wrestle with the doctor. But my parents remember it: I was awake and terrified. It's sort of a tree falls in the forest question. Does the trauma matter if you don't remember it?

rhymegirl
02-27-2011, 08:16 PM
Emergence rages are not so uncommon...The patient may flail, kick, and fight with whatever he/she's got. They can really put the OR team through its paces, but the team's accustomed to that (whether or not it expected it in the particular case -- tho once a kid comes out raging, it'll be noted as a warning for future surgeries, BTW).

I'm glad to know this does happen. I have only a foggy-remembrance of coming out of anesthesia after an endoscopy and I think I was flailing and trying to push people away from me. God only knows what I might have said to them.

The weird thing was that nobody said anything about it afterward, so I did not know whether I imagined it or it really happened. I felt really bad though, wondering if I hurt anybody.

Cyia
02-28-2011, 02:26 PM
I still remember very distinctly how the doctor made me count down from 10 when he began to administer the anesthesia (it was gas, not intravaneous).

Does the trauma matter if you don't remember it?

Yes, it counts.

The surgery I had as a kid was one where they used gas to put me under. They put additive scents into the mask, supposedly to keep kids from panicking by giving them something familiar. I still have an automatic reaction to artificial peppermint scent. It makes my stomach turn and my heart race.


Demerol, however, is like a drink of water; it's useless. When I had an endoscopy done a few years ago, that's what they used and the nurse just stood there, staring. She kept asking me "aren't you sleepy, yet?" Finally, the doctor just went ahead and did the procedure with me awake.

rhymegirl
02-28-2011, 08:50 PM
Demerol, however, is like a drink of water; it's useless. When I had an endoscopy done a few years ago, that's what they used and the nurse just stood there, staring. She kept asking me "aren't you sleepy, yet?" Finally, the doctor just went ahead and did the procedure with me awake.

Wow. Thankfully the drug did work on me for my endoscopy. I would not have wanted to be awake for that. They put a scope down your throat, after all.

I remember being clear about that, I didn't want to be awake. I couldn't understand how they could do that test without the person choking.

Jeanette
02-28-2011, 09:41 PM
I've never screamed the four times I've been under. The last time, I remember the nurse saying to me over and over again, 'Breathe. Breathe.' Guess I was holding my breath. I also remember the warm blankets and the inability to move.

Sarah Madara
02-28-2011, 10:48 PM
Wow. Thankfully the drug did work on me for my endoscopy. I would not have wanted to be awake for that. They put a scope down your throat, after all.

I remember being clear about that, I didn't want to be awake. I couldn't understand how they could do that test without the person choking.


Demerol doesn't usually put you to sleep; it's supposed to relax you. I'm so petrified of ever having another endoscopy awake after the first few minutes I remember of mine that I simply won't agree to it unless they knock me out - really knock me out (demerol won't cut it!). You probably were awake but very relaxed, and then you don't remember anything so it's as if you were asleep.

My father had to lobby pretty hard to get knocked out for his endoscopy. They like to do it under heavy sedation, for some reason. Maybe just not adding the unnecessary risks of anesthesia? All I know is, I was 11 and I fought with all my strength to keep that tube from going down my throat. It's awful for anyone with a strong gag reflex.

momgotshocked
03-04-2011, 01:14 AM
Answer from my DH (who is an anesthesiologist):

Waking in actual, severe pain is usually due to some sort of chronic pain BEFORE the surgery, because it is harder to regulate the proper amount of medication. Otherwise, Drs are usually pretty good at arranging immediate comfort. That's not to say that later, after the meds have worn off, your patient wouldn't feel something!

Screaming (crying, combativeness) upon waking is still not that uncommon, because the anesthesia itself causes a loss of inhibition. So, even a little discomfort could cause an over-the-top (and potentially out-of-character) reaction.

And, endoscopy person: fight like hell next time, or find a new GI. There is no excuse anymore for an un-anesthetized endoscopy. Insurance pays for it. Some GI Drs just don't happen to work in centers with anesthesiologists (after all, it doesn't hurt them one bit) and they're not allowed to administer it themselves.

momgotshocked
03-04-2011, 01:15 AM
sorry -- that last bit had nothing to do with writing, but DH has strong feelings, and so do I.

Giant Baby
03-04-2011, 02:14 AM
... And, endoscopy person: fight like hell next time, or find a new GI. There is no excuse anymore for an un-anesthetized endoscopy. Insurance pays for it. Some GI Drs just don't happen to work in centers with anesthesiologists (after all, it doesn't hurt them one bit) and they're not allowed to administer it themselves.

sorry -- that last bit had nothing to do with writing, but DH has strong feelings, and so do I.

Support. My facility has been using sedation/anesthesia in endoscopy for only about six or seven years. My office was across the hall from one of the GI procedure rooms and I was very, VERY happy when that change was made. Anesthetized children don't scream, cry, and beg. It was hard on the children, hard on the families, and it was pretty hard to steel myself against that several times a day, every day, to be honest. Also, it scared the crap out of my patients, who had to be escorted through the GI corridor to our clinic space. Not. Zen.

Of course, less is always more to the greatest degree tolerable when you're talking about anesthesia. I suspect it was probably a shift in how "tolerable" was defined that prompted the change (but I was in no way involved or privy, and couldn't know for sure).

Apologies for the tangent. Hit a soft spot, there. :o