Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Going under

When I was told that I would need to undergo a minor medical procedure under the influence of general anesthesia, I almost started hyperventilating. As much as I hate doctor/hospital visits, I usually follow the resultant treatments without much fuss. But, this time round, I started panicking with a capital P.

I was not worried too much about the actual procedure. Instead, the alarm bells in my head had started clanging loudly the moment the words "general anesthesia" were mentioned. Years and years ago, I had heard a story of a neighbor who was administered general anasthesia for a very minor and common place operation and wound up never coming out of it. Since then, the words general anesthesia have always conjured horrific images in my head.

Yeah, so, I was less than enthused to hear I had to go under general anesthesia (GA). I tried wangling out of it by suggesting other options but finally had to recoincile myself to GA. On the bright side, if anything happened to me I would be too gone to be aware of it. On the other hand, I felt profoundly sorry for my family if anything did happen to me  (I can be morbid like that).

Two nights before the procedure saw me wide awake. For some reason I kept envisioning a scenario where I would be unable to move my body or open my eyes on the operating table but where I could hear all the people around me and had to fight the panic that image brought in. That lack of control over myself had me scared out of my wits.

It did not help that S casually mentioned that he was one of those people who did not take easily to GA. In fact, once he had counted all the way up to 35 before the anesthetist decided that the dosage was probably too less for him and decided to increase it (usually anesthetists ask you to start counting while they wait for the drug to take effect and people are usually out before they reach 10). What if something similar happened to me?

Anyhow, the day of the surgery arrived. After prep and waiting, I was wheeled into the operation theatre (OT). Darn, the OT was frigging cold! I wished I had several more layers of blankets on me. But before I could mentally start whining about that, the moment of anesthesia arrived.

I guess I had a frightened deer caught in the OT lights look on my face for the anesthetist kindly look at me through her mask and asked "Is this your first time with anesthesia?" When I dumbly nodded, she said, "Don't worry ma. You will simply start sleeping in a bit." Then, some drug was injected and she asked, "Are your teeth loose?". What a weird question, I thought, mentally bookmarking that I should later google the relationship between general anesthesia and teeth (my inner geek shalt never be quelled).

Then she again said, "You will sleep in a bit". I lay staring at the bright overhead lights. I did not appear to be any closer to sleeping at all. Did they really inject anything into me? Oh, wait a minute, I feel lightly dizzy, maybe I would feel a bit more dizzy in a bit. But wait, I can still see the lights.

Someone was prodding me, "The procedure is over, are you fine?" I had been in the middle of some pleasant dream (I have no clue about what) and was mildly annoyed at being so unceremoniously woken up. But then, realization dawned: Wait a minute, I had gone under and come out of GA successfully. With absolutely no recollection of what had happened in between.Yaay!

Then I looked around and thought I was still in the OT. It took me several minutes before I processed that the overhead lights were missing and a bunch of cupboards had sprung up next to me, thus making it highly unlikely that I was still in the OT. Oh, I was probably in the recovery room then.

I was quite lucid post-GA and was even able to walk around on my own in a short while. Contrary to expectations of nausea,a common GA side-effect, I was ravenously hungry in a couple of hours and was demanding food (ha, who can separate Archana and her food!), having been foodless for close to 14 hours.

The next 24 hours saw my head spin lightly whenever I changed positions between sitting/standing and lying down. But otherwise, I was not very much worse for the wear and was completely back to normal the next day.

So yeah, as a in case of emergency nugget of info, I now know that I do not have adverse effects to GA. Yaay.


dinesh kumar said...

Hi new to your blog. came across your blog searching for links to vidathu karuppu serial. Read most of your posts. very entertaining!!! keep writing. You make writing look so easy.

SK said...

Haha! So thats how GA works! You make even the scariest of hings sounds funny!
Btw, hope you are okay, surgery sounds scary!

Art said...

hilarious... but good.. now that you know :)

Saumya said...

Hey Archana - hope you are okay now. your GA counting bought back some memories. A friend of ours was told to keep subtracting 3 from 24. Usually, most of them stopped at zero apparently for sub-consciously the mind has to adjust to the negatives. This guy went on 6,3,0,-3,-6,-9,-12 and kept going all the way till -36. He had the attending surgeons and nurses in splits - 'Definitely en engineer' they all said!

Serendipity said...

:-) glad you're ok Archie the lil nautanki !

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