Monday, April 14, 2008

If I Should Die Before I Wake

It's hard to put into words how I see it in my mind. The idea of being put under. It is such a bizarre concept. Honestly, put under? Under what?

Strangely, I do see it as a kind of slipping under the surface. Like from being above the surface of a pool, to beneath. Not blue. But dark. Not necessarily scary, but not exactly comforting, either.

I have had three abdominal surgeries for which I have been put under. For two of those three procedures I stopped breathing in recovery.

I remember that I. just. slowed. down. and. then. stopped. breathing.

I remember hearing the alarm going off and the nurse coming over, reminding me to breathe. Very gently, very nicely.

I remember thinking Okay...I will try...

I was just so relaxed.

The second time, I remember the irritation. Of the nurse that is. She sounded so pissed. So impatient. Maybe I'd forgotten to breathe several times? This surgery was in the US (as opposed to the two I had in Europe), and I remember hearing the alarms going off and the nurse scolding me saying You have to remember to breathe!!!!! In kind of a god-dammit-you-are-ruining-my-coffee-break-because-you-keep-making-me-
come-over-here-to-save-your-dumb-ass kind of voice.

I remember thinking Oh...this is just like the last time...

I remember feeling contrite. I'm not doing it on purpose...I didn't mean to...

Every now and then, this happens when I sleep. I jerk awake, gasping for air. I know that I had stopped breathing. I don't know how, but I just know.

To call it disconcerting is an understatement. I mean, how do you forget to breathe?


.:| Melissa |:. said...

Isn't that like Sleep Apnea? Have you had that checked out? If not, I would!! That's scary!!

Goodness, that'd make me feel really uneasy about being "put under".

I need to have two surgeries (hopefully, they can both be done at the SAME time!) and thankfully, I haven't had any issues with being put under.

Other than waking up SCREAMING because I'm in pain, and DAMMIT, I don't fucking care that you already gave me a shot of morphine, IT'S NOT WORKING!! I HURT!!! and NO do NOT give me Demerol, all it does is make me PUKE, and have VERY vivid dreams, but does NOT take away my pain.

And then .... they give me the damned Demerol anyway. And I puke. And I have VERY vivid dreams. But I am STILL in PAIN!!!

I now tell them I'm allergic to Demerol. Solved that problem, right quick it did! LOL Now I get Dilaudid instead. OH YEAAAAAAA BAY-BAY! *giggles*

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

I remember after my surgery with Dr. N, I wasn't breathing deeply enough in recovery. THAT made me paranoid and I wouldn't go to sleep because my drug-addled brain translated "not breathing deeply" into "not breathing at all". Finally, they hooked me up to the oxygen and I fell asleep.

Chris in Flux said...

That is scary. I used to kind of like that feeling of going under anasthesia. The last time, though, it wasn't so nice. Particularly the recovery part. Not nearly as bad as yours, however.

Momma said...

That is definitely sleep apnea. You need to see a sleep specialist and have it checked out, because you can experience all kinds of nasty health problems (including heart disease) from the lack of oxygen during the apneas. I know a little about it, because hubby and I both have it.

You also need to let any anesthesiologist who is putting you under that you have trouble breathing after anesthesia. That way, they'll be carefully watching you.

As for that nurse, she needed her ass kicked. I hate when they take out their bad days on patients. As if you were having a lovely time yourself!

Peace - D

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@Melissa & Momma: You know, I never even thought it could be that bc I always associated sleep apnea with obstructions/snoring. I guess I'll have to think about what I should do.

@CMGD: Yeah, I am sure I will eventually have to have Dr. Miracle "work" on me again. Not looking forward to that. Neither is my bank account. LOL

@CiF: Surgery for you too, eh? I don't think I've heard that story. My recovery wasn't particularly scary. I think I was too out of it to be scared. The whole thing was pretty surreal.

K-Mom said...

I've only been "under" once and it was for oral surgery. I didn't have any problems breathing, but I did have a dream while I was under that I was driving a shiny new black El Camino, but I had to keep hitting the brakes because unicorns were flying around me screaming out telephone numbers.

I asked a person who analyzes dreams about it and she told me she wouldn't touch that one with a ten foot pole. I took that to mean it wasn't good.

buddha_girl said...

Exactly - as others have said - sleep apnea. My husband has it and sleeps with a CPAP - it's a mask on his face. He had to undergo some sleep studies to be completely diagnosed. Once he had that CPAP he finally SLEPT. It was like having a new man again because he was actually RESTED. Before that, he was actually in REM, at most, for ONE HOUR each night. Documented. At the sleep study. Scary shit.

As for the nurse who was being a complete dickhead - I wish I could have been there as your advocate. As patients, we let the medical staff know of such things as STOPPING BREATHING, ya know...simple things like that, before we go under the knife. If they look at it as an inconvenience, FUCK THEM.

SSG said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SSG said...

Hey that not breathing thing sounds scary, I think my ex-FIL had it and he had to wear a mask to help him breathe now and again. I dont get that but I get sleep paralysis, I always wonder if it's what being in a coma is like- my brain is awake but I cant move any muscles, cant open my eyes, cant regulate my breathing, but I can hear and I know i'm awake, i HATE IT!!! buddha girl- how much REM sleep do we need? i've no idea. At the moment I'm waking up all the time and even though the sleep adds up to a good 8 hrs I still feel knackered. I've never been put under anaesthesia, i think i would have a fit, i dont think i would like waiting to pass out... you are all very brave!

Candy said...

Well that would make me a little reticent to go under the knife. Maybe you can bring a personal jostler to keep you breathing by poking you every few minutes?

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Yeah - what Candy said. A personal jostler. Like one of your kids. Going "Mom.Mom.Mom.Mom.Mom.Mom."

That should keep your blood pressure sufficiently elevated enough from falling into a deep trance.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@K-Mom: Dude!! I wish she HAD given you the explanation of that! That sounds like it would have been amazing!

@Buddha_Girl: If I had been able to open my eyes to see who had said that to me I WOULD have kicked her ass. After I was able to actually stand up, that is.

@SSG: Yeah, the whole surgery thing is weird. When they stretch you our and strap your arms down, it is hard not to feel as if you are being crucified.

@Candy: I have a personal jostler. My cat. I can't even count the number of times he wakes me up at night.

@BvB: You are a riot! I guess you have a point, LittleBird already does a damned fine job!