33 Surgery Patients Share The Terror And Panic Of Waking Up In The Middle Of Surgery

via Flickr - Arthur Bergman
via Flickr – Arthur Bergman

1. Awake But Paralyzed

I woke up, felt really peaceful. Couldn’t really see anything, I think my eyes were just cracked open a bit, so I had the impression of people moving around.

Then I tried to take a breath. Couldn’t do it. All my muscles were paralyzed. I started to get air hunger so badly, my mind was racing, I was in a panic, but I could not make my lungs take in air and I couldn’t tell any of these shadowy doctors and nurses around me that I was dying. It was horrible. I think someone noticed my heart was racing because there was a sudden feeling of extra attention and alarm from the shadowy figures and I was put under again.

When I spoke with my doctor about it later he admitted there had been a bit of a problem with the anesthesiology, but that I had never been in danger. He apologized and I appreciated both that I hadn’t imagined this horrible situation, and that he hadn’t tried to pretend I imagined it. My brother is a nurse and some of the crappy things he’s told me he’s seen happen in the operating room are never admitted to patients afterward, I guess because of fear of lawsuits.


2. “Just Relax”

I woke up when they were removing a small bone from my foot that was broken. Remember feeling them poke around in my foot so decided to take a look. Remember seeing the incision and just then, a nurse noticed me with my head up. She just lightly pushed my head back down, told me to close eyes, and the next thing I know I was in the recovery room.


3. While Getting A Metal Plate

I woke up while they were putting a metal plate in my arm. They used a block which basically made my entire arm from shoulder to hand numb. When I woke up I could remember hearing a drill and a slight pressure in the arm they were working on. I just said “This is awesome” followed shortly by someone saying “oops.” Quickly went back to sleep.


4. “Oh”

I was getting a lumbar puncture to check how the cancer was going and woke up on the table. I was listening to the people in the room getting ready to stick in the needle and I said, “You know I’m awake?” and they were just like “oh, better give him some more.”

I was around 10 and after that they started giving me adult doses of propofol to put me under. I also needed to be held in place since I apparently like to flop around.


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