Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A tale of two anaesthetics

Many years ago... what? No. This was after the wheel was invented, thanks for asking.


Many years ago, when I was bearing my wee bairns, it was discovered, that when in fact I should have been in nasty, horrible, rip-the-head-off-anyone-who-came-near-me labour, I was in fact... not. I, apparently, lack the appropriate enzymes, uptake gizmos, biological whatever-it-is to properly process pitocin, that darling little hormone that causes labour to start and progress to the point of popping out a wee 'un.

So, t'was nothing else to do but to go under the knife. Luckily, there was no anaesthesiologist available who was qualified to perform an epidural, because if there's anything worse than hearing they're going to cut you open, it's that they're going to cut you open while you're awake. Ew. So they knocked me out.

They did rather a good job of it the first time. Too good in fact. The nurse in the recovery room had to wake me by screaming my name at me (it sounded like screaming to me) and I was so groggy that when my husband placed the baby next to me on the bed, I couldn't even lift my hand to touch her. In fact, I could hardly see her, I was so groggy. The fact that no one in the room who was fully conscious (i.e. everyone but me) was intelligent enough to give me my glasses didn't help. Nor did the post-surgical searing pain as the morphine (good stuff, that) hadn't quite kicked in yet. They could have handed me a pair of bowling shoes and I would have been none the wiser at that point. "Twins!" I would have mumbled, as they wheeled me off to the maternity ward, "I wasn't expecting twins."

Fast forward four years. Second baby, same scenario. No labour for me. Out they put me again. And again a general. (Relieved I was, I can tell you.) But this time there was no slowly coming to in the recovery room being screamed at by a nurse who was probably not only annoyed by the fact that I wouldn't come to but also that I was making her late for her coffee break. Oh, no. I thought I'd save them all the trouble of waking me and woke up on my own. In the operating room. Tube still down my throat. In fact, I think it was the sputtering and gagging sounds I was making that alerted them to the fact that the patient was not, in fact, still unconscious as she was meant to be. The first words I heard that time were not my name but a somewhat frantic, "Oh my god! She's waking up! Get that tube out of her throat!" The only thing that kept me from panicking was the fact that, while I was conscious and could hear plainly enough, I was still paralyzed from head to toe. Couldn't even open my eyes. Couldn't speak even after they took the tube out. The drug that knocks you out is separate from the one that paralyzes your muscles, it would seem. And it's darned hard to panic and run around the room flapping your arms, when you can't even blink.

The good thing was, I had a lovely nurse who refrained from screaming anything at me, even my name, and very kindly explained what was going on, reassured me that everything was fine and that, in fact, my obstetrician was very pleased with me as I'd 'done a very good job.' Which struck me as quite funny, because I'd done nothing but lie there unconscious while all the serious work was going on. So I laughed. Only inside my head, of course, as I was still incapable of making any sound. So, it would seem that even general aneasthesia can't knock out my sense of humour. Which is nice. Because I was going to need it when I met my roommate later that same day. But that's another post.


Anonymous Kat said...

You couldn't possibly be trying to scare someone who's hoping to have her first child in the next few years, could you?

(And no, I am not pregnant. The next person who offers that as an explanation for whatever it is that's ailing me will be summarily strangled. It's become my 20's version of my teen "Oh, she must be on her period.")

Luckily, I have never woken up during any of my surgeries. Anasthesia seems to work extrememly well on me, i.e. it takes me a really long time to become conscious (and then even longer to become coherent) after they knock me out. I think I inherited that from my dad.

November 16, 2006 at 11:03 a.m.  
Blogger Ricardipus said...

I say this:


Also, you must have some screwy metabolic pathway, not responding to Pitocin. Just stating the obvious there. Wonder if it's common?

I have myself during a C-section. They kindly put up a drape so that I couldn't actually see them slicing into my lovely wife.

Junior Ricardipus #1 was extremely p*ssed off at being yanked out of his nice, warm home, as I recall. I have the photos to prove it.

That is all.

November 16, 2006 at 11:06 a.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

No intent to scare anyone. Didn't even think about anyone else. Because this blog? Is all about me. All me, all the time.

My ex didn't have to go into the OR and, in fact, wasn't allowed because I was having a general. Had I had the dreaded epidural, he would have been allowed in as he would have been useful as a distraction for me.

Screwy metabolic pathway? It wouldn't be the first time I've been called a schwoowy wabbit. My lack of reaction to Pitocin is somewhat unusual. I obviousy don't produce enough on my own, as I do not go into labour on my own. At least not the two times it would have been appropriate. The first delivery, when they realized I wasn't going into labour and tried to induce me, it may have failed due to a badly inserted IV. When I got to the OR, the anaesthesiologist fiddled with my hand, then angled it 45 degrees down from my arm, asked if that was okay and then taped my hand and arm to the board that way because (brace yourself) "That's the only position that allows the IV line to run properly." WTF!!! Perhaps that was the cause of the lack of response to 14 HOURS on "the drip." I had also heard the obstetritican questioning the nurse about the dosage outside my room, "You've been giving her HOW much???? Well no wonder mumble, mumble, mumble..." and then they walked out of hearing distance. I've also since read that you can reach a satuation point, at which time the drug/hormone should be stopped for a while and re-started later. Since they don't induce once you've already had a C-section, I didn't get a chance to find out whether it would have worked, done properly.

And I'm only going into this detail because R'pus is a biologist-type of scientistiscal type and might actually find it interesting. The rest of you can just avert your eyes.

There. It's all over. That didn't hurt a bit, did it?

November 16, 2006 at 5:28 p.m.  
Blogger Ricardipus said...

Goodness me, I'm sorry I said anything... [wink]

November 16, 2006 at 8:51 p.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

That'll learn ya!

November 16, 2006 at 9:53 p.m.  
Blogger Misty said...

Dear gods, and yikes a plenty, and I can also tell you the same thing happened to me! Only not while I was having a baby, but when I underwent a laparoscopy. I woke up to find a tube in my throat that was stopping me from breathing and I couldn't even blink to let them know. Some 'helpful' person was saying "Come on, breathe!" and all I could think was 'yeah, take the fu*king tube out of my throat and I will!'. Luckily they took the tube out when another person mentioned that that could be the problem.
You have my sympathy, pet!

November 17, 2006 at 9:38 a.m.  
Anonymous TC said...

Waooooooh! That sounds like Tales of Edgar Alen Poe.

Does your room mate turn out to be Dracula?...cuz dat wud be cool!

November 19, 2006 at 3:14 p.m.  
Blogger Aunty Marianne said...

I am SO grateful I didn't wake up when the surgeon was scraping tumors out of my pubic bone.

Very, very grateful indeed.

November 22, 2006 at 2:53 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had my kids 22 and 23 years ago and remember it as if it were TODAY!!!

Thought I'd go natural-like (read:STUPID) and was laying around for 24 hours in the labour rooms listening to all kinds of hatred spewing forth in the form of obsence words when it occured to me that there was, in fact, a very good reason for drugs! But, by then it was too late!

Must say though, that my pride was still a big concern and never muttered a single oath, never yelled at a single insenstive nurse and never once shit-kicked the stupid doctor for making me wait while he changed from golfing gear into scrubs! You'd think 24 hours was enough time to prepare?

November 22, 2006 at 7:07 p.m.  
Blogger TRT said...

November 27, 2006 at 12:55 p.m.  

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