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Anaesthetic Awareness - My PTSD

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Beachbum, Oct 9, 2006.

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  1. Beachbum

    Beachbum Active Member

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    hi, i'm new here & have learnt lots already from y'all, had felt so mad and alone for so long, but got a big question, something that isn't covered in 'what is traumatic enough' info: i experienced what's called 'anaesthetic awareness', when you wake up in the operating theatre, paralysed by muscle-relaxants and can't breathe and/or pain of the surgery, feel absolute & extreme terror (i got to the point after fighting desperately to try & breathe and stay alive for some minutes, i knew i couldn't, became calm, gave up & accepted my imminent death - but i didn't die, thought i had (yup, had a view from high up on the wall looking down at me!), woke in recovery... reported it to 6+ staff at hospital and all lied to me or ignored me.

    Have since found out lots about a/a as we call it: anaesthetic's biggest secret, only now getting the acceptance that it DOES happen & patients should not be told it was a 'dream' anymore. all anaesthetic guidelines state that when patients report this it should be instantly acknowledged and investigated with honest explanation to patients as that way helps prevent the 'psychological sequelae' of the trauma - but still in very many cases it is lied about & covered up to protect doctors'/hospitals' careers & reputations and prevent litigation - but it's been shown that honesty is far more likely to prevent litigation. sorry, am i rambling?!

    Anyway, me, i've been fighting for 10 months to get info/answers & lots of my medical notes being withheld. after op severe cognitive impairment/reliving/no sleep/anger/twitches etc. have improved but despairing i'll be properly the capable & carefree me i was before... but adapting (angry i have to) and afraid i'll forget how/who i was but know less frustration id i do forget! hmmmm. anyone else out there been here? i'm only a 1-finger typist, so this takes me ages. see; UK: anaestheticawareness.net and USA: anesthesiaawareness.com have you got one on oz? thanks for being there y'all! forgot to say: they think a/a happens in about 1 in 500 general anaesthetics (esp when muscle-relaxants used & tracheal tube down throat & machine breathing for you - if the staff are doing it properly!).
     
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  3. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Hi Beachbum,

    Welcome to the forum. Man, that must have been scary. I had something similiar happen while they were doing day 'keyhole' surgery so not anything major but the anaesthetist was right onto it. I only remember being aware for a very brief period .........probably seconds to tell you the truth. Never thought about reporting it as it was all kind of surreal but I know that I woke up. Guess it happens more often than you realise because the medical staff would be keen to cover that up that's for sure. Hope that you get the help that you need and some info from this site.
     
  4. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Welcome to the forum beachbum... glad you have joined us.
     
  5. Remnarc

    Remnarc Member

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    Welcome :)
     
  6. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    That sounds very scary and traumatizing. I am glad you found us. I have heard of it and it sounds like one of the most horrible things one could experience. Welcome aboard!
     
  7. Beachbum

    Beachbum Active Member

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    thanks for welcome. please can anyone answer this: since my op & a/a my pupils have been stuck constricted (small) - i've searched ptsd info all over the place & no mention - is it a symptom (i'm not on any drugs except caffeine & cigs!) ?, anyone else got/had that? and the visual probs: can't see things (esp when looking for something & then it's there in front of me) and if i don't know what i'm seeing or something new, takes a while to understand what i'm seeing. and people i don't know so well, feel my brain (what's left of it) ticking through options trying to know who they are. and new dyslexic-type stuff, write 2nd letter of word first - all SO odd... am seeking psycho assessment coz not sure if all ptsd and/or to do with lack of oxygen.? or is it just that i'm looking fo physical cause (coz ptsd & mild brain damage symptoms similar) rather than accepting it's all in my head? i'm not an expert! any views welcome, thanks.
     
  8. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    I don't know about the pupils... Mine dilate when I hit panic mode and look high. That is all I know about those. I do know concentration and confusion are often company with me, more so during a panic attack or too much going on around me at once. With 4 kids it happens a lot. I will do that when I am writing with my words, never put much thought into it, doesn't happen typing though. Just never worried about it, or thought it was a big deal. If confusion hits hard enough I just flat cannot spell.
     
  9. cdunny

    cdunny Active Member

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    wow. Sounds like something I saw on The Twilight Zone one time. That is scary. Makes me think twice about going under the knife. I hope you find the help you need. Welcome to the Forum. Feel free to ramble any time.
     
  10. Beachbum

    Beachbum Active Member

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    thanks you all, night-night.
     
  11. cookie

    cookie I'm a VIP

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    beachbum, have you had your eyes checked by an opthamologist? if not, i would definately do that first. that is not normal, and you may have something unrelated to the ptsd going on.
     
  12. motorjack

    motorjack Active Member Premium Member

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    welcome

    Hello good to see you here... thought you were american with ya'll:drugs:
     
  13. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    I agree with Cookie! Get your eyes checked out by a specialist.

    Hey, I worked in a OR but only doing C-sections and some gynecological surgery. I know that it happens and that it happens more often than most people think. Under our anesthesia consent, it is stated clearly that some awareness may occur with the presence of feeling pain and being paralized. I know that the numbers are not high, according to wik about 0.1 percent of all people who go under. You were very, very unfortunate.

    Sometimes the only way a doctor or anesthesia know that something terrible is happening is by the heartrate. It usually skyrockets because of the intense fear. Even Wik says that some people who went through A/A suffer from PTSD.
    I am so sorry this happened to you. I hope that you will find peace soon.

    I bet you have a bit of trouble falling asleep, eh?

    Welcome aboard,
    Nam
     
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