Health and Fitness

I Choose to Stay Awake During Surgery

Several years ago I needed surgery on my finger. My finger was broken and the bone was found to be thin. The doctor needed to take bone chips from my wrist and put it in my left ring finger. I have no idea what the procedure was called.

I do not like anesthesia, so I chose to stay awake throughout the two hour surgery.

When arrived in the hospital I was given a light tranquilizer to keep me relaxed. Once in the operating room, a tourniquet was put over my arm. I received a shot in my arm and it quickly was numb.

A sheet was out on the side of my arm and covered my face so I could not see the procedure.

I chose to listen to a CD with my own play list. I actually chose loud music so I could not hear what was happening. You could choose relaxing music if you choose.

I have to admit that I did feel the cut, chipping and sewing of my wrist. But, it was not painful. It was just enough feeling that it kind of tickled. I knew what was happening, but it did not hurt at all. And, I could not move my arm if I wanted to as it had little other feeling.

The anesthesiologist came into the operating room periodically to speak with me to see if I was okay or if I wanted to be put asleep. I was fine.

It did seem to take forever and the doctor seemed annoyed that I was awake, but the surgery itself seemed to be no big deal.

Once the surgery was over, the tourniquet was released and I had a few minutes of dizziness and light-headedness. Then I became very cold. Then nurse got me a warm blanket. But, in less than 15 minutes the feeling passed.

I stayed in the bed for about 15 minutes afterwards with a relative by my side. I was given apple juice. I was then asked to use the bathroom. As I returned I saw other people, who I had seen awaiting surgery with me in pre-op, asleep in their beds. I was glad I was ready to go home. They would probably remain groggy a few more hours. I was wide awake.

I had no ill effects and was released.

What I liked best about being awake during the surgery was that there was relatively no recovery time. I hate being dizzy and out of it. The 10 or so minutes removing the tourniquet was the worst time for me. Fortunately, the anesthesiologist stayed with me and told me to close my eyes as it was normal and would pass.

I recommend staying awake if you are afraid of anesthesia or if it makes you ill. Many people become nauseated from anesthesia. Being awake should prevent that from happening.

If you choose to stay awake, you must however, have something to pass your time. I don’t think it would have been good if I heard the doctor asking for a drill, scissors or whatever instruments were needed. The CD was perfect for me. I went into my own world and I think I actually sang out loud a few times as I thought I caught a faint laugh from a nurse.

My surgery was relatively easy. If your surgery is difficult or lasts more than a few hours, you may be better off choosing to sleep during it. Complete information should be available about the types of spine surgery available in the state. The medicines provided should be taken at the bed time to enhance the results. The experience of the patients should be excellent while getting treatment from the surgeons. The prices of the medicines will be according to the funds available. 

That was my experience. Next time I have surgery, I would probably choose to stay awake if possible.

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