Don't Curse the Nurse!

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Dream, Dream, Dream

on January 14, 2016

8012635_origI wonder if my patients dream during surgery.

I wonder if the last person they see pops up in their subconscious while their surgeon is cutting, suctioning, or fixing immovable joints and stenotic veins.

I wonder if anesthesia makes “sleep state” dreams more vivid, less vivid, or ominous in their meaning.

People seem to be less afraid of the anesthesia, and more of the cutting and alterations made while they “sleep”. That’s ironic to me, seeing as the incisions are portals to our pain —reminders of our presence here.

Anesthesia steals our time.

I’ve had patients again and again wake up post procedure with the confused look on their face because it feels like only minutes have passed when it has been over an hour. I’ve had recovery nurses tell me the confusion post-op patients feel makes them anxious and elevates their pressure.

It’s the only instance when I don’t sing the praises of anesthetics — when you encounter those that are sensitive to their time here, whether it’s blissful or complicated.

So I hope that when they must “sleep” on one of their visits to a surgery center or the surgical unit of a hospital, they dream.

And they remember it.

And it’s a good dream.

15 responses to “Dream, Dream, Dream

  1. Victo Dolore says:

    “Anesthesia steals our time.” I love this! I agree. Anesthesia scares me more than the pain does.

  2. mikah257 says:

    I do a lot of dream work. My guess is that dreams during anesthesia are comforting, based on what I’ve read about dreams during war or other trauma. Our subconscious tries to take care of us.

  3. dvaal says:

    If I’ve dreamed during surgery -I certainly don’t remember. But, I do remember once waking up, and thinking, it can’t be over, I just feel asleep. Sweet post.

    • Susan says:

      I have heard anesthesiologists say that every once in a blue moon, someone advances to a semiconscious state momentarily and then returns back to “anesthetic slumber”.

  4. brooke says:

    I’ve had one surgery and I remember everything going black and then waking up in recovery. And it did feel like minutes.

  5. jsneese62 says:

    I have had several surgeries in my life and i have never had a dream that I remember. Now I have had dreams while in twilight sleep and they I have to say were pretty weird lol. I would think that in general anesthesia you would be too far under to be able to dream, but maybe not though I don’t ever remember doing so.

  6. I’ve heard of some people that appear to be “under,” but are really fully awake. Now THAT is scary to me!

  7. I have had to have three surgeries and dreaming was not part of them. I thought I would have some recollection of the time, but that wasn’t the case with the modern anesthesia. In the old days, yes, I did have recollections of slight pressures and some moments of rising out of the anesthesia before they gave me more. This last surgery the time was completely lost, dreams would have been nice just for memories sake.

    • Susan says:

      So sorry about the older surgeries and hope there are no more to come. Most tell me of the loopy feeling that came just before they fell off to sleep.

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