Guess I should give everyone an update. As most people said, general anesthesia just knocks you RIGHT out. Read previous journal entry for lead-in to this one!
Sitting in the waiting room, filling out paperwork, I saw a man in scrubs come through the door carrying this bulky-ass machine with shag carpeting attached all over it. I remember thinking it looked stupid.
I thought "THAT.... is a stupid looking machine."
After the paper work was finished, we waited for about another 15 minutes before the waiting room door opened.
"Come on back", the nurse of Indian decent said as she led me away from my family and the other unfortunate people in the waiting room, away from the "comforting" television news coverage of the worsening economy, away from the fun bright magazines scattered over the tables.
I waved goodbye at the family and strode purposefully after her, knowing it would be my last purposeful stride for a long time. My nerves were surprisingly calm. I suppose the knowledge that I'd already sunk a bunch of money into this malady built up my resolve to go through with it.
I hopped up on the bed in a curtained alcove as she handed me a few items. She went through a list of questions with me and had me sign and initial some paperwork. Standard stuff, like whether or not I agreed to have the procedure, that it was on my left knee, what the procedure was, that I understood they'd be using general anesthesia, and a little more strangely something about my inheritance and first born as well as what looked like some kind of demon pact.
I signed it all. I mean... I'd already sunk all that money in, right?
The man with the stupid machine showed up suddenly, and I realized that I was to be the stupid recipient of the stupid machine. He gave me an explanation about how the machine worked, that I was to use it for 6 hours a day, every day, for two weeks (i.e. the rest of my life) to allow it to bend my knee back and forth to keep the new ligament from scarring over with giant bone deposits. That made sense.
Afterwards, the nurse hopped out of the room, drew the curtain and asked me to change into the items she'd handed me. I peered into the collection of clothes and found the expected backless gown. And pantyhose.
"Remove your clothes, except for your underwear, and put on the gown please! Also, put just one circulation sock on your right leg!" she explained.
"Okay," I said, and did as told, pulling the thigh high as far up my leg as I could.
Once finished, she came back in and had me lie down on my back as she hooked up the IV.
"Do you want to put your glasses with the rest of your things? Or would you rather keep them on for now? If you want to keep them, we'll take them off right before surgery and put it in your bag for you," she asked.
"I'd like to keep them on, please."
She smiled and continued about her business.
The anesthesiologist stepped into the room, a pleasant looking Korean fellow who began asking me questions and giving me suggestions about my anesthesia.
Meanwhile, the nurse said "I'm going to shave your leg" and went at it with an electric razor. Never has my leg been so smooth. Except maybe after birth.
"Nerve block," I said, even before the anesthesiologist had finished his rant.
"We DO recommend that because it--"
"Yes, give me the nerve block."
My brother, who has had TWO ACL reconstructive surgeries in his life, strongly recommended the nerve block. It consists of the anesthesiologist sticking a needle into your thigh while you're semi-conscious from the general anesthetic, and injecting lidocaine or some other local anesthetic right into the main nerve branch in your leg. This deadens everything from your thigh down the front of your leg... for 12 hours.
"Nerve block it is! And we will be putting you under with general anesthesia," he said as he went to his big box of syringes, "which I'll attach to your IV. You'll be out within a few minutes."
"Okay," I breathed, a little nervously, now, not knowing what to really expect next.
My doctor strode past, waving at me with a big fake smile. I waved back.
People started bustling around me. Then the anesthesiologist stepped over with a syringe with another syringe sticking out of the side of it. That's an interesting contraption, I thought. Much less stupid looking than my shag carpet leg machine. The doctor arrived and drew or wrote something on my leg just as the anesthesiologist hooked the syringe contraption up to my IV. I knew at some point they were planning to drive a needle into my thigh to put in the nerve block, so I'd probably be at least a little conscious when
I thought I had blinked, but when my eyes opened again, I felt a dull pain around my left knee and the scene had changed. Everything was blurry except for the nurse leaning over me asking:
"Are you in any pain? What's your pain level from 1 to 10?"
"Thourgh," I responded.
"From 1 to 10, how badly does it hurt?"
"Fwee... o' fo'.... thee... abouth.... mebbe... fo'...."
"What's that? Three or four?"
"Yeah.. yeah, about a three or a four..." HEY, my tongue worked again!
"Okay... okay, that's good... you're all done. Are you feeling queasy or anything?"
"No, I'm okay... I'm okay."
The doctor strode by again with his fake smile throwing a thumbs up sign "Everything went fine!"
"Okay," I croaked, but he was already gone.
"I'm going to get you a wheel chair," the nurse said, "and then we'll wheel you out to see your family.
"Okay," I said, and they left me alone to get dressed.
By the time I was wheeled out, most of the cobwebs had cleared. And I felt hungry (I hadn't eaten or had anything to drink for about 14 hours by this point). They loaded me into the car, and I realized my glasses were missing. We checked my bag of belongings. Nothing.
Nurses looked around. Nothing.
I started getting pissed and I displayed as much, to my later chagrin, to the nurse, who kept smiling and maintaining that this never happened before. It got worse when someone said "it should be in his cap".
I did not have a cap.
At this point, I started to get pretty angry because it sounded like they'd fed my glasses to some other dude's cap.
Then the nurse said "did you check your pockets?"
"Yeah, I checked--" Cue anime sweat drop.
I WAS DRUGGED, OKAY? And they'd put it in the left pocket, so I never felt it banging against my numbed up left leg.
I apologized as she shut the door in my face and everyone hopped in. We chuckled nervously about it as we drove back to my house.
This past week has been a bit challenging with me having to stay in a prone position for much of the day. Although it does give me time to write long ramblings about my experience, such as this.
So, what was general anesthesia like? Was it like sexless porn? Was it like loving a piece of cotton? Or maybe like flying through the air on a feathery lion?
No, it wasn't really like any of those. I'd say... if I had to describe it, I'd say it was more like
Listening to: Pandora
Watching: Lost and The Office