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Diatribe: Being Awake When You’re Unconscious.


unconscious, sunburn, anesthesiaI’ve always been susceptible to sunburn.  When I was a child, I was fortunate enough to get to travel with my family on many many adventures.  Like most American families, one of our favorite destinations was the state of Florida.  Over the years, we visited every beach along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.  I was usually the only kid on the beach or in the pool who was wearing long sleeves and a big hat.

Back then, we didn’t have “sunscreen” we had suntan lotion.  It wasn’t used for protection from the sun’s rays but to enhance the effects of sunshine in an attempt to get a healthy glow.  I couldn’t be bothered with it.  I thought it was messy and sticky and its application only slowed me down.  I didn’t care about getting a tan so, defying my parents’ instructions, I would go without skin protection.  And I would get sunburned.

One particular burn was extraordinarily bad.  I was blistered and miserable and, probably, dehydrated.  During the night, when I got out of bed to use the bathroom, I passed out.  To this day, I remember quite vividly laying on the floor, unable to move or speak, but still able to hear.  My family thought I was joking around but I wasn’t.  I heard them saying “Knock it off!  Get up!  That’s not funny!” but I was unable to respond.  When they realized I wasn’t playing along, the quickly came to my rescue.

Twenty-two-year-old Simon Rosenqvist recently filed a complaint with Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare because he woke up in the middle of a surgery and couldn’t speak or move a muscle.

“My brain kept telling me over and over ‘say your name, say something, do something, wiggle your toes,’ but I was completely incapable of saying something or moving my body at all,’” Simon Rosenqvist

That’s exactly what I remember from the sunburn incident!

Rosenqvist told authorities that he was awake for the majority of his fifty-50 minute procedure and that he was in serious pain and very angry.  Although it’s very rare, experts say that patients do sometimes wake up during surgeries even when they’ve been given general anesthesia.  A variety of reasons can account for these unfortunate occurrences and in many cases, counseling is advised to help deal with the memories.

Fortunately, my memories aren’t all that traumatic.  Mostly because every single member of my family has an exceptionally outrageous sense of humor and what I remember is them having fun.

At my expense …

Copyright © 2012

From → Diatribes

  1. Fascinating that you were awake when you passed out. That must have been a horrible sunburn! I talked to a lady once who had been in a coma and she said she could hear people but they seemed to be far far away. The consciousness is so mysterious. And to wake up during an operation is a horrifying thing to even think about. (Your family sounds like a lot of fun btw).


  2. Lene permalink

    I remember it all very well. Poor thing. We kept telling you to knock it off. Sorry.
    I also know a woman who was in that same “awake” situation during a C-section. Yikes.


  3. Not exactly the same, but a few years ago I had to have surgery at the base of my big toe to remove some necrotic tissue from a spider bite. I had been given an ankle block (where they put a tourniquet between my knee & ankle & put about a dozen needles of local freezing in a ring around my leg). I was laying on the operating table & the surgeon started to cut when I said “I can feel something sharp.” It turned out I wasn’t completely frozen & had to have a lot more freezing put in before they could complete the surgery. I was on crutches for 3 days before all the freezing came out completely & I could feel my foot again. I’m glad it was only my foot or I might have had some serious nightmares!


  4. ive had 3 surgeries and my only concern was this. lol


  5. I read about this in the news and seriously freaked out. What a nightmare!


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