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Terrified of General Anaesthetic

(20 Posts)
CaroleLM16 Sun 12-Sep-21 17:07:24

I have a huge cyst on my left ovary and although it isn’t causing me any problems and my CA125 tests for cancer are okay, I’ve been strongly advised to have it removed along with my ovaries. That would be fine if they could do it with an epidural but they can’t and I have to have a general anaesthetic. I am absolutely terrified of losing consciousness. I almost died a few years ago because I kept refusing one. Obviously I was fine after but I am petrified. Any advise as to how to get around the fear? I know it’s illogical and I’m incredibly mard smile but…. Help!

humptydumpty Sun 12-Sep-21 17:11:00

Can I suggest that you try a hypnotherapist? I was sceptical about this but my daughter has had this done for something she was very stressed about, and it worked incredibly well.

crazyH Sun 12-Sep-21 17:13:22

I don’t know how you can get over the fear, but I had to have it once, to remove a cyst in my breast. I have asthma and so was a bit apprehensive, but the anaesthetic came over to me and had a pre-op chat. He allayed my fears. Btw, I loved the feeling of total calm just before you fall into this deep sleep. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

Shinamae Sun 12-Sep-21 17:21:15

I have had about four general Anaesthetics and like crazy H says there is nothing to be scared of and I love the feeling when they put the needle in the cannula and you start to drift off.. but if you are genuinely so scared try hypnotherapist like somebody else suggested….

Silverbridge Sun 12-Sep-21 17:22:00

When invited for your pre-op, talk to the nurse about your anxiety. Ask, if possible, to be near the top of the surgeon's operating list that day if you feel your flight response will be hard to control. When the surgeon and anaesthetist come to see you to sign the consent, mention your concerns again and ask for a pre-med to calm you down. They really are very skilled at dealing with anxious patients and will do their best to alleviate your fears.

Grandmafrench Sun 12-Sep-21 17:27:25

Poor you - I feel exactly the same. You've written, "I almost died a few years ago". That's where you need to start; you've learnt from that, you know you must have it done sooner or later, so it's possibly a case of 'feel the fear and do it anyway'. Be prepared to be totally honest and when you speak to the Anaesthetist, be sure to say exactly how bad you feel and how great your terror. They will have a plan for this, can reassure you, and will probably give you something which will totally relax you well in advance of the procedure. Start making a plan or arrange a real treat for yourself for when you are recovered. Take the view that you deserve this and enjoy planning it as something positive to look forward to. Remember this is elective surgery at the moment - you have the choice, but you've made the responsible choice, for you. That's a brave thing in itself. I bet you'd advise a friend or family member to pull up their big girl pants and just go for it - so stay calm, please do it, and look forward to being fully fit again ....... with a gold star for bravery.
Good luck!

BlueBelle Sun 12-Sep-21 19:27:34

I m the exact opposite I enjoy that feeling of drifting off and the thought of pain is enough for me to beg for a general
I think you ve been given some good advice nothing I can add but say good luck and please don’t leave it

Luckygirl Sun 12-Sep-21 20:44:55

My OH was a doctor and he always used to say that when you are under anaesthetic you are safer than at any other time in your life as there is a team of people monitoring your every bodily system to make sure you are safe and well!

Mattsmum2 Sun 12-Sep-21 20:49:52

It’s understandable that you feel anxious and speak to the anaesthetist. I had open heart surgery in 2018 and was terrified I wouldn’t wake up again, but my consultant was very reassuring. Best of luck x

Grandmajean Sun 12-Sep-21 21:01:41

I had to have a general anaesthetic many years ago and was terrified. The anaesthetist came to see me before the op and gave me some Valium. It was the best ! I was sooo happy to go to the theatre and I remember telling everyone it was 7.10 pm because I could see the clock on the way in. Brain of Britain.
A sedative beforehand was definitely the answer for me.

LauraNorder Sun 12-Sep-21 21:38:15

I felt the same as you Carole, very sceptical especially as I have a COPD.
Didn’t have much choice a little while ago when I had to have a head op.
No idea why I was worried, what a lovely feeling as you just drift away and next thing a lovely nurse is repeating your name as you drift back to consciousness again and it’s all done.
Another great side effect was that I didn’t feel any pain from my usual back ache for a good week afterwards and certainly no ill effects to my chest.
Still have a hole in my head mind you but it’s only tiny and nothing to do with the anaesthetic.
Good luck and think about Luckygirls wise words, she knows you know 😂

V3ra Sun 12-Sep-21 22:43:57

You won't know a thing about it. I've always been amazed to wake up and find it's all over!

GagaJo Sun 12-Sep-21 23:40:36

CarolelM16, I have had many general anaesthetics and before the first, was as scared as you. However, realising this, a nurse took me aside and told me the miniscule percentage of risk that it involved. I have a horrible health anxiety, left over from having cancer a few years ago, but even I wasn't able to remain scared of the GA. I'm still scared of the needles and of the after effects of the anaesthetic, but being put out? No.

However. I have a flying phobia. And despite knowing how very little risk is involved, and despite flying very regularly, I am still terrified everytime. So I do understand how you feel.

As with flying, with your GA, maybe it is a case of 'feel the fear, and do it anyway'. Plus take the pre op. pill. It'll make you feel a lot better.

SueSocks Mon 13-Sep-21 04:46:01

I second the suggestion of a hypnotherapist. I had to have surgery about 20 years ago, really terrified of the anaesthetic. I had a couple of sessions with a hypnotherapist beforehand and every day I practised the visualisation he taught me. I felt quite calm going to the hospital, but when the nurse took my blood pressure on the day she said that it was lower than it had been weeks earlier at my pre-op assessment.
I also agree with the suggestion of talking about your fears to the nurse at your pre-op assessment and to the anaesthetist on the day. Anaesthetists are usually very understanding and have doubtless come across many fearful patients like us! I had to have sedation to have my first cataract removed, when it was time for the second I was still very anxious (would have preferred to have been asleep) I mentioned my fears to the young anaesthetist who told the senior chap, he came over and was lovely, understanding and reassuring - told me he would give me enough anaesthetic to make me feel as if I had had 6 G & Ts! Please do speak to people.
Good luck!

Ethelwashere1 Mon 13-Sep-21 08:22:16

Im absolutely terrified of general anaesthetic. I had an op for cancer 6 years ago so needed a large amount of anaesthetic. I was shaking wirh terror, the staff were super, so kind and i went to sleep very quickly and woke up when i was being pushed back to the ward. I wouldnt take a general lightly in future but after that experience i know i can go through with it.

DillytheGardener Mon 13-Sep-21 08:29:35

CaroleLM16 everyone has their fears and phobias and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, this is yours. I would ask for a sedative or anti anxiety drug to take before you come in so you are relaxed and not fearful. It’s important that you have a good experience this time so in the future it’s less frightening.

Caleo Mon 13-Sep-21 12:26:49

I'm not, but I do understand how knowing you are going to lose consciousness may be frightening. It's about relinquishing all control over what happens to you until you are conscious again.

Do they still give you a premedication that allays this anxiety?

Elless Mon 13-Sep-21 12:29:30

Totally with you Carole I'm actually going into hospital tomorrow for an op on my foot and I am scared stiff. I've had two anaesthetics go wrong, one a general and 7 years ago I had a spinal block that travelled upwards and paralysed my lungs and I couldn't breathe. I ended up with PTSD and had to go for counselling, they gave me EMDR which was fantastic and really helped.

PinkCosmos Mon 13-Sep-21 12:40:28

I have only had GA in hospital twice. Once about 24 years ago and more recently about 5 years ago.

The difference in the going to sleep sensation was completely different with each one.

With the first one I distinctly remember having a horrible taste in my mouth and everything going black quite suddenly.

The more recent time I didn't have any of the above. I remember feeling very relaxed but I don't actually remember 'going under'. It was a much better experience. I think anaesthetics have improved over the years.

CaroleLM16 Mon 13-Sep-21 19:22:27

Thank you all so much for taking the time to reassure me and offer great advice. I did think about a hypnotherapist but I think of that as ‘going under’ too so I would love to hear anyone’s experience of this. I’m glad to hear that some of you actually like it and find it relaxing going under although part of me thinks ‘arghhh, are you mad?’ 😂😂 I certainly do need to get my big girl pants on (and try not to wet them😂). Silverbridge read me right mentioning my flight response kicking in, I’ll definitely need an early op because I can’t trust myself not to run away whether my bum is sticking out of the theatre gown or not! Funnily enough I love flying and go all over Europe on the back of a motorbike. Lots of people tell me that they would be terrified on the back of bike but I tend to nod off sometimes and don’t worry about falling off. Mad or what? Thanks again for the brilliant advice. I’ll report back!