Holding It All Together-Under The Influence

By Amy McCollom
It was time.  It had been five years since the last one.  My doctor put in an order for me to get a preventative colonoscopy.  My husband had his procedure back in the fall. It was the first time I ever remember seeing John under the influence of anything.  He didn’t do anything crazy after the procedure; his anesthesia wore off pretty quickly. He asked me what time it was multiple times as he was coming out of it.  He also moved slowly and had trouble getting a cracker in his mouth. Now it was my turn.

Getting the I.V. is the part that I hate the most.  I have tiny veins and they tend to roll away from the needle.  It has taken over five attempts to hit a vein at times. So I warned my nurse that this could be a problem.

Thankfully, she got it on the first try.  I am not terrified of needles, but I don’t particularly like getting poked and prodded with a needle for over five minutes.  I was glad this time was easy.

I remember bits and pieces of the day of my procedure.  The nurse waited until I was in the procedure room to give me any anesthesia.  I remember lying there on the gurney in the cold room, just waiting for something to happen.  I’m sure my heart rate was up in anticipation of the unknown. Then the nurse injected medication into my hand I.V. and instantly I felt a burning painful sensation go into my hand and up my arm.  I said the words, “Wow, that burns.” the nurse answered, “Some people have said that.” Next thing I know, I am waking up with a juice box and straw being in my face. Mmm, grape juice! I do not remember anyone asking me if I wanted a drink.  My mind, still today, is trying to recall that day’s events. All of the memories are fragmented.

My husband thought it would be interesting and funny, to write down all of the crazy things I said while being under the influence of the anesthesia.  Here is what I said:

“Where’s the fuzzy boots?  There is writing on my toes.  I need longer arms to get the jelly.  There is a nail on the floor. Don’t trip on the pink basket.  Did I win? Did they take out my back spine? Get the cat off of my feet. There’s an earthquake. Where are the flashlights? I wanted the french fries.  Get me the magazine. Did I spill something? Why did you go to Paris? There are a lot of stairs.  That shouldn’t be on T.V. (there was no T.V. in the room). Something is biting me. It’s too heavy.  There is a chair with a princess on it on the wall. I need to find the dog. I’m cold. That was the bacon.  Did I have a seizure? There are too many Legos. Where’s the bacon?! The cat doesn’t love me. I think we have seven cats.  I keep seeing Nike swooshes everywhere.”

As you can see, there is no rhyme or reason to anything I was saying.  I had trouble coming out of the anesthesia, and the nurse kept shaking me roughly to try and get me to wake up.  Finally I got awake enough to eat a graham cracker, then John helped me get dressed and I was wheeled out in a wheelchair to the waiting van.  We grabbed lunch to go, as it had started snowing harder by the late afternoon. I do not remember lunch at all. I don’t remember the ride home or how I got from the van to our house.  I only remember waking up the next day, groggy and unable to do much.

It’s funny how an anesthesia like that can make you forget time, or make your mind think crazy things.  It is almost scary.

Needless to say, I came through the procedure just fine, albeit somewhat confused about my drugged up dialogue.  But I did my part to stay healthy. I encourage everyone to follow your doctor’s guidelines. Get a colonoscopy at the suggested intervals.  They really do save lives. And the crazy things you say when coming out of the anesthesia will serve as a bit of comic relief to those who are with you.  Stay safe, my friends.

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