Being put under

on 11/4/17 6:28 pm

Hi everyone! Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.

I'm 24 years old and have never had surgery. I'm deathly afraid of being put under. Hospitals and doctors offices give me very bad anxiety. Not sure why...

I know I will be ok, but I'm still never to be put under for surgery. (I'm having surgery in the next few months.)

what was your experience getting put under? Maybe I will feel better if I hear other people's stories.

Referral: June 2017
RNY with Dr. Neville in Ottawa: January 8th, 2018

on 11/4/17 6:56 pm - Philadelphia, PA
RNY on 04/28/15

There really isn't anything to it. I was wheeled to the OR, shifted to another gurney. I was more surprised at how crowded the room was stuff! Nurse told me that they'd catheterize me once I was under, and anesthesia took over. They put the mask in my face, told me to count backwards from ten and I barely remember 8.

I think some people who fear going under have control issues. It's an area where you have no control-- not easy for someone to hand the reins over to someone else.

5'6.5" High weight:337 Lowest weight:193/31 BMI: Goal: 195-205/31-32 BMI

on 11/4/17 7:58 pm
RNY on 06/03/15

I'd never been under general anesthesia either. I just remember being rolled into the OR, and there were a lot of people there (the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, two residents, an intern, a med student, and a nurse). Next thing I knew I was in the recovery room. There really wasn't anything to it...

RNY 06/03/15 by Michael Garren (Madison, WI)

Plastic Surgery 08/10/18 and 12/07/18 by Lawrence Zachary (Chicago, IL)

on 11/4/17 8:16 pm
RNY on 07/23/14

I rarely even remember going under one minute they are talking and the next minute you are in recovery. I always think you should meditate on something good when you are about to go under, I really believe it makes coming out easier.

My first experience with surgery I was your age and I remember not knowing how it worked. So good to ask. They will often ask you why you are there. I remember the first time I was like What???? Don't they know??? But it's just part of making sure everything is in order.

Cynthia 5'11" RNY 7/23/2014

Maintaining a 220lb Weight Loss
Plastic Surgery Dr. Joseph Michaels - LBL and Hernia Repair 2/29/16, Arm Lift, BL, 5/2/16, Leg Lift 7/25/16

Need to get back to Basics? The Five Day Meat Test



on 11/4/17 8:17 pm - CA
RNY on 10/07/13

Before wheeling you into the OR, they usually give you a sedative in your IV, I think usually Versed. It might not be a bad idea to ask if they administer it while you're being prepped. A bit of that and the OR won't seem quite as scary.


Mahonia R.
on 11/5/17 4:52 am
VSG on 03/28/17

I was given a sedative after moving myself onto the gurney in the hospital room and I was out before they even wheeled me into the OR. I woke up in the same hospital room as if nothing had happened. It was also my first time under general anesthesia and it was my biggest fear as well.

Height: 5'5" Pre-op 14 M1 23 M2 11 M3 13 M4 + M5 17 M6 9 M7 5 M8 3 M9 3

Below goal of 135 lbs in 6 months. Total 101 lbs lost, then 13 lbs regained and now losing again. New goal - maintain in low 120s forever.

Gwen M.
on 11/5/17 5:38 am
VSG on 03/13/14

I think that what you're feeling is common! Most people tend to only be in hospitals when something bad is happening to someone they care about, and are only at doctors when something bad is happening to themselves or to someone else. And I know as an SMO person, I rarely had positive experiences with doctors because they were often inclined to fat shame me and it wasn't until I was older that I learned I didn't have to deal with that. So your anxiety makes total sense.

I would recommend that you talk to your doctor about this and see if you can get a prescription for xanax for the few days, or just the day, before surgery to help calm your nerves a bit. :)

So I have a different perspective because I think my first surgery was at 17 with my wisdom teeth and then I had a lump removed from a breast when I was 21 maybe? I had a few other surgeries before WLS as well, so each one is a little easier. And I think having my first at 17 made them easier too because, let's face it, at 17 you're invincible anyway :D

I always tell people that being the one HAVING surgery is the easy part. I just get to sleep the entire time! Everyone else has to be awake and worry. ;)

How does it work? This is how my recent surgeries have all gone:

1. Hope that you're the first surgery of the day, since this makes everything less stressful. You don't have to wait if a previous surgery goes longer, and it makes the fasting pre-op easier.

2. Show up, DO NOT PEE WHEN YOU GET THERE. If you need to pee, ask the desk for a cup since they're going to want a urine sample. Even if there's no way you could be pregnant they'll still ask if you're female. And trying to pee when you've been fasting already sucks. Trying to do it when you already peed in the waiting room bathroom sucks more! ;) It'll probably be cold too, so take a hoodie or something.

2a. If you have a living will, give it to the intake people. If you don't have a living will, it's a good thing to have.

3. Get called back to the pre-op room. This is the revolving door of doctors and providers and paperwork. Everyone who will be in the operating room will come to talk to you and introduce themselves. You'll have to answer questions about your medical history and medication, so be prepared. If you take a lot of meds, bring a print out of them.

3a. You'll meet the anesthesiology team. Tell them your fears. They're great people and will help to ease your mind. I've found that if I tell providers what I'm nervous about, they're super awesome and that helps to ease my pre-op anxiety.

3b. Expect to have to tell lots of people your name and birthday. Once I accidentally told someone my dad's birthday... oops. They looked at me and said "You don't look like you're 73?" (In my defense, both our birthdays start with "3" and I'd been my dad's caregiver for a while so had gotten used to telling his providers his information!)

3c. Know your allergies if you have any!

4. A nurse will get an IV line started. This normally happens in your arm (cubital fossa) or the back of your wrist. Once I had to have it in my neck and that sucked because I looked like a vampire had attacked me. These nurses are great, they do this a lot. Don'****ch unless you're like me and like to watch that sort of thing. Then you get hooked up to a bag of saline - that's just for hydration.

5. Mention that you're concerned about nausea and ask for a scopolamine patch during surgery.

6. Oh, probably before the IV part happens you'll need to put on your sexy hospital gown, grippy slipper socks, and a stylish hair net. :D And if you're cold, ask for more blankets! Hospitals have the best blankets when they're fresh out of the blanket warmer.

6a. If you wear glasses, take a glasses case for them and make sure the case gets a name/identification sticker on it. I always make sure to tell EVERYONE that I need my glasses and need them ASAP after surgery.

7. Then you'll get wheeled over to surgery (since you'll be on a gurney). This is normally the point where I stop remembering things. I think that, right before we get moving, an anesthesiologist gives me something to relax in my IV. Sometimes I remember getting a mask over my nose/mouth and told to breathe and relax. But.. yeah. That's pretty much it.

8. Waking up is disorienting. You aren't really sure where you are or if surgery happened or what. Ask for everything you need, don't hesitate. This is what people are there for. If you have pain, tell your team. They will manage it for you. Ditto for nausea.

9. If it's inpatient, which it probably is, you'll be in recovery for a little until the nurses are sure you're stable and then you'll get taken to your room for the night. Again, ask for meds, etc. Once you're able to, ask to walk as much as you can. That'll help get your blood flowing and to alleviate the pressure from the gas used to inflate your stomach during surgery.

10. You may, or may not, be allowed to drink. I wasn't. I had wet swabs for my mouth and got chloraseptic since my throat was super sore, but I wasn't allowed to drin****il the next day when I had my barium swallow test. Not all surgeons do that, though.

I'm having surgery (my last reconstructive surgery) tomorrow. I can't wait!!

And I should mention the stressful stuff, just briefly - make sure you have a living will on file. If you can, make sure that there is someone in the hospital during your procedure who can/will advocate for you AND knows what you want. It's really important to have an advocate when you're in the hospital and unable to advocate for yourself. I, personally, have never needed someone to advocate on my behalf while in surgery, but I've had to advocate for my dad and I wouldn't want to go into surgery if I didn't have an advocate on hand. This is one of the ways I manage my own pre-op anxiety.

VSG with Dr. Salameh - 3/13/2014
Diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder and started Vyvanse - 7/22/2016
Reconstructive Surgeries with Dr. Michaels - 6/5/2017 (LBL & brachioplasty), 8/14/2017 (UBL & mastopexy), 11/6/2017 (medial leg lift)

Age 41 Height 5'4" HW 319 (1/3/2014) SW 293 (3/13/2014) CW 149 (7/16/2017)
Next Goal 145 - normal BMI | Total Weight Lost 170

TrendWeight | Food Blog (sort of functional) | Journal (down for maintenance)

Gwen M.
on 11/5/17 5:47 am
VSG on 03/13/14

And yet again, Gwen writes a novel... I hope this is helpful.

VSG with Dr. Salameh - 3/13/2014
Diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder and started Vyvanse - 7/22/2016
Reconstructive Surgeries with Dr. Michaels - 6/5/2017 (LBL & brachioplasty), 8/14/2017 (UBL & mastopexy), 11/6/2017 (medial leg lift)

Age 41 Height 5'4" HW 319 (1/3/2014) SW 293 (3/13/2014) CW 149 (7/16/2017)
Next Goal 145 - normal BMI | Total Weight Lost 170

TrendWeight | Food Blog (sort of functional) | Journal (down for maintenance)

on 11/5/17 10:04 pm

Thank you!! That was very helpful. I really appreciate the detailed reply! :) hope your surgery goes well!

Referral: June 2017
RNY with Dr. Neville in Ottawa: January 8th, 2018

Liz WantsHealthForAll
on 11/6/17 3:43 am - Cape Cod, MA
VSG on 03/28/16

This was really thorough and accurate: It should be saved for people asking this question in the future!

Liz 5'3" HW: 219 (BMI 38.8) SW: 185 GW: 125 CW: 115-118 (BMI 20.4-20.9) - TT and facelift 1/11/2017 - Brow and eyelid PS 12/11/2017.

WL: Pre-op: -34 M1: -17 M2: -12 M3: -11 M4: -7 M5: -7 M6: -5.5 M7: -3.3 M8: -3.3 M9: -2.5 UNDER GOAL since 10/12/2016 - in current range since 12/10/2016. Average maintenance calories 1350