Sep 15th, 2007 by Terry
Sometimes, You need anesthesia. It happens to the best of us. Healthy lifestyler or living on the edge. Vice-free or poly-substance abuser. Female or male. Thin or fat. Young or old. And everything in-between. Sometimes You need to have an “intervention” done - surgery, special study, endoscopy - and You will need anesthesia.
Although the prospects of having to undergo some type of anesthesia are never “pleasant,” usually the anticipation and fear are much worse than the actual experience. Our minds have a way of playing with us like that.
But there are some steps that You can take to make your anesthesia encounter an optimized one, and quite possibly, surprisingly stress-free.
- When you are instructed to have nothing to eat or drink after midnight, that means nothing. No food and no drinks. It also covers gums, lozenges, candy, coffee, juice, and anything else you think is okay. It’s not. Don’t place yourself at high risk - get your procedure over with, and then you can eat and drink and be merry. Of course, if you are instructed to continue taking specific medications, please do with a minimal (like, as little as it takes) amount of water to get the pills down.
- Please leave all of your jewelry at home. If you have a tongue ring, be prepared to remove it for your procedure. As these holes have a tendency to close quite quickly, we can place some surgical thread through the hole to keep it patent till your procedure is over. The same holds true for makeup - less is more. It’s only going to get all smudged while you are under the influence, and you will look much worse with smudged makeup than none at all, believe me when I say that.
- Try to familiarize yourself with your medications. If you cannot, then either bring a list of your meds with you, including dosages, or just bring in your medications in a brown paper bag with your name on it. This is an enormous service to your caregivers, to know exactly what prescriptions you are taking.
- At your pre-operative anesthesia interview, please answer all questions honestly. Nobody is interested in outing You about ANYTHING in your life; you will not get busted. But the more we know about you, the better we can take care of you and do what is right by you. We are not here to pass judgment - but after you are asleep, You can’t talk to us anymore about something we may really need to know.
- We appreciate your help, REALLY WE DO, but sometimes that one vein that they always get blood from is not the right vein for an IV. Have some confidence in our skills and acumen, and allow us to try to find your best vein for an intravenous. We are pretty good at what we do.
- Number 6 is just some bonus pointers - get a good night’s rest (if possible) the night before your procedure. If you are a smoker, even cutting out that morning’s cigarette is helpful, but the more smokes you cut out before anesthesia the better. Ignore all hearsay - most of it is viscious gossip, meant to scare you and fill you with doubt. We are professionals, and give anesthesia 24/7/365 - come for your procedure with a written list of any questions you may have (we encourage it!) and know that the people behind the hats and masks are folks with hopes, dreams, and loved ones, just like you, and we are here for You.