Sunday, November 11, 2007

Very unexpected side effects of oral sedation

Last Tuesday, I was hopped up on oral sedation and then given two pushes of IV sedation. This is where my consciousness decided; “I’m getting off, see ya later!” Of course, having no inhibitions, no short term memory and no high brain function doesn’t seem to stop me from talking: “I’m still awake!” I would gleefully/fearfully announce to everyone once in a while. Linda was trying to hold me in one place and reported the conversations. I looked over to the anesthesiologist who was putting blood pressure cuff and oxygen meter on me and said, “Did you know?” I was starting to slur a bit, “that my brother sexually abused me when I was a prepubescent?” (I can’t remember anything of this and had a sort of “OMG!” face when Linda finally told me the next day)

Linda wasn’t sure if the anesthesiologist heard me clearly so she did a “filler” and asked her, “I bet you hear a lot of things when people are going under?”

“Oh yeah.” The anesthesiologist told her (the anesthesiologist was a very calming woman who oozed the word “maternal”), “I had a 15 year boy propose to me once.”

“Oh.” Linda kept hold on me.

“Did I come out with any other family secrets?” I asked Linda horrified when she told me the next day.

“Well.....” I glared at her till she told me they called her because I had woken up and was frantically trying to tell them something only I was so tired and slurring no one could understand me.

I had that facial expression you get when you are about to be dropped in the tank of cold water. “And what did I say?”

“Uh…it was very hard to understand you. You kept talking about your liver and bezasomething.”

I winced, “benzodiazepine”

“That’s it,” she continued “And then you told them you were a Ph.D.”

“Oh God!”

“And there was something about your liver and the benzothings and your IQ.”

“Oh God, tell me I didn’t actually use the word I.Q.?”

“Uh.....” Linda did a comforting smile, “I think you were just trying to explain something.”

I was hiding my face in my hands; “So, let me see, I was wacked out of my head and talking about liver processing, benzodiazepines, that I am a Ph.D. and have a high IQ, is that right?”

Linda thought, “No, it was something about the IQ and the liver tied together, and I think you told them about research you had done and how this related to needle phobia and that’s why you told them you had a Ph.D.”

I groaned through my fingers. “And how long did I talk for?”

Linda hesitated (that’s means it’s not good news), “You really were passionate about it, so about.......15 minutes.”

“Ahhhhhhhhh!” I fell over and buried my head in a pillow. See, this is the problem with taking the equivalent of a super-powerful “truth” drug.

I had been doing research on the use of Halcion Triazolam for people with dental and needle phobias as an oral sedative. The problem is that Triazolam is one of the fastest converted benzodiazepines and if the person takes another regularly, like Valium, for example, then depending on the condition of the liver the sedation could run out before the operation finishes. This is in fact what happened to me, and I began to wake up during the operation. My sub theory is that the higher the focus of brain function (say, IQ for example; or Type-A personalities for another example) for an individual person the harder it would be to get the person under full sedation. Why; because as long as they focus on the terror of the idea they will continue to produce norepinephrine and epinephrine which would counter sedation. It was a THEORY; an IDEA I thought about for an hour (and then babbled the next day for 15 minutes to everyone within earshot apparently).

So at the end of the day there is sort of good news and bad news. The bad news is that I made an ASS of myself babbling about something that I thought about the day before. Thank goodness it wasn’t the theory that baloney is processed in round shapes because those are ones which are emotionally comforting, ego manufactured “comfort food” (yes, I know baloney used to be sausage!). Actually, I think I would have been better off babbling about baloney for 15 minutes instead of my IQ.

The GOOD news is that I have taken more than the equivalent of a lie detector. Or rather, I was given what was a type of inhibition remover, a “truth serum” and I told the truth. What disturbs me a bit is that I can be wacked out of my mind and not only tell someone about my brother but use the word “prepubescent.” What’s wrong with using “young,” that’s a good word? You know “When I was young.” However that worked out; I have no memory but Linda witnessed it. Now, if my brother wants to say I’m lying, I invite him to take the same drug cocktail and see what he has to say about it?

I KNEW the truth, but after a generation of “experts” publicly destroying victims of abuse, and after keeping it a secret for so long; having this, the closest we will get years later to “proof” makes me feel calm. Oh, and if my sibling is still spinning his story (I am a ‘sick’ person who makes ‘disgusting’ jokes), all I can say is that with my health there might be a LOT more operations and many more needs for sedation. It appears that once the inhibitions have been removed, my psyche doesn’t give a FUCK who knows. And I don’t really either.

Sorry readers, I never promised a ride through meadows and sunshine, I just promised a real ride.


alphabitch said...

I think you might be on to something with your theory. The very prospect of sedation makes me extremely nervous, although I know a few people in anesthesiology and they're pretty much used to people getting kind of whacked on the drugs. I take a little comfort knowing that they are difficult to shock or upset, in general.

Lisa Harney said...

You've just made the idea of sedation very terrifying for me. God knows what I'd say.

Your brother sounds like a real piece of work, though. UGH. Sympathies.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Alphabitch: Yes, I have found anesthesiologists far more connected to human concerns than doctors often (who are just facinated with doing the procedure).

Lisa: Yeah, makes my next sedation going to be double fun to find out what I say.

Actually, thanks ANYONE for commenting becuase I made the piece into a comment hell. I mean, I don't think we have any training or experience for people who are like; "Hi, I'm Beth, wanna hear about my incest" (except to stay as far away from them during a mixer as possible). And while I wanted to record a real experience which I thought funny, humiliating and important, it isn't like people can say, "Wow that piece really made me laugh" (though actually there are some lines I hope DID make you laugh). So, honestly, feel free to comment on whatever piece of it you want and ignore the rest. I didn't write it because I need acknowledgement; it is just a sort of: "Hey, I'm free and this last mental chain has fallen away!" at the end. Other than that, it is just another wacky day in the life of me.

Lisa Harney said...

Your theory about IQ and sedation is interesting, though. Doubly so that you were talking about it while coming out of sedation. Maybe you had an insight...that you can't remember now. Maybe you should bring an amansuensis next time, just in case you solve for world peace. :)

Casdok said...

You have been through the mill havent you.
And you relate it with such grace. Your posts never cease to amase me. x

JackP said...


Thank goodness for your comment Beth: I was just thinking "that was a really funny post", because the whole concept about tip-toeing around to find out whether you did or didn't say something - but don't want to reveal it if you didn't - is familiar to everyone, and you made it genuinely funny and I laughed.

But then I was thinking "I don't think I can comment to say how much I enjoyed that post and it made me laugh" - because of some of the subject matter.

And then I read your comment. And that made me laugh as well. So I thought I'd better comment after all...

Whatever you're writing about, it's clear you write well and you have a lovely personable storytelling "voice" that makes the reader feel like you're telling each individual the story personally. So keep on blogging!

lilwatchergirl said...

I'm awfully sorry for giggling at your pain, especially during a post that made some serious points - but your IQ-babbling story was the first laugh I've had all day. No, I tell a lie, there was the moment this morning where I told The Girl I was planning my own demise and she did a 'psycho-knife' bit in my direction, complete with high-pitched noise. But that wasn't as funny as your post.

Hope you're recovering OK from the sedation.

cheryl g. said...

What are you apologizing for? It's your blog and your truth. If it bothers someone they can hit the back button.

You know, your theory about sedation does make a lot of sense. It would certainly be worth studying for those who are hard to keep sedated.

What park does Psycho live in? I may need to visit him next time I'm in Victoria. He's too cool... and probably a genius working on a plan for world domination.

shiva said...

Your sedation theory sounds pretty reasonable to me. Mind you, the whole concept of sedation is pretty terrifying to me. I don't know exactly what level of pain i'd have to reach before i would prefer sedation to the pain, but i suspect it would be higher than the level at which i would lose consciousness...

As for childhood sexual abuse, well, i've never experienced it, but the number of my friends who have is so high that i strongly suspect there are actually more people who have experienced it than who haven't. I think it's pretty much endemic to the nuclear family...

Sara said...

You are making me feel like suuuuuch a cheap date. I start telling my people my IQ -- or at least what it used to measure -- after only two Long Island iced teas (and once upon a time it only took one).

Elizabeth McClung said...

Lisa: Yeah, for some reason, the more relaxed and drugged I become the more insights I have - I can't tell you the number of world changing inventions I have dreamed up just as falling asleep (the next morning it is: "It was important and involved cucumbers!")

Casdok: See, now I think you are giving me comments for the blog next door, the one thing few if any have ever accused me of having was GRACE.

JackP: Thanks, I am glad you found it funny, or at least a large chunk funny becuase I do think waking to found out piece by piece what odd and revealing things you rambled on about is akin to the "back in high school naked" nightmares, only this one is sadly all too real. Thanks for having the courage to write your comment and thanks for letting me know the impact of my writing - it does help to know that you are making someone's day a little brighter....before they switch over to watch whatever this weeks wonder on youtube is (you remember the chunky guy role playing starwars in his basement?).

Elizabeth McClung said...

lilwatchergirl: Oh, I am not sure whether to be complimented or think, geez, she needs some e-flowers (you need some e-flowers) - I've got to tell linda to do the psycho noise because when I tell her, "I need a knife, I can hear one calling me from the drawer" she's more like; "I don't think so!" (and then locks me in the study).

Cheryl g.: You go to beacon hill and then go right, and right down under the grove as you head towards the water, there is an stream there and an artifial rain forest (they put it in 5 years ago) just up from the EMPTY atrium (they thought it cruel to keep the birds inside a little house). Psycho definately is a genius when it comes to winter survival. And it's not that the theory didn't have MERIT it's just slurring about for 15 minutes about your IQ and "I've got a Ph.D. you know..." is an indication that Miss Personal Insecurity took over the drivers seat for a while and she LOVES to drive!

Shiva: wow, well, I actually don't EVER fall unconscious due to pain, and I unfortunately mean ever - like tied down, tortured, sweat dripping off me, screaming and still awake - indeed, even during an operation I woke up and though I would die from the amount of pain I was in, like my heart might explode, but didn't fall unconscious so actually I WANT to be sedated.

I know what you mean about how it seems somewhat epidemic, I been in some female groups and it is like one person tells and then before you know it at least 50-60% of the people there are talking their experience which makes me thing: How are these guys getting AWAY with it over and over again? But that's another day's subject.

Sara: oh cool, come'on, you can tell me - go have a long island ice tea. I'll tell you I turned down mensa AND a group where you had to test highter than .01% of the population - mainly because I thought if I joined a group about people who were SO proud of being in the .01% group....would they want to talk about shopping for vibrators and reading manga? Uh, from my limited (one meeting) or Mensa, I though very much not (I only went because I pointed out at some UK university expo that they had three errors in their test - THREE! and they were like "let us worship you" and I was like......"Do I get beer with that worship?"

em said...

Oh, it looks like (based on your last comment) your gigantic brain is much larger than my gigantic brain. And mine has gotten me into so much trouble that I feel sorry for you instead of feeling inadequate.

Your post made me squirm in my seat. It is one of my Great Fears to lose control of my babbling and not realize what I am saying.

Hopefully it is a positive thing that you have proof for yourself that your brother abused you. Actually, it was when you used the word prepubescent that I started getting upset. See, if it happened to you, then it matters a great deal that you were prepubescent, and sometimes the word young just doesn't convey that.

shiva said...

Just re-read my comment and i've realised that it looks kind of like i'm bragging about how much pain i can take. I'm really, really not - my tolerance of pain (well, apart from the kinds of pain i like ;) ) is probably much lower than the active neurotypical's - i'm actually being a coward about by, probably completely unreasonable, fear of sedation.

However much i fear pain, i fear sedation more... i think this might be a mental health system survivor thing...

lilwatchergirl said...

Hee. Thanks - I shall take the thought of e-flowers and enjoy it :) And you should definitely be complimented. It's quite tricky to make me laugh.

I have stories of things I've done on (prescription) drugs - not as amusing as your sedation situation, but amusing. When I take zopiclone (my passport to a half-decent night's sleep), I am unable to remember anything that happens almost from the moment I take it to the point I fall asleep. This has, apparently, led me to say some quite odd things. The comments are, TG reports, mainly about sex... *roll eyes*

Marla Fauchier Baltes said...

When I had my last two surgeries I also said lots of things I did not want to say. After one last year I said to my mom, "Did you know I have a tattoo?" Well, in fact sheh did not. Now she does! This last one I told the doctor giving me the spinal something about how I was gald she took a few weeks of med. school before sticking me with the needle. It took over 30 minutes to get the damn thing in and I kept yelling, "How big is the needle? Are you sure I won't wake up during surgery?!" My husband said I was a like a broken record with that concern. I had seen some show on people being awake mentally during surgeries but unable to do anything about it and feeling everything. Apparently it became a big fear for me.

Glad you made it through.