February 11th 2015

Have you ever wondered what kids that go through surgeries are thinking, or how it effects them long term? Being in an operating room as a patient is not a pleasant experience; and has greatly impacted me even years after having a surgery.

Throughout the years it is basically the same routine, go into the pre op room hungry and tired, get your lovely hospital gown on, and hang out in the hospital bed until it is time to go. When it was time to head to the operating room you say your good-byes and get wheeled away. Going into surgery is something that is so vivid in my mind. As a child, I would get ready in my hospital gown, with my stuffed Barney by my side, and my mom looking like a marshmallow in her scrubs. She would hold me as I fell asleep from the lovely sleepy gas mask. I always told her I wasn’t going to cry, but I did, of course.

When I got older, it was a little different. Because I was a teenager, they gave me anesthesia by IV. I will get right to the point. I despise needles and shots. You can tell me all of the tricks for it not to hurt and up until the last two times I went into surgery none of them worked for me. It might have been because the doctor couldn’t find a vein but that is a whole different story. Anyways, with the IV in, and me wrapped up in warm blankets I was wheeled to the operating room without my mom and without Barney.

Let me tell you something, being put to sleep in an operating room is a life changing thing, or at least it was for me. Even before I was put to sleep they asked me what flavor I wanted my sleepy gas mask to have (Joke was on them, I couldn’t smell anyways so it didn’t matter), and then they would try to make me comfortable on the very hard uncomfortable operating table. They would tell me to count to ten and then I would drift off to sleep.

I haven’t been a patient in a few years but here are a few secrets about my experiences in the operating room.

  • As a kid, I would always try to fall asleep as I was wheeled into the operating room so I would not have to taste the nasty sleepy gas. (Note to all future patients, that doesn’t work).
  • You know about that gas mask? After so many times being on the operating table, I learned to shut my mouth and hold my breath as I fell asleep so I wouldn’t have to taste the gas. I think that defeated the purpose, but oh well.
  • I was awake for a while after they gave me the anesthesia, I could not feel my body and I could not speak, but I could hear everything.
  • Because I could hear everything, I heard the surgeons talking about my surgery and their conversation about what tools they were going to use, who was coming in late to the OR, etc., which was very disturbing.

There are always things that trigger reminders of the operating room.

  1. Seeing masks in first aid kits or in movies. Seeing medical masks brings that nasty taste to my mouth and makes me very queasy. I have had to take some first aid classes and it was very difficult for me to do.
  2. Sterile environments. That smell (or taste in my case since I can’t smell) that comes about after someone has deep cleaned a space, or just in a doctor’s office. I get really queasy because it reminds me of an operating room.

I realize this post is different than my typical blog posts but many of these things I hadn’t even told my parents about. Like it’s all been trapped in a hidden compartment in my brain and I just opened it up to share.

Saydee Robinson

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