What REALLY Happens While I’m Under Anesthesia: 2/3

I’m continuing with a three part series written by guest blogger Kim Zweygardt on what really happens while you’re under anesthesia. Great information for authors. 
You can find Part I here.
Welcome back, Kim!

4. Why is my throat so sore after anesthesia? (The actual question involved us ripping your throat out under anesthesia but I niced it up!)

With almost all surgeries, you are breathing extra oxygen that isn’t normally humidified and can really dry your throat out and cause it to be sore. Sorry about that! With bigger surgeries, we insert devices to maintain your airway. Anesthetics depress your breathing and these devices allow us to breathe for you to make sure your body gets all the oxygen that it needs. They are made of soft plastic, but they can irritate and cause a sore throat after surgery. And some people have anatomy that makes the insertion more difficult and that can also cause a sore throat. As a general rule, the sore throat is gone in about 24 hours. Treat it like a normal sore throat–pain meds and warm fluids help lots.

5. I love going to la-la land, but why is it so hard to wake up? (I’ve also heard this–“I just wanted to sleep and the nurses kept making me wake up in the recovery room! How come?”)

I could give you lots of technical mumbo jumbo about how drugs are metabolized but I think the more important thing to remember is this: We give you medicines based on your weight and that health history we took but also based on what type of surgery you are having and how uncomfortable that surgery is! It’s not the same amount of pain to have eye surgery or your gall bladder out. We give you these drugs so you will be comfortable and/or asleep, depending on what the surgeon is doing–that even varies at different times during the surgery because some parts of the operation may be more pain producing than others. A few minutes later, the surgery is over and what was the perfect amount of anesthesia now has you really sleepy because that stimulation is gone. We can reverse some of the medications but we also let your body gradually metabolize them so you are groggy and comfortable after surgery. And just like when you are fast asleep at home and someone wants to bug you? You’d rather be left alone!

6. I was told to think of something pleasant as I went to sleep and I woke up great! The doctor said how you go to sleep is how you wake up. Is that true?

There is a lot of truth to this. When you are anxious you release all kinds of stress hormones into your bloodstream and that can translate into a very rocky anesthetic including wake up. Thinking of something pleasant causes you to release endorphins which is like the body’s own morphine. That sense of wellbeing carries over as well not to mention the power of positive thinking! One technique I use with teenagers who tend to wake up wild is to explain to them pre-op how it will feel waking up and what I want them to do. Because they have had a chance to think about it ahead of time, when I tell them surgery is over and they should lie still, they do it because even through the “waking up fog” their subconscious remembers my words. Anything we can do pre-op to allay anxiety makes for a smoother waking up.

Tune in next post for Part III. 


Kim Zweygardt always knew she wanted to be someone special.  Her heart’s desire when she was 7 was to be a famous ballerina but when she read their toes bled from dancing on them, it became a less desirable career choice. Then Kim decided to be a famous lawyer solving mysteries and capturing the bad guys just like Perry Mason, but as she got older she discovered sometimes it was hard to tell just who the bad guys were.

Instead Kim chose a career in medicine practicing the art and science of anesthesia as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist in rural Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

Kim is married to Kary, the man of her dreams, who has done a fabulous job of making all her dreams come true. They have three children but an empty nest and enjoy conversation with friends over good coffee and great food. They enjoy travel, the arts and taking a nap.
Member American Christian Fiction Writers, International Speakers Network, www.bookaspeaker.netwww.womenspeakers.net

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