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28 February 2012

Um, hi. This is a nervous post. I'm having wrist surgery on Thursday to remove a ganglion cyst that will. not. go. away. [More:]

Although many have suggested that I simply bash it with a Book, I opted for the knife route, it being my dominant hand & all. That I use to write, type, sketch, change gears, build & install cabinets & brush my teeth.

While I'm happy it's not foot surgery, so I don't have to bother with crutches & being out a foot *and* both hands, I've never been under general anesthesia.

This is undoubtedly super lightweight papercut calibre medical activity compared to the hell some of you have been through.

Still, I just hope they have gingerale, that I get to see the cool cartoon flashlight they had in recovery when mrs chewie had outpatient there, and that my hand returns to full range of operation & mobility. Without the peanut M&M sized planet that's been mashing on nerves & veins & tendons & such. (Damn there's a lotta traffic running through that tiny space!)

Tell me it will be ok?
There there little bunny. It will all be fine.

It's reasonable to worry. But since you've got the bunnyforce, it will turn out that this simple surgery will turn your appendage into a magical supreme force for good over evil, saving baby animals, small children and oppressed minions.

Best wishes!
posted by mightshould 28 February | 08:44
It will be OK! General anaesthesia isn't pleasant to contemplate, but it's OK while it's actually happening, because you don't know anything about it. Recovery can be unpleasant but you will be minus one ganglion cyst so... worth it.

I've only had one general anaesthetic and didn't exactly enjoy it but the fear was the worst part about it. It was much longer than planned (5 hours instead of 2), as the surgery went wrong and had to be done using a slower method. I will spare you details of my surgery because it was nothing like yours. Still, the anaesthesia was the least bad part.
posted by altolinguistic 28 February | 08:45
The last time I had general anesthesia (two years ago), I hardly noticed. They had a line in to my arm, and I was out in my hospital bed in the holding area, with my wife there, before I even knew it. I do not remember being wheeled into surgery.

It'll be fine. Ask for some Demerol or Stadol first. That'll take the edge off.
posted by danf 28 February | 09:11
I actually rather enjoyed general anesthesia when I had ankle surgery. The team was bright and friendly (they referred to my catheter bag as "my purse"), and the guy put a mask over my face and said "Start counting backwards from 100, and we'll see you later!" I remember saying "98," and that's it. Woke up later in another corner of the hospital, and it was just like waking up from a nap. Got a little bored lying there before they would take me back to my room, and then watched a baseball game. It was a better day than being at work. :)
posted by JanetLand 28 February | 09:25
Do they have to give you general? When I had minor surgery, I talked the doctor out of general and into twilight anesthesia (maybe with a local? I can't remember). Way quicker recovery from it.
posted by amro 28 February | 10:02
I have gone under general anesthesia twice, once for major surgery. We were pretty worried about the surgery and the anesthesia; I know how you feel!

It'll be okay :) It'll be okay.
posted by galadriel 28 February | 10:46
I'm sure it'll all be fine.
posted by Senyar 28 February | 11:34
You will be fine. It will be better than ever, especially with the new bionic parts they'll add. Warm reassuring bunny hugs to you.
posted by bearwife 28 February | 12:03
Surgery for a Bible cyst? They're ripping you off. I'll whack it with a big book for $5, tax-free. I'm a medical assistant/phlebotmist, that makes me almost qualified. ;-)
posted by shane 28 February | 16:06
Mine's at the base of my thumb, not the back of my hand.

The insurance Bullshittery has fired up now, though and it looks like I might cancel. *sigh*
posted by chewatadistance 28 February | 16:17
The mister has had ganglion surgery twice, once in each hand and will probably have to have it done again. Both the mister's and my experience with general anesthesia was just like danf's. It's rather like waking up from a nap with some extra long groggy time.

It will be okay. You will be okay.
posted by deborah 28 February | 17:55
I have had this surgery! You WILL be fine! My ortho gave me 'twilight' anesthesia; I could wake up and look around if I wanted but just didn't care. I also had an epidural that killed all sensation from the shoulder down. The recovery was trivial and I don't remember having to do any PT afterward, though that may depend on the location of the cyst. IIRC, he didn't even stitch the incision... I think he just used steri-strips (my incision was about 1.25".)

Many bunnyhugs to you - try not to stress out! Your hands are in good hands!
posted by workerant 28 February | 18:07
If you do have it done, I'm sure it will be fine, too (good luck with the insurance red tape -- I've sure been there).

I tend to get a little nauseous after general anesthesia, but yeah, the nerves before are the worst part. I freak out at any kind of mask over my face, but they reassured me that the mask, in my case, was just oxygen, and it was (let them know any fears or questions you have during your pre-surgery conference with your anesthesiologist -- they're very accommodating. Both times I've had general, a nice person said she was going to put something in my I.V., and I was out in seconds. It is strange to surrender like that. (If you don't need general, all the better--)
posted by Pips 28 February | 18:17
posted by brujita 28 February | 18:41
You'll be fine, I promise. I've had general a bunch of times, and the worst (or funniest) part of it is that I swear like a sailor when I'm coming out of it.
posted by Twiggy 28 February | 19:13
Thanks so much you guys! Very helpful info. :) I've thought about requesting they take an extra 25 lbs or so when they go in.
posted by chewatadistance 28 February | 19:27
Now that it may not be imminent and I don't have to worry about freaking you out, let me say some people react badly to general. I bet they must have some way of testing by now, with all the freaking anesthesiologists in the world, but there are options.
Some, like Pips, get nauseous. For some people, like my mother, the general is the worst part of surgery. Me, I'm fine, but once I woke up and no one noticed, so I went back to sleep (wisdom teeth). You should be able to discuss it with your doctor, but part of why they want you out could be because they are more comfortable with it.
I asked if I could watch them pull the screws out of my leg and the doctor kind of freaked out on me. (He had lots of problems and I bet would look twitchy and uncomfortable today if I ran into him. Long story short: serves him right.) It wouldn't have been a problem for me, it would have been a huge problem for him. Watching surgery doesn't bother me, watching my own surgery doesn't bother me, this guy needed to work on an unconscious piece of meat (who when conscious would stroke his ego.)

Ok, don't let this story freak you out. No freaking. Most people are just fine with general and you can ask questions and probably have options. I'm sure your surgeon in very competent and it's all a routine piece of piss.
And hand/wrist surgeons are very different from bone jockey/sports meds, etc. etc.
All I'm saying is-- wait, what the hell am I saying? Oh, yeah, you don't necessarily want to hear what's going on during surgery or be conscious, but you probably have the option.
Personally, now, I'd rather be unconscious, and only am conscious when absolutely necessary. Kind of like right now.
posted by ethylene 28 February | 21:05
You're going to be fine. I have a ganglion cyst about that size at the base of my thumb, too, but not on my dominant hand, so I've just chosen to leave it for the time being, since it doesn't really interfere with anything and doesn't hurt.

I've had general anesthetic twice in my life. Once for getting all four wisdom teeth removed and once for an emergency C-section. I was a bit queasy when I woke up both times. Much less so the second time as I made sure the knock-out doc knew I'd had some trouble the first time and that he also knew my exact weight.

This should be a really quick thing, so you shouldn't need to be out very long, right?

I hope it all goes very well and that you heal quickly.
posted by lilywing13 28 February | 22:25
I can understand the concern completely but also want to say you will be fine, fine, fine. I look forward to your next ganglion-cyst-free post!
posted by Miko 28 February | 23:01
Here's hoping your insurance nonsense gets sorted out and you get to have completely uneventful surgery!

Do you know what type of gen anesthesia you're likely to get? Just last night, we were chatting about how much I LOOOOOOVED the intravenous general the oral surgeon gave me. No, really! It was peaceful and pleasant with no unpleasant after-effects.

The Fella reported the same feelings about the gen for his long-ago knee surgery, and I recalled that my strait-laced, drug-eschewing sister came out of a teenage knee surgery telling me how completely delightful the general had been.

Certainly, different people have different reactions and there's no guarantee that it will be as pleasant as the ones we remember, but it's completely possible that it will!

Sending good thoughts your way!
posted by Elsa 29 February | 10:04
Update: Insurance knot has been untangled & we're good to go for a 10:30am date tomorrow with the scalpel.

I *think* they're giving me IV knock-out drugs, not gas mask stuff. At this point, I just want the damn thing gone!

I'm looking forward to sleeping & being the laziest slug on the planet for the majority of the weekend. Thanks so much for all the encouragement & anecdotal tales, you guys.
posted by chewatadistance 29 February | 16:00
Hey, how'd it go??
posted by Miko 02 March | 22:29
I have been waiting since 2008 to give you all an update on this post || The Lutheran Insulter