Terrified to go under anesthesia

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Tulipere

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Hey all, it's been awhile since I posted but now I have a new problem so I wanted to write it out here.

Anyways, I went to my wisdom tooth consultation on referral from my dentist last week and the oral surgeon is insisting on general anesthesia. All four are bony impacted apparently. I tried to say I just wanted local and he shut that down pretty much immediately because the bottom ones are close to the nerve and he can't have me moving around. Over the past week I've been having sobbing panic attacks every morning in the shower and I even broke down at work a couple days ago.

Now I'm angry, I already don't like strangers touching me when I don't have the option to move (I do just fine with local at my regular dentist and actually with most dentists, I sat in the chair for 4.5 hours once perfectly still for crown prep/placement of two crowns) and my literal worst nightmare is any kind of sedation/anesthesia I've had to watch two pets be put to sleep in the past 3 years, one of them just a few months ago completely unexpectedly.

Because of the pandemic, my boyfriend can't be in the recovery room with me, they're letting him be in the waiting room even though covid protocols because I begged them and because we're getting our first shots in a couple days. But that's not close enough for me. I'm so angry, I don't want them to talk to me before, I don't want anyone touching me after, I understand why they want to do this to me but I still resent them. I don't even want to go in for a follow up with them after, I find all of this so incredibly violating.

I don't want to be loopy with a bunch of strangers I don't give a shit how nice they are, they said they'd get me back out to my boyfriend as quickly as possible but how long is that? How long do I have to sit in a room with a bunch of people who did this to me before I can leave and never come back? How long does it take to come out of it and leave? I'm ok with being a little off with my boyfriend, he's the best but I don't want to be anywhere near any of those people after the anesthesia. I don't even care about the removals themselves or the pain and recovery after.

It's set to be a month from now and I don't want to spend a whole month depressed and angry and crying but I don't know what else to do, like I understand that it has to be done and that it probably HAS to be done this way but I'm so upset. I'm having trouble even planning anything for dates after the procedure because it feels like the end.
 
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Tulipere

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Like I would go get a second opinion but he seems like a really competent guy, I'm probably going to get the exact same answer, and I'm going to hate anyone who puts me under regardless of who they are.
 
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Tulipere

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I'm just completely heartbroken and distraught, I can't stop crying.
 
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TKB1974

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I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this right now. I wish I could offer some advice, but I had my wisdom teeth out years ago under general anesthesia. I know that me telling you that it was a quick and simple procedure & I honestly have no recollection of anything won’t really help. I think your best bet would be to get a 2nd/3rd opinion to see if another dentist is willing to do it without GA. Best of luck to you. I know it’s scary and it sucks. I hope you’re able to find an option that works for you.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Like I would go get a second opinion but he seems like a really competent guy, I'm probably going to get the exact same answer, and I'm going to hate anyone who puts me under regardless of who they are.

Hi Tulipere,

I am sorry to read how your oral surgeon reacted. It surprised me how he shut your worries down pretty much immediately without hearing you out. It sounds like you were supposed to do the procedure on his terms and had no saying in it. The only problem is that this is your teeth and your body and your mental health state. You will be the one living with the consequences, be it a month in depression and anxiety before or the aftermath of the experience afterwards. The surgeon just goes on to the next patient.

Nobody has the right to press you into anything you don't like to. Your reasons are valid and so are your fears. An understanding oral surgeon should at least be willing to hear you out and open his opinion to discussion. They should also give you a chance to voice concerns and have a chat about it. Reassure you. I can see how this is giving you anxiety and reading the background it looks to me like it's more about trust and respect rather than how it will be done. So yeah, a second opinion may be a good thing. There are a lot of good surgeons and this is your teeth.

You mentioned he seems like a really competent guy. May I ask you what made him look so?
And what makes you believe you would get the exact same answer somewhere else?

All the best wishes
 
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Tulipere

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Hi Tulipere,

I am sorry to read how your oral surgeon reacted. It surprised me how he shut your worries down pretty much immediately without hearing you out. It sounds like you were supposed to do the procedure on his terms and had no saying in it. The only problem is that this is your teeth and your body and your mental health state. You will be the one living with the consequences, be it a month in depression and anxiety before or the aftermath of the experience afterwards. The surgeon just goes on to the next patient.

Nobody has the right to press you into anything you don't like to. Your reasons are valid and so are your fears. An understanding oral surgeon should at least be willing to hear you out and open his opinion to discussion. They should also give you a chance to voice concerns and have a chat about it. Reassure you. I can see how this is giving you anxiety and reading the background it looks to me like it's more about trust and respect rather than how it will be done. So yeah, a second opinion may be a good thing. There are a lot of good surgeons and this is your teeth.

You mentioned he seems like a really competent guy. May I ask you what made him look so?
And what makes you believe you would get the exact same answer somewhere else?

All the best wishes

I think the worst part about it is that I don't know him. At all. Covid has made it so that I don't have as long of a consultation as I did with my dentist when I first went to her because I wanted to be safe about COVID, and sometimes I freeze up when something scares me or it doesn't occur to me that I'm scared so I end up not mentioning it at a consultation because it takes time to hit me. I also misunderstood and thought he was suggesting IV sedation rather than general anesthesia.

His office has been really accommodating and he seemed like a nice, caring guy, it's just that I've only met him once for about 30 min. He was through and went through the x-rays with me, too.
 
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Tulipere

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I think the worst part about it is that I don't know him. At all. Covid has made it so that I don't have as long of a consultation as I did with my dentist when I first went to her because I wanted to be safe about COVID, and sometimes I freeze up when something scares me or it doesn't occur to me that I'm scared so I end up not mentioning it at a consultation because it takes time to hit me. I also misunderstood and thought he was suggesting IV sedation rather than general anesthesia.

His office has been really accommodating and he seemed like a nice, caring guy, it's just that I've only met him once for about 30 min. He was through and went through the x-rays with me, too.

And also did a CT scan free of charge to be extra sure about the nerves running through there. I'm just sad that I don't really have anesthesia options. I mean maybe j could get him to agree to use less of it so I can come around faster afterwards? I don't know if that's something that can be done though.
 
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letsconnect

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I've had general anaesthesia several times (not for dental-related things), and don't recall feeling loopy or out of it after waking up. It was more like flicking a switch - one minute I was awake, then I was asleep, and then I was fully awake again. The "coming around"/waking up period seemed to be more determined by how much sleep I'd had the previous night than anything else 😂. I'm not a medical expert, so I'm not sure if my experience is typical?
 
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MountainMama

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I tend to freeze up in consultations and remember all the questions I have later. I wonder if the surgeon saw that you were nervous and made the assumption that you would transfer that nervousness to movements during the procedure.
I had my wisdom teeth out years ago but I do remember that my parents were told I had to have general anesthesia because mine were impacted in the bone and close to the nerve as well. I was 18 at the time and the surgeon told them that he couldn’t risk me moving. I did NOT want to be awake so that was fine with me. I was worried about being loopy afterwards but my mom said I was just sleepy.
Could you possibly either call and ask for another conversation with the surgeon or even send an email? Maybe go through and explain exactly why you don’t want general anesthesia and that you would be okay with something else. Maybe twilight sedation?
 
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Tulipere

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I tend to freeze up in consultations and remember all the questions I have later. I wonder if the surgeon saw that you were nervous and made the assumption that you would transfer that nervousness to movements during the procedure.
I had my wisdom teeth out years ago but I do remember that my parents were told I had to have general anesthesia because mine were impacted in the bone and close to the nerve as well. I was 18 at the time and the surgeon told them that he couldn’t risk me moving. I did NOT want to be awake so that was fine with me. I was worried about being loopy afterwards but my mom said I was just sleepy.
Could you possibly either call and ask for another conversation with the surgeon or even send an email? Maybe go through and explain exactly why you don’t want general anesthesia and that you would be okay with something else. Maybe twilight sedation?

I emailed both the oral surgeon's office and my dentist about this, I really strongly do not want to be unconscious for this procedure. I hope I get a better answer. The thing is, he gave me a rundown of the potential complications of the whole thing under anesthesia but gave me no information on the risks of anesthesia itself. And those complications with removal are the same without sedation so it seems to me that I'm being asked to swallow a whole lot of potential removal complications (nerve damage, sinus injury) without any mention of what the complications of anesthesia might be (post surgical depression, the rare occasion that someone dies, delirium) and the likely trauma I will incur from having someone knock me out (panic attacks, nightmares, anxiety, hopelessness). There are a WHOLE LOT MORE complications under anesthesia and those complications worry me WAY more than a little nerve damage, those cognitive complications could seriously tear to pieces my entire life.

I get than mine are fully bony impacted and horizontal but hasn't anyone ever had those out without general? I'm not a nervous patient when it comes to being in the chair, I actually kind of enjoy dental work, all my nerves usually come from cost or not knowing what is wrong. Or in this case, my one and only phobia rearing it's ugly head here.
 
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Tulipere

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And now I feel embarrassed and like a drama queen because I just got an email that he talked with my regular dentist and came up with some options and he'll get in touch and I feel like I'm being so difficult, I'm not normally like this, I'm pretty calm most of the time but this just triggers me in a way I never have been before.
 
Enarete

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And now I feel embarrassed and like a drama queen because I just got an email that he talked with my regular dentist and came up with some options and he'll get in touch and I feel like I'm being so difficult, I'm not normally like this, I'm pretty calm most of the time but this just triggers me in a way I never have been before.

I don't think you are a drama queen, Tulipere. I believe that something about the thought of GA is triggering a huge amount of helplessness and immense fear of loss of control. There is a strong sense of anger and "they are doing this to me" in your first post. I can absolutely imagine that you are fine with all other procedures and don't react like this usually and this seems to be a roadblock. That's how triggers work and everyone has their own themes. There is a lot of ambivalence in your story - I see how you really don't see yourself being able to tolerate GA (and that's your right), but at the same time you don't want to cause inconvenience and somehow want to go with what the surgeon said. And this is the problem - in the constellation of how things are now, you can either go with your preferences or those of the surgeon. It sounds like a good idea to figure out a solution you are both happy with.

You are not a drama queen and you are not being difficult. You are just dealing with something that is very important for you. Listening to your gut feeling, what would be your preferred outcome in this situation?
 
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MountainMama

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And now I feel embarrassed and like a drama queen because I just got an email that he talked with my regular dentist and came up with some options and he'll get in touch and I feel like I'm being so difficult, I'm not normally like this, I'm pretty calm most of the time but this just triggers me in a way I never have been before.

You are definitely not coming across as a drama queen. You are paying for this, and you should have it the way you want, if at all possible. It is encouraging that he is willing to look at other options!
My husband will not do general anesthesia. He is worried about not coming out of it and the total lack of control. He had his wisdom teeth out under local, but his were mostly erupted. He did, however, refuse to be put under for knee surgery and they gave him a spinal block and let him stay awake.
 
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Tulipere

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UPDATE: He called me and left a voicemail (I'm at work) and it looks like he's willing to give me some kind of options, I'm going to call him back on Monday and talk to him. Like I said he seems really nice I just don't know him that well and I've never really been phobic of anything like this before (except like having my head underwater as a kid that used to throw me in violent fits and my parents forcing medications into me which is, I'm realizing, probably where this comes from)

I'm also going to take a pregnancy test just to make sure because maybe TMI but my period is late and being this emotional all the time to the point where it interferes with work is just not normal for me. At all.
 
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Tulipere

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Not pregnant, thank goodness.

I think what would make me happiest is if my boyfriend was there for me going under or being sedated beforehand or whatever because something about leaving him in the waiting room scares me just as much as having him wait in the parking lot like originally planned does and I don't like people I'm not close to trying to comfort me. If I'm going to go under I want my boyfriend to be talking to me not a nurse. That and I don't like the idea of losing my memory of things that happen shortly after the procedure/it scares me when people describe it as BAM and suddenly they're at home on the couch I'd feel better if I could just wake up, leave and remember doing so.
 
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