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Epidural or General? Epidural or General?

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Unread 03-22-2006, 12:01 PM
Epidural or General?

Wow, I have been having this same debate in my mind for weeks, I agreed to an epidural and also sedation (Versed and Deprivan) and she also told me something about if I have the epidural, there was something that they can do to block pain for 24 hours after the surgery or something like that....It does seem easier to just go in there have them put a mask on my face and tell me to count backwards from 10 and then I wake up its all over, But due to having to have the pacemaker switched to a different mode and all the concerns with that I am petrified that if I go with the general I am afraid I wont wake up...I think I am just procrastinating the whole issue to be honest....I'm scared, Im angry, I am depressed and I just want it to be over with...I feel like a huge baby going in kicking and screaming...but I didn't MAKE this choice....it was MADE for me!
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Unread 03-22-2006, 12:18 PM
Epidural or General?

Hi, CanadianBrit. Good luck to you, first of all! I wasn't given a choice--I had general, but I would have chosen that anyway. My surgery (TAH-kept right ovary)took 3 hours, and I definitely would not have wanted to be awake at all. They gave me something to prevent nauseau, so I was fine. I will tell you that if you are offered spinal morphine before the surgery, I do highly recommend it. It is a little painful to have it administered, but I was up and walking a few hours after surgery with no grogginess and was up several times during the next day, sitting in a chair for most of the day. It lasts 24 hours, and it really did work for me. They actually made me go back to bed--I felt so well, I was in danger of overdoing it. Good luck again. My thoughts are with you.
Unread 03-22-2006, 12:18 PM
Epidural or General?

That is my fear, that I won't wake up and I will see the white light!
Or that they will give me too much oxygen & I will be brain damaged.
I so wish I didn't think like this!
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Unread 03-22-2006, 01:10 PM
Epidural or General?

I am having general! I don't want to know anything at all! I had an epidural during a kidney stone operation and (for me) it really hurt and I didn't like it at all. I like the general....I go to sleep...they do their thing...I wake up. They usually give you anti-nausea meds before and after if you need them.
I guess it is just a personal choice but I don't want to wake up or remember any of it.
Good luck with your decision...looks like you've gotten lots of opinions about both.
Unread 03-22-2006, 02:40 PM
Epidural or General?

For what it's worth - my sister in law is an RN and she told me today "GET THE EPIDURAL". She said they can administer other drugs to make you sleep during the surgery - it just won't be as heavy as a general, ergo less side effects and with the epidural, you don't wake up in awful pain, sending everyone scrambling to get you something to take the edge off. She strongly, strongly recommended it. I also had a lap. appendectomy about 14 years ago and got super super sick with the general. However, I'm sure things have come a long way since then, from what I'm reading here, there are lots of things they can give you to combat nausea. I think anyone considering anesthesia should have a frank, open discussion with their doc, get their medical opinion, give them your personal feelings, and see if you can agree on something!
Unread 03-22-2006, 03:29 PM
Epidural or General?


I elected to have the epidural for my surgery. I do not regret it. I walked into the o.r. and hopped up on the table. Everyone introduced themselves and the aenestetist (sorry sp?) told me that he was now putting a mild sedative (valium) into my i.v. and I would be out of it for a while. I did not feel or hear him put the epidural into my back and do not recall one thing from the entire surgery! He promised me that I would not hear, see, smell or feel anything for the entire surgery and he came through for me! I woke up without any nausea, no pain and the epidural kept me painless for 48 hours. This was really nice. I was up and walking within 3 hours of my surgery. I wasn't dizzy, tired or anything like that. Five days later I needed another surgery to put a stent in one of my ureters that had been injured. I opted for the spinal this time. I understand it is slightly different than the epidural but with the same results. Again, I was sedated and don't recall anything after that. I got out of bed in the recovery room to use the washroom by myself! When your physician offers you an epidural for surgery, it is not the same as what they do for a c-section. They know that you don't want to be 'awake' for surgery. I feel like I had less post op nausea etc. opting for the epidural. Also, they don't have to put an air tube down your throat with an epidural and I remember the sore throat and nose once before when I had another surgery. Don't be afraid of an epidural. Just do some research and ask your doc lots of questions. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Unread 03-22-2006, 04:33 PM

I am a 63 year old nurse-anesthetist and would take an epidural if I were a candidate but I cannot have one; I am fused to the sacrum because of scoliosis correction. There is no space to place the catheter. As far as awareness goes-your anesthesia provider can essentially have you totally unaware of everything by IV sedation. Most people with epidurals have less pain afterward because, when the pain is blocked before surgery begins, studies have shown much less pain afterward.
My husband had a radical prostatectomy 12 years ago with an epidural. They left the catheter in for 2 days and gave him his pain meds there. He only needed tylenol plain once!
Unread 03-22-2006, 04:34 PM
Epidural or General?

Like so many others, I'd suggest talking this over with your doctor and thinking it through. Have you ever had any trouble with general anesthesia before? If not, you probably wouldn't have any trouble this time.

My surgery was extensive enough that I didn't have the choice. I was out cold. I didn't have any nausea, and I didn't feel any pain at all upon waking. They had the wonderful patient-controlled morphine thing all hooked up by the time I was aware of anything.
Unread 03-22-2006, 04:40 PM
Epidural or General?

When I had the spinal I also was give anti nausea and a sedative. I rember going into to the surgery room and waking up in recovery with no pain and no nausea.

Hope all goes will for you.
Unread 03-22-2006, 04:42 PM
Epidural or General?

Thank you all (the ones that had spinal) for your stories. I have no choice in anesthetic, it must be spinal/epidural. I have several atuoimmune diseases, severe asthma, and Hyper IgE and the last time I was given general I almost didn't make it, and it was only for removal of salivary gland.

The anesthesiologist who explained it all to me (including being able to get right up so I don't get pneumonia...about three hours post surgery) and I have a 'deal', lol. If I wake up enough to realize what's happening, I get my own monitor, heh heh.


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