So today a patient of mine recently went kind of nuts and tried to escape our stretcher after we had woken him up. He sat up (not bad, but we operate on the keep arms/legs inside the vehicle protocol), then ripped his gown off (not great), and then peed everywhere (crowning achievement) - but bad my-name-in-vein, teaches you to try and get him through without a catheter. This happens much more commonly than you think, some people wake up from anesthesia completed disoriented and somewhat dissociated.
The majority will never remember it (post anesthestic amnesia) but it can be like dealing with a wild animal in there. They can be completely different than their personality. Usually it tends to be guys on the youngish side.
It's usually pretty easy to deal with - you grab their hands so they can't accidentally scratch their eyes or pull out the breathing tube too soon. You lean on their body to make sure they can't sit up, because you don't want them falling off the bed or ripping dressings or whatever. It can be pretty dangerous for a post operative patient to be thrashing around. Usually it doesn't matter how strong they are - they aren't fully awake yet, of course.
...but usual doesn't describe this past patient of mine - lets call him Bob. Bob was a -super- nice, pretty young (~45 yr old) guy who needed a cranial surgery to correct a condition and restore normal function. Bob had a young ~10 year old son who Bob was raising on his own. Bob was pretty tall, around 6'3" and built like a lumberjack.
Bob was a nice guy. Bob, for whatever reason, woke up from anesthesia thinking his kid was in danger and that Bob had to go save him. Bob +anesthesia + thought of his kid in danger was a raging bull - like a demon awoken in the exorcist.
It was like:
...The entire nursing staff in the room, me as the junior resident, the anesthesiologist, and a couple of nearby scrub techs all piled on to keep Bob safe and still until the anesthesia wore off. We were kneed in the face, jerked around, and basically it was a tangle of limbs and bodies trying to keep the daddy Bob-bear on the table.
I was holding onto Bob's hand for dear life, keeping it locked down. I couldn't let Bob scratch at his eyes or punch us in the face. Bob was surprisingly strong, yet I held my grip tight. Bob didn't let me go, either, and I was starting to get a little bit worried I'd never get my hand back...
Finally, Bob calmed down. Everyone slowly back away from the operating room table.
I tried to extricate my hand...and looked down, only to find that in the tangle, I'd been holding the hand of the anesthesiologist the entire time. Cue major blush mode. Sheepishly, we looked at one another and let go, and promised to never speak of our close encounter of the surgical kind again.
Fortunately, Bob did great, and never remembered our wild ride. And as far as my anesthesia buddy who I'd unintentionally done some team bonding with? ....I just hope my palms weren't too sweaty.
Questions, comments, funny stories of your own?
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(GIFs from mynerdobsessions.com and image credit from mydailymail.co.uk)