Sharon Page worked as a doctor. She was having issues of her own that she had not seen about.
She started having numbness in her face and down her shoulder to her fingers. The sensation was like a shot of Novocain wearing off.
Sharon was still seeing patients and ignoring what she was feeling. She examined one of her afternoon patients and prescribed the proper treatment and ushered her to the front desk to settle the bill and make a follow up appointment in ninety days.
Just as Sharon was about to knock on the door of the next patient she felt a stabbing pain in her head and the right side of her face. It felt like a pitchfork had been shoved into her face. She couldn’t move. She slid to the floor with some semblance of control. She was holding her hand over her eye and crying out in pain.
Doctor Sharon Page’s husband, Randall, was also a doctor at the office. He quickly assessed her and thought she might be having a stroke. Whatever was wrong was more than Dr. Randal Page could handle. He dialed 911 and reported that it was possible his wife had had a stroke.
At the Emergency Room they immediately put Sharon on Stroke precaution. An IV was started and lab work was done.
After portable X-rays were taken a transporter came and took her for a CT scan.
In a little while the ER doctor, Doctor Simons smiled as he came in, so Sharon thought the scan came back okay.
Dr. Simons smiled and said he had good news and bad news. The good news was that she did not suffer a stroke. The bad news was that she needed to be scanned again with contrast medium this time.
Sharon and her husband’s mind were going to the same place. Their thoughts went over every possible illness or event that could require another CT scan done with contrast medium.
The scan didn’t take long. She was wheeled back to her ER room. Soon the doctor still came in smiling. Sharon knew that Doctor Simons always smiled. It was like a habit that he couldn’t break. He could have deadly news to report and he would continue to involuntarily smile.
Again, Sharon thought that whatever was wrong with her had to be minor, but that wasn’t the case.
Sharon got the shock of her life. The CT done with contrast medium showed that she had a tumor on her brain pressing into the back of her eye.
Sharon was shocked beyond belief. Doctor Simons informed her that is she didn’t have surgery soon to remove the tumor it would cut off the nerve function of her optic nerve.
She was conflicted. She had patients that needed her. Her husband assured her that the office would run okay without her for a few days. After all, Sharon’s father is also a family doctor in the office and between her husband and father they could keep the office running.
Sharon was admitted immediately to the local hospital. The verdict was that she would need to have a micro-craniotomy to remove the tumor from her brain.
The anesthesiologist came to see her that evening. He explained that he would put her under a mixture of two types of anesthesia so he wouldn’t have to use so much of the paralyzing drug in the general anesthesia.
Sharon was held NPO (nothing by mouth) after midnight. She was the first case to go to the operating room that morning. She was given a preop shot to make her drowsy before she was wheeled to the operating room.
Sharon’s arm was fastened to a board. Two medications were administered to help her go to sleep. At the same time the anesthesiologist put the general anesthesia mask over face to her keep her completely unconscious.
When Sharon was sufficiently unresponsive, the plastic airway was inserted so she could be intubated
The trouble was that Sharon was wide awake, though she was being breathed by a machine. She appeared to be out but he was screaming inside her head. She was aware of the endotrachial tube being placed so she could be respired.
he OR staff got everything ready so that when the neurosurgeon, Doctor McCann came in that the operative site would be shaved and draped.
Susan felt it all. She heard the music play in the background. She felt the skin flap being cut. Susan was screaming but no one noticed. Next she felt a drill boring into her skull. The noise was a deafening screech that changed to a lower pitch once it started cutting through her cranium.
There was nothing Susan could do but lie still and take the torture. She tried to distract herself by naming all of the states in the United States.
“Owwww! Please stop! I’m awake! I can hear you! I can feel everything!” Sharon silently screamed.
‘What can I do to get their attention,’ she thought. The pain and anxiety was torture. She was angry that no one who was working on her could tell she was wide awake.
She thought she could move her fingers. She had to try.
Are my fingers moving? She thought she could feel herself raise her right index finger.
Mary Steadman, the circulating nurse was the first to notice that Sharon was not fully under anesthesia.
“Something’s wrong!” Mary said to Doctor Chet Avery, the Anesthesiologist.
“Her vitals are still okay.” Chet said. However he also noticed Sharon moving her index finger and her middle finger on her right hand.
Chet made an adjustment in the anesthesia and he noticed that her fingers were still.
“John,” Chet said to Doctor McCann, we need to wind this craniotomy up quickly so I can wake her up.”
Sharon opened her eyes in the recovery room. The nurse was taking her vital signs.
“I felt everything! I tried to tell them but I couldn’t tell them.”
“You did tell them, Doctor Sharon. They noticed your fingers moving.”
Doctor McCann came into the recovery room to reassure her that everything was okay with her now.
If Sharon hadn’t been so sedated she would have been ripping mad that she was tortured in such a way, but she also knew that anesthesia was still quite a mystery on how it behaves on the brain.
While in recovery, the pain she felt in the operating room was fading away.
Chet, made a note in Sharon’s chart that the mixture of anesthetics did not properly take away her sensation. She was paralyzed with succinicholine but she remained fully aware.
Sharon recovered quickly and was back to treating patients of her own within just a few weeks. Her experience taught her to bee en more compassionate than she already was.
When Sharon meets patients for the first time she takes a full history. She also goes one step further. She asks her patients if they have ever felt any sensations after being out under anesthesia. If any of her patients had any problems with anesthesia she wanted to note it and pass the information on to any surgeon she would refer patients to.
Her experience was horrific, but it was nobody’s fault. Sharon felt her experience would help her become a better doctor.
Randall Page, Sharon’s gorgeous husband knocked on the open door to her office. She was just dictating her last case for the day.
“I’ll be ready Ina minute dear.” Sharon said.
“How about we try out that new steakhouse that opened up near Stone Mountain this evening and when it gets dark enough let’s get a blanket and sit out across the park and watch the laser show.
“Sounds good to me! Let’s take a shower together to save time when we get home so we won’t miss the show! I’m starved!” Sharon said as she removed her white coat and grabbed her bag.
Together, they left work arm in arm, leaving the job and all unpleasant memories behind.
Previously published on Bubblews