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What Can I Expect from General Anesthetic Recovery?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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General anesthetic is used for many different types of surgical procedures, and each patient can react differently to it, meaning that general anesthetic recovery is not the same for everyone. The effects of anesthesia can vary based on a person's age, overall health level, and the length of the surgery, as well as his or her personal tolerance level to anesthesia. Many people find that when they wake up, they experience confusion and may feel nausea or experience vomiting. Over the following hours, they may begin to feel the pain from the surgery as the anesthesia wears off completely.

There is really no way to know how you in particular will react to anesthesia before you experience it, but you should not be worried, because doctors and nurses are there the whole time to monitor you, and make sure you're all right. General anesthetic recovery begins in the recovery room, where you are taken immediately following the surgery; you will generally stay there for an hour or two while you are closely monitored and the immediate effects of the anesthesia wears off. You will also be given some pain medication to try to keep you comfortable. Many people do not even remember the recovery room.

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After that, you will begin to feel the effects of general anesthetic recovery in earnest. Most people feel somewhat confused and disoriented, and motor control will be difficult, if you are even allowed to get up yet. Your mouth will probably feel dry and you might have a slightly sore throat. Nausea is also fairly common, and some people experience vomiting, but if you fasted properly before surgery then this shouldn't be too big of a problem. Most people feel very tired during general anesthetic recovery, and may find it a challenge to wake up, but this will soon pass.

Some people will feel emotional, sad, or scared during general anesthetic recovery, and may not be able to determine why. Again, this is completely normal and will not last long; it is just your brain reacting to the drugs leaving your system. It is also common to feel cold after anesthesia, but if you mention it to the doctor or nurse, they can generally get you a heated blanket. Usually, these effects will be gone in a few hours, though it is still important that you do not drive the same day you've had anesthesia, because your fine motor functions and response time are absolutely not up to par.

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turquoise
Post 3

I second the lots of water advice because water helps flush out the anesthesia from the body. The more water you drink, the better.

The weirdest part about my general anesthesia was that I didn't remember any of the recovery. It felt like I laid down to have the surgery and a moment later, I was awake with everything over with. It's an odd feeling!

I felt very thirsty when I woke up and my throat felt a little sore, but everything else was fine.

ysmina
Post 2

@literally45-- I had a c-section under general anesthesia too. I didn't have any problems, I was just tired and sleepy for several days.

All I would advise is for your sister to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water and eat proper, nutritious meals. Even if she wants to start walking around and doing things, it's best to take it easy for a few days.

I had a friend suddenly faint and hit her head after general anesthesia. The procedure can cause some dizziness and drowsiness, so it's best to take things slowly.

literally45
Post 1

My sister is going to get a c-section next week under general anesthesia. I want to make sure that I'm there for her during recovery. What should we expect? Do you have any advice for us?

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