I thought I would take a brief break from hospital hallucinations to discuss my experiences with twilight sedation. Twilight sedation is the type of anesthesia that causes short-term memory loss, relaxes you, but leaves you open to the doctors’ instruction. Doctors had placed surgical drains in some abscesses I developed in November 2021. But since that was not the end of those problems, it became necessary to put in another surgical drain on March 24, 2022. (These procedures stem from the perforation of my small intestine in May of 2021 and the sepsis developing after that. Please read about my lost year here.) Each time I have this done, they administer the twilight drugs of Fentanyl and Versed.
I’m a teetotaler…
I have heard it said that “candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” In my case, I’ve never been one for alcohol. It smells and tastes nasty to me. However, that is a good thing since addiction can be genetic, and I’ve had drinkers in my family tree (e.g., great-uncles). I would be more predisposed to nicotine were it not a matter of the “sin taxes” placed on tobacco products. I used smokeless tobacco for a brief period but concluded I couldn’t afford it. So, that is all it took for me to quit. Yet, I have other family members that still wrestle with nicotine addiction. So, I suppose I dodged a bullet there.
But certain drugs have their appeal…
Though, if I had the means and money, I could see becoming like the late Michael Jackson regarding anesthetic drug abuse. Before his death, you may recall that he had a doctor routinely administer Propofol. Unfortunately, an overdose of this anesthetic killed him in 2009. If I were honest, and that is somewhat the purpose of this post, I would admit to enjoying the nanoseconds before going into the OR. You feel as if you are floating away. It is a rather pleasant feeling. But that sedation is not the same as “twilight sedation” I received within the last week. And despite feeling good, the latter has a scary attribute of which this latest experience reminded me.
Yet it comes with a price…
It is short-term memory loss without being entirely put to sleep. After being situated on the CT platform, the radiologists rolled me onto my left side. The doctor joked I was giving them a challenge since I required four punctures for aspiration and surgical drain placement. At some point, the technicians would roll me onto my right side. I think this was to aspirate the sac of fluid on my spleen. So, my anesthesiologist put me into twilight, and despite the hardness of the “translating couch,” I was able to feel comfortable. Everything else I barely remember. Suddenly, everyone told me what a trooper I had been throughout the procedure. But, wait, weren’t they going to flip me onto my right side? Oh well, whatever.
Did that happen?
The radiology nurses gave me the spiel about aftercare. I could remove the bandages from the aspirated sites after 24-hours. The dressing for the surgical drain is only to be changed by a nurse. So, it is a job for home health care which I am still receiving. After getting home, I took ibuprofen and slept. I also slept much of Friday, March 25. (Somnolence is a side effect of these twilight sedatives, after all.) However, I checked on a sore spot on my upper abdomen Friday evening. I had surgical dressing there! I realized they had flipped me onto my right side after all. And I could not remember them having done so. Pleasant feelings or not that is scary. I could talk with people, follow the instructions they had given me but not remember anything of what was said or done.
Maybe sobriety is best.
I discovered that Versed is a date-rape drug with some quick internet searches. So that makes sense to me now. And it shows how despicable a person would be to use Versed for that purpose. Imagine what unscrupulous people can do if I could be punctured four times and recall nothing! So, I now have mixed feelings about my pleasant twilight experiences. But, ultimately, it is why I shall leave it in the hands of professionals I can trust, even if I had the means and money of a Michael Jackson. During sobriety, there may not be any pleasant dulling of the senses, but it is preferable to “fly high and crash hard.”
Unlike other rock artists, Jeff Lynne from Electric Light Orchestra was never heavy into the drug scene; he was mostly into alcohol and marijuana. Yet, I wonder about Lynne’s lyrics for “Prologue/Twilight” on ELO’s 1981 album, Time. It seems somewhat pertinent to this discussion. And, thus, I close with it.
Twilight, twilight. I gave you time, to steal my mind, away from me.Jeff Lynne