The medical student on my surgeon’s team told me that being “foggy” from the anesthesia after my surgeries fit in with the problem I had waking up. My body has a hard time expelling the anesthesia. I’ve learned over the years not to multi-task, or do my business accounting, too soon after the surgery as it is just hard for me to think straight.
They did further testing while I was in the hospital and found that I tested positive for an enzyme deficiency called pseudocholinesterase deficiency. This means that I take a longer time than normal to metabolize certain anesthesia drugs, most commonly muscle relaxants. This is the reason why I took an extra 2 hours to wake up from anesthesia during my surgeries.
This has been fully charted in my Stanford medical chart. It also has an anesthesia muscle relaxant called "succinylcholine" as an allergy. If I have a planned surgery in the future, the anesthesiologist will be able to see this information very clearly. I will put a note next to my insurance card, behind my license, and hope this is seen if I have an emergency surgery. (Using the same anesthesia again will not kill me, it just makes it difficult for me to wake up so it’s not a life and death matter for an emergency surgery).
The communication process through these events really bothers me. Of course, the biggest problem is that it wasn’t charted two years ago. But once I told them about the problem, and they checked the charts and nothing was there, no one came back to me to double-check. By thinking I was mistaking “not waking up” for the recovery area, they ignored some essential facts:
1. This was my fifth surgery for cancer (so I have some experience)
2. I used to work in the health care field so I’m familiar with terms
3. I’m a fairly intelligent person
I did do another step to follow up on advocating for myself. When I got the hospital bill, I called the hospital to let them know I do not want to pay out-of-pocket expenses for anesthesia, as (basically) ignoring my communication really compromised my recovery. I’m waiting to hear the final results on that.
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