Going Under

I got my all of my wisdom teeth out on Friday. I would assume most people have 4, I also had 4, and I got all 4 of them removed. My dentist said I would probably want to be put under general anesthesia for the removal and I agreed, because being asleep is almost always preferable in any situation. Even though general anesthesia is pretty common it's still somewhat risky since the anesthesiologist has play a game of keeping you asleep enough not to feel it and keeping you alive enough to not be dead. But this wasn't my first time going under, I had major scoliosis surgery back in 2014. That procedure was around 8 hours where this one was only around 1.

They both kind of start the same, don't eat for 8 - 12 hours before, show up early, assume the position, and get things strapped onto and plugged into you. This time around I sat down in the dental chair, was raised into position, got a breathing nose mask with just oxygen then nitrous oxide, they checked my blood pressure and pulse and then put an IV in so that they could fully put me under. The last thing I remember was them saying they would start off slow and then next thing I remember I was in a wheelchair leaving the office, before I left I did high five the surgeon though.

The beginning parts of my scoliosis surgery were pretty much completely the same but even though my procedure was 8 hours and I started in surgery around 8 AM I don't remember anything (almost) until 2 AM when I woke up in a hospital bed, in the dark, in pain. I would assume that after the surgery I was awake but retained no memory and then fell asleep but I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly what happened. It's like blacking out, one moment you're drinking beers with your friends and the next moment it's morning. I think it's weird to think about consciousness, memory, and your physical self become detached and existing at different levels. Does being conscious mean being fully awake and alert, and does that mean remembering things is part of being conscious? I can be conscious and not retain any memories but I can also be somewhat unconscious and form some memories. There was a point during my scoliosis surgery where I was briefly woken up enough where the doctors could check that I wasn't completely paralyzed and I barely remember that. I don't know if I made up that memory or if it actually happened in the way that I remember but it's there.

It's weird to experience the blurry parts about being a human, where things don't fully make sense and what your brain is experiencing is completely different than what your body is seeing or feeling. It's weird knowing beforehand that you won't remember anything and it's not because you died but because you're just unconscious, and you'll come back. Honestly I should have high fived the anesthesiologist for another perfect game of keeping me alive.