Citation: Little Devil. "Dying Under the Doctor's Supervision: An Experience with Nitrous Oxide (exp19333)". Erowid.org. Dec 2, 2002. erowid.org/exp/19333
Last july I was going to get my tonsils out, an experience which I was fully prepared for until I got into the operating room.
I had used nitrous oxide before this event on my own recreationally and under the supervision of health professionals. As soon as they wheeled me in there I began to feel tense and nervous. The fact that I was strapped to a table and I couldn't see what was going on didn't help make me any more comfortable. They began to administer the nitrous oxide and because I didn't know what was going on things really started to bother me. I closed my eyes and everything began to get fuzzy like usual, it all looked like colorful tv-snow. Even though my body seemed to have no response, my mind seemed crystal clear. I could hear the doctors talking, their voices sounded metallic and far away. The doctor told me that people used to have parties with nitrous and I was thinking 'people still do.'
I began to get really upset because I felt so helpless. I started to cry and I thought I was sobbing and then I heard the resident say 'look at her laugh! Have you ever seen anyone laugh so much?'... I didn't even realize I was laughing until she said that, I thought I was crying. I started to calm down again. My conscious mind felt really dead, but my unconscious mind seemed sharper than ever. My mind kept saying 'how trippy this is and how I probably won't even remember it and how that will be so weird.' then the doctor put the IV needle in and that kinda hurt, but kind didn't. I felt like I could 'see' the pain but the pain wasn't that bad. My mind said 'it doesn't matter if it hurts, cause you won't remember it later.' I was just kind of floating along, slowly drifting into unconsciousness.
Then the doctors started to say there was something wrong with my breathing. They were saying things like 'what's wrong?' and 'what's going on?' which are not comforting things to hear from health professionals.
All the machines started beeping, and the head doctor said something like 'she has Reactive Airway Disease, I think that might be it... Change this, change that.. Fix this' the machines started beeping even more. I started to really freak out. I realized that I actually couldn't breath very well. Then it was weird because I knew what the people were going to say before they said it... I was so scared and my mind kept telling me that I was gonna die. I got really freaked out and said out loud, 'I'm scared!' and one of the ladies said, 'you're gonna be ok.' my mind became convinced that I was dreaming and that if I didn't wake up RIGHT AWAY I was going to die. And it kept saying 'you're dying!' 'you're dying' 'wake up or you'll die!!' Suddenly I just totally snapped and I sat up on the operating table as fast as I could, I didn't understand why, if it was a dream, the people didn't go away and I was still on the table. I started sobbing and realized it wasn't a dream and I really thought that I had been about to die.
I grabbed onto whoever was standing there and hugged them as tight as a could while sobbing uncontrollably. Then everybody was telling me that I was ok, and that everything was ok, and they put the mask back on me and that's all I remembered until the surgery was over. Later I found out that I wouldn't lay back down until everyone had hugged me.
I woke up in the recovery room still crying and happy to be getting morphine. I can honestly say that that was definitely one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. Thinking that you're going to die is not a pleasant feeling and it left me quite unnerved even after I woke back up.
I guess that proves that even under a doctor's supervision you can have a bad experience... I definitely think that the environment I was in did not help any. When inhaling nitrous on my own I don't feel tense beforehand and I don't feel trapped or helpless. So being strapped to a table doesn't help any. Nitrous can be quite dangerous if you're not getting enough oxygen at the same time, I would have been fucked in that situation if the doctors hadn't been there. So I guess they're both good and bad.
But it gave me a nice little story to tell and they sent me home with some nice parting gifts: two stuffed animals and a bottle of vicodin (but that's another story!).
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