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Anesthesiology/Petrified of going under general anesthesia, my first time please help


QUESTION: Hello am 22 and female and in 2 days I am getting a surgical abortion and will be put under genreal anesthesia. They said I will only be asleep for 10 minutes and will use a light genreal anesthesia(whatever that is) but I am absolutely petrified! I have never been out to sleep and I am so scared about what it feels like going under do you feel all dizzy and like you can't breath or is it just like falling asleep? And what if my heart just suddenly stops? I have cried every day thinking about it.

I am healthy I don't smoke or drink but I do suffer with anxiety and panic attacks so I get cheat pains and palpitations sometimes but this is not due my heart but am still scared that this will make me have a bad reaction to the anesthesia, also am really sick with hyperemesis I haven't been eating or drinking a lot and I will probably be vomiting the morning of my procedure will this have a impact?

I would be so great full if you could post an answer on time. Thank you


Thanks for the question and I hope I can ease your fears! I am so sorry you are so afraid!

First let me say your fears are TOTALLY NORMAL. However, let me assure you that the chances of anything bad happening, especially with such a quick procedure are significantly small. Not something to be very afraid of ;)

There are a number of ways to do this case and I have done many. For you it will be like you gently fall asleep and often you wont even remember going into the room. You wont feel dizzy during the process of putting you to sleep and you will not feel like you cannot breathe, no worries!

One of the medicines often given before anesthesia is called versed, it will decrease anxiety as well as cause you not to remember going into the operating room. It should make things easier for you.

Anesthesia is extremely safe today, you will be in good hands and do great!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you very much for the reply! My procedure was ment to be today but has been rescheduled till Thursday as I was in hospital yesterday dehydrated and they had to give me a blood thinner injection, my bp also goes low sometimes it was 88/59 yesterday, will that have any effect on my procedure? It did go back upp to 110/(I can't remember tha bit sorry) but has a tendency to drop, thanks again for reassuring me I will not feel like I can't breath and go all dizzy And sick just befor I go under, that is what was frightening me the most!

Also could you explain what is ment by a light general anesthesia? Thank you very much.

Hey again

Glad that my answer helped you!

To answer the follow up:

Your blood pressure issue yesterday and your tendency to have a lower BP is not an issue for anesthesia unless there is something else going on, which it does not sound like thats the case. So no worries! We have medicine to keep your pressure normal!

A light general anesthesia is a misnomer really. There are 2 ways to do anesthesia for this case and which one they use really depends on surgeon and anesthesia preference as well as requirements for the case.

The two options are: General Anesthesia and Sedation.

General Anesthesia:

This is where you are absolutely asleep and is generally only required for highly stimulating surgeries. The recovery from general anesthesia takes a bit longer but is still quick and it is safe. General anesthesia can consist of using an airway device, using anesthesia gasses or IV medicine to keep you totally anesthetized.


This is where you are given IV medicine and are wearing oxygen. You are still asleep and will not remember anything but it is not a general anesthetic. Some people remember noises but for the most part nothing. Think of it as a twilight sleep. It has less over all risk than general anesthesia and your recovery is faster.

I have done these cases both ways. Either is safe and will do the job! Make sure you discuss this with your anesthesia provider when you see them!


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Mike MacKinnon MSN FNP-C CRNA


I am a former Trauma Flight RN now a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNAs). I can help answer questions on the CRNA profession and clinical anesthesia. I work full time as an independent practice CRNA and have a special interest in regional anesthesia, particularly peripheral nerve blocks. I also teach ultrasound regional anesthesia and lecture all over the country. If I do not know the answer, I will find it for you.


I am a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Nurse Anesthetist who works as an independent/autonomous practitioner. There are often questions about my profession and I would like to offer the service of an actual CRNA. If you did not know, there are about 40000 of us which equates to 50% of the anesthesia providers in the USA today. I also lecture and teach ultrasound regional anesthesia all over the country.

AANA (American Association of Nurse Anesthetists)
IARS (International Anesthesia Research Society) AANP (American Association of Nurse Practitioners)

Air Medical Transport Journal
OutPatient Surgery Magazine

Bachelors of Science in Nursing
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Excellence in anesthesia education award

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