Extreme pain during surgery!!!

New to the forums and this is my first post!! I'm due to have some upcoming procedures that are normally done under local anesthesia and it's making me very anxious to relive what I went through with my pacemaker, while researching I came across the club here and thought I would share my experience and see if anyone had any advice.  

So my story goes something like this....

Endocarditis in August of 2017 caused me to have a tricuspid Valve replacement, during replacement and cleaning the infection out of my heart my natural nodes were damaged and put me into total heart block. After 8 months of waiting to see if my heart would heal and regain a healthy rythm (( during this time my heart rate would stay between 48-62 BPM regardless of resting or exertion)) my final stress test showed a maximum of 62 BPM 8 minutes into my treadmill jog. My cardiologist finally atrees the pacemaker is nessicary. Fast forward a week and I'm arriving at the hospital for my procedure without any rundown from my cardiologist... I only know what I have read online about what to expect.. when asking pre-op about being awake or asleep during the procedure they all assured me that I would be asleep through it all..which was a relief I had a lot of anxiety about being awake during it. 

Fast forward to operating room, getting cleaned up and wiped down..and strapped down by all of my limbs to the table... Covered up and a cloth thrown over my face so I could see nothing but a random bit of floor space in the operating room corner.... voices of faceless assistants and my surgeon comes in and I feel the sting of the local as he tells someone to give me something via my IV... I begin to calm down and wait for my eyes to get heavy so I can knock out and  wake up in recovery after they're finished.... Except the heavy never comes....no sleep comes to me this morning. At first it wasn't torture.. then the pressure started and the local seemed to have evaporated out of my body instantly and I let out a scream, they pause and another order is given to refresh my IV and then he continues.. I let out another moan of agony as it feels like I have someone prying the muscle off  my chest with the teeth of a claw hammer.  Again the order for something in my IV and it dulls the pain enough to only let out moans of discomfort while they finish molding my pocket and placing the implant. The next eternity of being strapped to the table while they connect and test my implant was less traumatic and almost pain free until the staples came... 

My recovery was pretty pain free and had no complications following. Staples removed a week later, home monitoring system showed up in the mail and my first check up with my pacemaker guru went well. Expected to have just short of 10 years of battery life at my current settings....and I'm already dreading the day I have to go have it replaced.


talk to the anesthesiologist

by Tracey_E - 2019-01-26 09:04:41

Your experience isn't unheard of but it's also not at all normal. Normal is wake up later and don't remember a thing. Talk to them so they can do it differently next time. 


by Selwyn - 2019-01-26 10:47:24

Welcome to the Club. I am pleased you have shared your experiences.

An incorrectly applied local anaesthetic will not numb the pain.

An incorrectly given general anaesthetic will not put you to sleep!

I have had a dentist grind out my tooth socket under local anaesthetic in preparation for an implant and believe me I felt every little movement in spite of a local anaesthetic injection.

I had a patient tell me of her elbow replacement in great, and graphic detail 'whilst asleep' and paralysed.

As Tracy_E says, make sure your doctor understands your fears.

Actually, my PM insertion under local anaesthetic was painless- I remember discussing the virtues of decaffinated coffee with the surgeon at the time.



by Benjijohn - 2019-01-26 14:56:27

Wellcome to the club

I can truly understand you as I live in Europe and  all my previous crt-d operations were done the same way. I do not know the reason but they almost never put you to asleep in these operations

it hurts for sure, especially when they are making a new pocket. And all the anxiety is Absolutely terrible

I have had different surgeries when I was totally asleep. But I also do not like this, the waking up, the lungs etc


in any case, I am pleased to hear that you are feeling better after surgery. This is the most important thing, as you will experince a great improvement in quality of your daily life

All the best

staying awake

by Uelrindru - 2019-01-26 17:24:19

I was told I would be awake during my OCD insertion and I couldnt remember a thing after the have me whatever they gave me. I woke up when we were coming down to my room and I was loopy as all hell. It was like I was high and my wife recorded the whole experience so she can show everyone.

I think they used an opioid and those make me sleep very quickly, hence why I never take hydros after the pain is remotely bearable. it sucks that you went through that so when you get a new one tell them what you went through, they may have an alternative to what they used. in the mean time enjoy you're new bionic condition and have a speedy recovery ;)

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Yesterday I moved to a new place in my mind and realized how bad I felt 'before' and the difference my pacemaker has made.