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    People Who've Woken Up Mid-Surgery Are Sharing Their Horror Stories, And It's Nightmare Fuel

    "When I first awoke, it felt something like sleep paralysis."

    People who've woken up while undergoing surgery are sharing their stories on Reddit...and it is TRULY the stuff of nightmares.

    Surgeon holding up a lamp
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    It all started when Reddit user u/Itachi96 posed a question to the internet: "People that woke up mid-surgery/procedure, what happened?"

    a patient with an oxygen mask on
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    If you don't feel like sleeping ever again, read on for some of the top-voted responses:

    1. "I had an eye surgery to fix a scarred retina. I woke up as the doctor started the procedure. (The nurse asked what kind of music he wanted to listen to, and he said Coldplay). I couldn't move. My body was paralyzed, but I was awake. I couldn't say anything either. All I could do was lay there and watch as my eye was being worked on. Yes, I could see the tool entering my eye. I could hear the doctor and nurses talking."

    surgeons working together on a patient
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    2. "I woke up in the middle of a pretty substantial tooth extraction one time. The procedure involved the removal of eight teeth in total, my wisdom teeth and a few others. ... The worst part is that when I first awoke, it felt something like sleep paralysis. I couldn't move no matter how hard I tried and had no way to signal to the orthodontist that I was conscious and could feel the pressure of the tooth extraction."


    3. "After my appendectomy, I woke to see my doctor, the surgeon, and two nurses standing over me looking worried. As it turned out, in the middle of the surgery, I woke up just enough to panic and pull the tube out of my throat. They put me under more heavily and put the tube back, but apparently it freaked them all out enough that they were in my recovery room waiting."


    4. "I don't remember it, but the nurses told me I woke up in major surgery and asked for my CD to be restarted as it had finished playing."

    the hand of a patient
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    5. "Woke up during a colonoscopy and started asking questions about what was on the monitor. Zero discomfort or pain — I get why fentanyl is popular. [I asked] one question too many, I guess — anesthesiologist shut that sh*t down."


    6. "Woke up in a tib/fib and femur op. Didn't feel a thing and there was a screen in front of my chin. I didn't say anything because I couldn't feel anything. The docs noticed my heart rate spiked and they gassed me up more. ... I didn't quite remember it until I talked to the surgeon later. He asked if I recalled anything and it kinda came back to me. Strange overall."


    7. "Getting my wisdom teeth surgically removed. Woke up to string coming out of my mouth, pulled tight in the doctor's hands (assume he was stitching something up). He saw I was awake and said 'You shouldn’t be up yet.' He looked to someone else I couldn’t see and said, 'Push a little more' then looked back at me and waved, saying 'Nighty night!'"

    surgeons looking down at a patient
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    8. "I woke up and could 'feel' the surgery but it wasn’t pain. Felt like tugging and the surgery took longer than planned for. It was not painful, but a truly weird experience. They didn’t want to knock me out again [since] I wasn’t feeling pain. The anesthesia affects the nerves longer, I guess, than the brain."


    9. "Was having hand surgery. Heard myself saying woozily 'That's some manicure.' They must have pumped on the gas pretty quickly — never got to elaborate."


    10. "I was told that I woke up during a procedure, but I don't remember it at all. Apparently I woke up, asked someone in the room how it was going, then they must've put me back under. I also woke up in recovery way earlier than they usually see someone wake, and that kinda freaked them out a bit."

    surgeons working together on a patient
    Hraun / Getty Images


    11. "I woke up during my tonsillectomy when I was 12. I was numb, so no pain at all. I could feel the drips of blood in my throat. I could hear the doctors and nurses talking and I could hear the radio (they were listening to country music). It was quite traumatic."


    12. "I didn’t wake up mid-surgery, but I did wake up immediately post-surgery after getting a plate and pins in my ankle. I vividly remember slowly gaining consciousness, and immediate, agonizing pain. I started screaming and bawling my eyes out. Nurses rush into the room, try to give me a nerve block in my leg, but can’t find the nerve so they’re just poking around in my leg while I’m screaming bloody murder. I don’t know if they ever got the nerve block done — I passed out from the pain."


    13. "I had a doctor cutting around muscle in my chest. Woke up twice, hurt like a sonofabitch. Kept telling them to put me to sleep again. ... Had the surgery [screen] up, so I at least couldn't see it, but damn it hurts getting sliced up."

    a surgical patient
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    14. "They told me not to move and said they were almost done with the stitches, so they didn't put me back under. I've never cried so much in my entire life."


    15. "Well, while you are supposed to be awake for cornea transplant surgery, your eye is numb. However during this surgery on my left eye, I felt the cut into my old cornea. I said I felt it and the surgeon said 'You felt what?' I said I felt a sting like a cut and he did a few things and then started to cut again, and I said there it was again. So they had to give me a shot in my eyeball and that hurt! But I didn’t feel anything else after the shot. It was very unnerving!"


    16. "Turned out that my body doesn't take to the gas method to go under. I woke up, screamed, then passed out. Doctors had to dose me with loads of whatever they used to stabilize me."

    a surgical patient
    Kupicoo / Getty Images

    17. "I had to get knee surgery as I had 'chipped' off a part of my kneecap and the doctor needed to go in and remove the bone. He was a pretty playful guy, obviously worked with kids a lot. When I was getting prepped, he was asking if I wanted to see the bone when it was out and me being 13 and thinking that was cool as hell, I said yes. I thought he was going to show the bone to me after the surgery. But he actually patted me awake while my leg was still open to show me the bloody piece of bone."


    18. "I was having a breast augmentation surgery done, so I remember waking up and smelling like burned/grilled meat, and the nurses were talking to each other, wondering what was a scar I have near my hip, and I remember telling them that I was burned with nitrogen (true). I also remember being tied up with my arms wide open, and that’s it. Next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room asking what size implants I got."


    And finally...

    19. "I woke up during a laparoscopy and even though I don’t remember having any pain, it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I don’t remember seeing anything or opening my eyes, but I was aware of what was going on and I kept trying to vomit but was only dry heaving instead. The nurses tried to calm me down and kept telling me everything would be alright and I just had to breathe. They tried to put me under again but it wasn’t working and I kept saying 'No, I’m still here, I’m still here.'”

    surgeons looking down at a patient
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    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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