Dreaming under Anesthesia: is it possible?

This morning was another Electeoconvulsive Therapy treatment day. I was relieved the nurse anesthetist had no trouble setting up the IV this week (my left wrist is still a pretty mixture of red, purple, and yellow right now. And my hand veins are all shot from having so many IVs in them, so it’s now a hunt for a viable vein every week even though I’ve been drinking lots of water).

Everything went smoothly before the treatment — getting hooked up to the heart monitor, EEG, the actual treatment electrodes, nasal cannula — then it was nighty nights induced by Brevitol. Why does anesthesia burn when they inject it? It’s such a bizarre feeling; first, my arm feels likes it’s on fire, then all of a sudden I’m out. It happens very fast. 

The treatments themselves are no more than a few minutes. Then I wake up in the recovery room, am given some water and a few minutes to be somewhat more alert before they wheel me outside to my ride. I asked how long I’m usually asleep in the recovery room. The nurse said usually no more than fifteen minutes. Then as she was checking my vitals one last time, we discussed what I was going to have at IHOP for my weekly post-treatment breakfast. I had cinnamon brioche French toast, by the way, and it was delicious. 

But today I was dreaming before I woke up. I don’t recall ever dreaming before. God only knows what I was dreaming about, but it definitely happened. I didn’t think you could dream while under general anesthesia. Or maybe the Brevitol had worn off and I was just sleeping? I really have no clue. 

Waking up from anesthesia is weird, too. Even though I’m only out for 20 minutes, it feels like hours. It feels like I’m trying to swim through molasses to wake up. 

I’m just happy and grateful that ECT has done wonders to help with my bipolar disorder. 


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