I had my first general anaesthetic on the 24 of December 2010 - Nah, I can’t think why that date sticks in my mind either.
I was petrified so the anaesthetist made a real effort to chat to me about non-medical related stuff whilst he shoved the needle in my hand and we waited for the drug to kick in.
Having an general anaesthetic was a real eye-opener – well not literally, quite the opposite in actual fact, but the feelings were eye-opening. It was glorious. I woke from a dreamless, but somehow satisfying, sleep feeling totally chilled and relaxed and a general anaesthetic quickly shot up my narcotic of choice list. (Above wine, but still below lager and salt and vinegar crisps – if you don’t think salt and vinegar crisps are a narcotic you have never used them to eat yourself into a coma. Novice).
Since that day I have had seven more Generals – see first name terms now. To be factually correct; four were heavy sedations for egg collection but they are indistinguishable from the real thing to an occasional user such as myself.
I discovered that my first chatty anaesthetist was not unusual. Anaesthetists' training one-oh-one must be to help them develop conversational skills on a par with a hairdresser (I do not say this in a derogatory way, anyone who can work and chat to the general public at the same time wins my greatest admiration).
On the third or fourth occasion the anaesthetist ask me if I’d had one before. “Oh yes” I replied airily. “So you know the process?”. “Yes, you stick and needle in my arm, then we have an inane conversation until I fall asleep.” “Are you a talker then?” She asked.
I didn’t feel I could reply that the inane conversation I was referring to was from her not me, so I just nodded dumbly and then failed to live up to my self-proclaimed chatty self.
For the last op the anaesthetist started with the old favourite, "Where would you usually be today?" "Work" (I wasn't at my sparkliest conversationally), he extracted from me where I worked and what I do - which is more than you guys get - and somehow it ended up with me offering him a massive 10% discount on our products. At which point he said that it would be unethical to take up the offer and put me to sleep.
It was quite comforting to know that I had an ethical anaesthetist, because let's face it you are rarely as vulnerable as when you are knocked out, clad in a backless hospital gown and wearing paper knickers.