I had a horrible experience coming out of my first surgery in 2000 (tonsillectomy) in CA. My arms were flailing and I felt like I was seizuring, i couldn't breathe, panicky and couldn't talk in order to tell people what I was experiencing. The nurses rushed me to the recovery room, put the thumb/oxygen reader thing on me and determined I would be fine and that I was receiving enough oxygen. They patted my hand and said " Don't worry honey, you're fine." and walked away. They were very neglectful and ignorant towards what was happening and practically ignored me. The other people in the recovery room seemed more concerned about my wellbeing!
I was partially paralyzed and I was unable to speak and in a panic thinking that i would die because i was struggling so hard to breathe. My arms were flailing uncontrollably around and I couldn't believe no one would come over and try to talk to me! The nurses checked on me 2 or three times over the next 8 hours or so until they decided I was ready to be released. I was the last one in the recovery room that evening, and I still was unable to speak and barely able to breathe. My boyfriend & his mom arrived to pick me up around 8 pm or so.
He thought I was in extreme pain because I was so pale, still shaking and couldn't talk, but the tonsillectomy wasn't painful. I wrote down on a piece of paper "can't breathe" and he and his mom totally freaked out. The nurse didn't say anything to it, and they just wanted to get me out of there.
Regardless of the PTSD I now suffer from because of my bad experience,I did recover, but had no idea what had gone wrong. The anesthesiologist wrote that there were no problems with the surgery or the anesthesia. ( A "2 out of 10" as far as problems was recorded on the surgery report).
About 8 years later, my sister underwent back surgery in Colorado at an excellent hospital. As she came out of it, she began having some similar reactions in not being able to breathe. Immediately the anesthesiologist recognized what was happening and put her back under (so she would not remember the traumatic event) and put a special agent in her to assist in metabolizing the succynolcholine agent faster. Once she was alert, he explained exactly what had happened and what he thinks it is.
It is called Pseudocholinesterase Deficiency and it is found in approximately 1 of 500 people. It is an allergy to Succynolcholine (that paralyzing agent that they give you in surgery to paralyze your muscles and some organs-- as you have read here already in other chats.)
My sister got a simple blood test and it proved that she did indeed have the "allergy" for lack of a better term. I was tested too of course and I have it. It is genetic.
There are different degrees of the allergic reaction, so each person may metabolize the agent more quickly than others. Normally, it should only take a few minutes at the most, probably less. If you are allergic, or suspect you might be, get the simple blood test to find out. (Ask your doctor, or call the hospital/anesthesiologist dept to find out the name of the test.) If you have it, you should be wearing a medical bracelet. If you were to be in an accident, paramedics might need to put an oxygen tube down your windpipe, and they may use succinylcholine as a quick way to get that tube in. If something goes wrong, some paramedics who are unfamiliar with this might think something more serious, such as a brain injury is going on. It might cause more problems in an emergency situation.
Nowadays and fortunately, however, succynocholine is not always the paralyzing agent of choice in emergencies, or even surgeries I believe. But a medical bracelet should still be worn. From what I understand, this condition is being taught in the medical field and is more easily recognizable now by medics and medical personnel. Obviously, this was not the case during my surgery in 2000.
Good luck.