After having gone through one round of root canal treatment a coupla’ weeks ago – with another coming along three days from now – with IV sedation, I feel it’s beneficial to share how it went, and to let you guys know that there is such an option available.
Not many folks are aware that they can opt for IV sedation on top of local anaesthasia for minor surgical procedures, or for dental procedures. At least, not in Singapore. Based on some of the overseas forums I’ve read, IV sedation is more commonly practiced in the U.S. or U.K. Whereas, it is comparatively rarer here.
IV sedation involves the administration of a mixture anti-anxiety drugs and a sedative directly into the bloodstream via an IV line usually inserted at the back of the hand. The drugs put the patient into a state of light sleep, thus rendering him/her unaware of the procedure being carried out, but will not bring about a complete loss of unconsciousness. (Note: Not to be confused with General Anaesthasia.)
IV sedation helps a lot when dealing with procedural anxiety. I get generally apprehensive when it comes to medical procedures. That’s common, so does everyone else. However, nothing scares the shit out of me more than getting a dental procedure done.
I didn’t opt for IV sedation to cope with the fear though. I felt it was a better option for me because of my background heart condition. Heart condition plus procedural anxiety do not get along. The last thing I wanted was to end up in atrial tachycardia or explode into one of my epic heart flutter attacks in the midst of getting such a procedure done – which is why I chose to be sedated.
I spent about a week researching intensively on IV sedation and its pros and cons, and eventually decided that it was the best choice for me. My decision was met with a fair amount of resistance though, which held me back a little – but I stood firm with my decision and went ahead with it eventually.
I wasn’t at all surprised by the resistance expressed though. IV sedation is not as commonly practiced here, hence the reduced exposure to such cases (leading to the “huh?! Is it even necessary?!” mentality), and the general lack of awareness about it. One of my doctors even mixed up IV sedation with General Anaesthasia (the latter of which is much, much riskier).
General Anaesthasia induces deep unconsciousness and requires intensive monitoring of the patient’s vital signs. GA also takes much longer to recover from, with a higher risk of complications as it greatly suppresses the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Patients under GA are always intensively monitored with the whole horde of menacing beeping machines you see in the Critical Care Units.
That is not to say that IV sedation is completely risk-free, though. There are very, very rare incidences of patients requiring artificial resuscitation as they were too deeply sedated. But every medical procedure has its fair share of risks. Even the root-canal procedure I went through had a risk level of complications far higher than the actual sedation itself (because mine unfortunately, also involved a deep infection of the bone).
IV sedation on the other hand, acts on the central nervous system which in turn, suppresses the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, but only slightly. The patient is unaware of what is going on due to the amnesia-inducing properties of the drug, but will not be completely unconscious which makes it much easier for the anaesthetist to manage.
I recovered really quickly post-sedation – “coming to” within 15 minutes after drug administration was stopped, and could even walk (albeit a little wobbly) almost immediately. I was monitored throughout the time I was “out” – but only with an pulse oxymeter and a blood pressure cuff … because that is only about what was needed.
It really helped me in the sense that it slowed down my usually rapid heart rate. And because I was “out”, there wasn’t any anxiety experienced that could potentially bring on a full fledged attack. The only minus about it was the involvement of an IV butterfly needle (which didn’t bode well with my general fear of needles). But better that, than to remain in a state of extreme stress for two hours with a potential atrial tachycardia attack lying in the background.
There are some inconveniences that accompany IV sedation though, such as the need to remain rested for the remaining day, and slight nausea. However, if you have background medical conditions that can potentially complicate a procedure, or severe procedural anxiety, IV sedation benefits more than anything else.
Of course, there are the sceptics that claim that “IV sedation is for pussies”, “You aren’t man enough if you need IV sedation”, or “IV sedation is only an easy way from anxiety.”
Forget all that, because all those are simply noise interfering with the patient’s personal decision based on his/her own background.
Ultimately, I believe it is about what’s best for you, and your comfort level.
If you’re curious and want to read up more, here are some links to help you.
And yeah, the whole purpose of this post is to let you guys know that when it comes to stuff like these, you have options to choose from. Don’t let fear stop you from undergoing any procedure you have to go for because recovery (or the prevention of further complications and infection) matters more than anything else.
And also to the folks with underlying medical conditions (like me) that could cause complications in conjunction with anxiety – look, choices!
Meanwhile, wish me the best of luck for this coming Thursday – it’s Round 2 of my Root Canal procedure (yes folks, with IV sedation) and I am going to have to contend with a swollen left cheek, various aches and pains, and potential light fever for two days after that. Whoopie.
A best girlfriend has summarized what I generally feel about humankind oh so beautifully in her blog.
life is unfair, and that is personally a huge problem area, as i, for the life of me, cannot stand injustice – and day after day, i see things, hear things and read things which enrage me. things showcasing the hard fact that people are cruel, selfish, inconsiderate and evil, that they love stereotyping, gossiping, slandering, elevating themselves and putting others down; that people continuously repay good with evil and i remember asking c. in tears and consternation, “how can people be like that? why are people like that?” and i repeatedly asked where human decency was. (source)
I too, find myself asking the same question time and time again.
Even though I’ve long accepted the fact several years ago that the human race is doomed, I still find myself getting shell-shocked (which later leads to extreme fury) at the many injustices that human beings do to one another.
The prevalence of the internet only makes it all worse. The cloak of anonymity further releases one’s inhibitions, leading human beings to do further wrongs to one another without fear of reparation – although that is a separate issue altogether.
It was only today I discovered that – while I always thought I was a realist – there are several aspects in which I am more of an idealist than a realist. Human behaviour is one of these aspects.
Then again, who am I to judge? I have been dealt with much shit from some people around (which too, made me yell “why the fuck are people like that?”). But likewise, I have also been dishing out my fair amount of shit to other people. So all’s fair and square I guess. For now.
I still cling on to the hope that somehow, someday things may change.
That people will act with more consideration for other people, to pay more attention to others’ feelings, to learn to see things from other peoples’ point of view, to think more logically than emotionally, and for people to be more aware of what they are doing (perceptual salience of oneself leads to one’s conscious attempt to portray oneself more favourably).
But yeah, too lofty hopes up there.
Meanwhile, I’ll just live my own life and not let any of the shit get me down, or get in my way. When it comes to creating my own happiness, I will have to take charge – because the world is too screwed up to derive happiness from any other source. Not to mention how I have awesome friends for support. (And them, likewise!)
One thing I really do not regret is taking up two psychology-related elective modules despite doing a technology-related degree – ‘Introduction to Psychology’ in Spring 2008 and ‘Social Psychology’ in Fall 2008.
Psychology is a really awesome discipline. It looks deep into the human psyche, and the takeaways from the modules I took were largely relevant in real life. It enabled me to better understand the behavour and thought processes of the people around, and got me in touch with the inner-workings of my mind.
I still have the textbooks from both courses. Despite it being almost two years ago, I can still vividly recall how I could practically devour several chapters of the textbook in one sitting, even going to the point of reading the entire textbook despite several chapters being ‘not in the syllabus’.
Needless to say, I aced both courses. Fun stuff, really. (;
It was also through Psychology where I realized that there are many flaws in the way human beings reason. It remains a fact that the world is a judgmental place, and the bulk of it is the result of these flaws in reasoning.
Human beings do make use of a lot of ‘shortcuts’ methodologies when perceiving things around them. These shortcuts ARE useful – they do save us a lot of brain energy, and we come to conclusions much faster when using these shortcuts.
However, these shortcuts are often derived from the general ‘norms’ or typical observations of people – which often do not apply to all. Most of us make use of shortcuts so regularly to an extent we fail to realize that human beings are a broad, complex species with a myriad of values, mindsets and behavioral patterns that cannot be fitted into moulds.
Lemme’ share some of the most common reasoning errors!