"The Dentist Said, 'Oh, $#^&, He’s Awake'": People Are Revealing The Shocking Thing That Happened When They Woke Up During Surgery

Having surgery done is pretty stressful, but waking up mid-surgery, well, that's a whole other thing. Reddit user u/LawAbidingPotato asked: "People who woke up mid-surgery, what happened?" and thousands of people provided their stories. Here are some of them below.

1."I had IV sedation for wisdom teeth. I woke up partway through. The dentist said, 'Oh fuck, he’s awake.' I pointed at the IV bag, and everyone laughed. Someone said, 'He wants more.' They put me back under."

A dentist wearing glasses and a face mask examines a patient's open mouth with gloved hands in a dental office
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2."I kinda woke up during twilight sleep when I was having my wisdom teeth removed. The nurse was saying she needed to find a pink cat Halloween costume, and I kept trying to tell her to check Party City."


3."I was awake for both of my hand surgeries in 2023. One time, I was watching them quietly, and the surgeon and assistants were talking about getting lunch after, and they wanted tacos. I said, 'Have you ever tried (local taco place)?' and the assistant said, 'Holy shit, I forgot you were awake.' I guess they don’t operate on a lot of local anesthetic patients. We all got a good laugh."

Close-up of surgeons' gloved hands performing surgery on a patient's foot. Surgical instruments and a blue drape are visible
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4."Woke up mid-colonoscopy. I turned my head to look at the screen. I said is that my colon? The doctor said, 'Say night night.' I went back to sleep. I remembered it all."


5."I woke up while they were putting my femur back into my leg. I didn’t see much, but I remember feeling like I was being shaken. Surgery sometimes requires some violent movements, I guess."

X-ray image of a human pelvis showing a noticeable fracture or abnormality on the left femur near the hip joint
Angkhan / Getty Images

6."They were talking about buying vintage lunchboxes on eBay. I wasn't properly awake or in pain, but I could 'feel'/had awareness that their hands were inside me. The anesthesiologist noticed my eyes were open. Then, I woke up again properly when they were wheeling me into recovery."


7."Woke up during a cardiac ablation. They literally burn spots in your heart to prevent atrial flutter, and that's what it felt like someone burning the inside of my heart with a lit cigarette."

Surgeons in an operating room performing surgery under bright surgical lights, wearing scrubs, caps, and masks
Akarawut Lohacharoenvanich / Getty Images

8."A fire alarm had gone off, and they were evacuating. Luckily, it was only a colonoscopy, so they just ended the procedure, and I woke up to them wheeling me out. Unfortunately, I had no idea what was going on and thought I died because there were red flashing lights and bullhorn sirens. It was a stressful experience."


9."I woke up and said, 'That tickles.' The doctor laughed and said she was almost done."

An older man with a surprised expression lies in a hospital bed, wearing a medical gown and connected to a ventilator. A medical professional's gloved hands are on his forehead and near his arm
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10."I woke up during an endoscopy. I had the tube and everything down my throat, but I didn't know what was happening, and the only thing I could focus on was how I couldn't breathe. I clearly remember trying to talk to tell the doctors I couldn't breathe, because I could hear people around me, but apparently I didn't actually say anything. The doctors noticed because my heart rate started going crazy, and then I stopped breathing altogether. They took out the tube, I started breathing again and gave me more anesthesia. Once I was in recovery, I was told to always inform the anesthesiologist that I woke up during a procedure so they could adjust accordingly. I've had two other procedures since then and have not woken up during them."


11."I woke up during stomach surgery. I couldn’t move, speak, or open my eyes to let them know I was awake. I could feel everything they were doing inside of me, the most excruciating pain of my life. I'm not sure if I blacked out from the pain or if they noticed and increased my anesthesia, but the next thing I remember, I came to my hospital bed. I was told I came out of the anesthesia screaming after all was said and done. I'm petrified to ever have to have surgery again now."

Doctors perform surgery on a patient, focusing on the incision area with various surgical instruments in use
Gokhanilgaz / Getty Images

12."It has happened to me twice, once during an appendectomy and once during a complicated cataract removal under anesthesia. All I remember from the appendectomy was trying unsuccessfully to move. The cataract surgery was worse: I was very acutely aware of the tools in my eye and the sensation of something in my eye being pulled on, and I remember making a very strange, fearful moan until they re-anesthetized me. I remember the anesthesiologist patting my forehead as I drifted back out."


13.And finally, "I was having arm surgery to move around a nerve running through my elbow ( the funny bone/ulnar nerve). When they put me under, I dreamt I was playing with dogs in a park, and I had a toy in my hand. A yellow lab was tugging on the toy with me like a tug of war. I opened my eyes, and the surgeon had my arm extended off the table, yanking my nerve and ligaments into place. I didn’t feel panicked at all. I looked to the anesthesiologist on the other side, and she made a comment and then put me under again. It didn’t hurt, and I trusted the people around me, so it was just an odd experience. I was there to fix a dog bite injury. If I weren’t sedated, I’d obviously have freaked out."

A surgeon in blue gloves hands a medical instrument to another surgeon under bright operating room lights
Xixinxing / Getty Images/Xixinxing

Have you ever woken up mid-surgery? Tell us what happened in the comments below.