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Versed Anaesthesia- The Side Effect They Don't Tell You About

Updated on June 3, 2010

Who Am I ???

Before I had my heart surgeries, I had a photographic memory...Now because of the Versed I have had to have so many times, and especially after being in surgery for 3-1/2 hours during my cardiac bypass surgery (Or CABG as they like to call it...)I am lucky if I can remember my own name half the time!

While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, it's actually not that far off from the reality! I have lost a good portion of my memories, and my short term memory has been severely affected. Was this ever mentioned to me as a side effect, before ALL of the times I was given this drug Pre-op??? Nope!! I sure wish it had have. Of course, if they did mention it, I MIGHT NOT REMEMBER IT! I am a bit upset about all of this, because this isn't just a little bit of memory gone, this is big chunks of time and events that are just erased from my mind like they never happened!

Now, if it was the bad stuff that was gone, that would be great-but it's not! My husband of 10 years will ask me about something he and I did in the past, and it's like it never happened. Then I feel terrible, because I have no recollection of the GOOD thing we did together. I am so thankful that I have such an understanding husband, or I could be in a bad situation over all of this. At least I think we are married...

Where Am I???

I can be having a conversation, and suddenly-I can't remember the next word I was going to say! I will stand there with my mouth hanging open, the word on the tip of my tongue, but it refuses to come out! I feel like an idiot at the best , or a senile old woman at the worst...It is definitely something that bothers me.

I have to make lists for everything now. Then I forget where my list is...It just goes on and on, all day long, and doesn't get any better. I have found that the more I "exercise" my brain, by writing, adding and multiplying numbers in my head, doing crossword puzzles, etc., the better it has gotten, but the days of the photographic memory are long gone, I'm afraid!

I suppose that at "49 and holding", at least until August, I should be thankful I can remember things as well as I can! I have had to have Versed for a total of probably 6 times in the last 4 years for various surgeries, Two heart stents, a CABG, and numerous angiograms...I'm lucky to have ANY memory by now! So, if I happen to forget who you are...just poke me and yell "It's (insert name) in my GOOD ear, okay!?

Please Tell Me About Your "Senior Moments", lol!

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      Cody 6 years ago

      I have a very bad scoliosis and kyposcoliosis curve and I had major back surgery in '08 with chances being 50% death, 20% perm. full body paralysis 20% perm. lower body paralysis and 10% chance of stopping the paralysis in my right leg. I made it into that 10% but they gave me a drug called Versed. The drug did part of its job, but I still remember facts from my 3 week stay in the hospital. When I left I started noticing I couldn't remember things I used to... things that happened years ago. Then I've gotten to my point now, I can't "really" remember anything that happened before my surgery. I can tell if its familiar or not but that's it. My surgery was 16 hours and I was 14 at the time, nearly 18 now and I've seen no improvement in my memories, it seems to me my ability to make long term memories is almost shot, and my short term memory is hindered.

    • profile image

      CarolineAU 6 years ago

      Laura, I have a nasty feeling that this happens because we have heart problems. If the blood flow to our brains becomes slow or stops, it can cause brain damage. I came out of my emergency angioplasty with impaired memory; when I have been re-admitted to hospital with bad angina, my blood oxygen levels are lower than they should be, and this can happen to anyone with an acute illness involving pain. I don't remember very much about the night of the angioplasty, except it became very important that I kept breathing, something I was finding very hard to do in the middle of a heart attack. I passed out and awoke several days later with an oxygen mask, so who knows what happened.

      Heart by-pass surgery is a long operation (8 to 10 hours in Australia from pre-med to recovery) and not only involves the versed, but oxygen masks, and the stopping and starting of the heart, so the likelihood of a certain amount of brain damage from oxygen deprivation would have to be high. I'm not a doctor so I have no idea what the actual statistics are but anecdotally people who have had heart attacks and/or the sort of surgery you have had tend to come out of it with a different outlook on life. We are not the people we were before, and we are impaired, which can take a long time to accept and even longer to become comfortable with, but I think that having had those experiences also makes us into far stronger people and raises our creative awareness.

      Its a long, lonely road to emotional and intellectual recovery, because we don't want to discuss it with those close to us, but there are a lot of us around online for when you feel the need for support and understanding. In the end I think we are better people for the experience and I'm sure your art has a greater depth and dimension to it than before. Its OK to feel bad about yourself and be down. Use your rage, pain and frustration to inspire you and take you on artistic journeys you would not have considered before. You are stronger than you know!

    • Laura Thykeson profile image

      Laura Thykeson 7 years ago from Central Texas


      Thanks for your input. I think mine came from the surgery taking so long, and I was on the Versed for longer than just a little while. My surgery was 3-1/2 hours.

    • profile image

      Ash 7 years ago

      I was put on versed for a while when I was in the ICU at a hospital. They usually gave me it when they had to do something like remove the staples from my chest or something.

      It's a shame, I wish I could remember what happened in the ICU, but I do understand why they use it. I didn't experience any side effects. Shame you did. They should work on minimizing this to the furthest they can instead of cutting corners which all drug companies seem to do now.

      Ash; 21 year old male.

    • Laura Thykeson profile image

      Laura Thykeson 7 years ago from Central Texas

      Don Bobbit:

      Thank you for sharing your story. I DO believe there is some real truth to what you have written. Thank you for another viewpoint on this type of effects meds can have! Good luck!

      Laura T.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 7 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Laura, I had a disease called Wegners in '93 and only had a 5% chance of survival. Well, Surprise, I survived! Sadly my Kidney was pretty much destroyed. I tell you this because, I spent two years being treated with a long list of very lethal drugs, all with the goal of keeping me alive, including; Chemo-therapy, extreme doses of Cytoxin and Steroids. I ended up in good health byt also with a Kidney transplant, which requires a lifetime of special drug requirements. I firmly believe that, had I not taken control and began researching the affects of the drugs prescribed, and actively argued with my Doctors over their side effects, and dosages, I would in all probability be dead today. One lesson I learned early was; Every Medical Specialist in the world cares, almost exclusively about their specialty, and could often care less if they wipe out another organ, if they save the one that is their responsibility. My advice, take what you have learned about your drug experiences, learn all of the affects of what you are on now, and start standing up for the rest of your life!

    • Laura Thykeson profile image

      Laura Thykeson 7 years ago from Central Texas

      never again,

      Thank you so much! I wish we could all get together for a class action lawsuit, lol!!!

      Laura T.

    • profile image

      Never Again 7 years ago

      Hi Laura, I am one of those people who has been harmed by Versed. I put your experience up on my blog. Thanks for sharing!

    • Laura Thykeson profile image

      Laura Thykeson 7 years ago from Central Texas

      Hello, hello,

      I went on the internet and searched for others who had side effects from Versed, and sure enough, there are HUNDREDS of others out there with the same problem! I couldn't believe my eyes...So many had the same type surgery as I, with the same medication, with the same side effect. Next time I have to have a surgery, I am going to see if they can use something else! Thanks for you well wishes and your comments. Always look forward to hearing from you!

      Laura T.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      I hate to say (write) that but is it really the anaethesia because I have that happened to from one week to the next and I hd to and still trying to rebuild my memory. It has gone a lote better since I am on hubpages and learn a lot and so many different interesting subject. Thank you for your interesting hub and I wish better with all my heart. They say you can rebuilt your brain and believe this because mine went better.


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