Recon Sat very scared now re: low bp/pulse

Hi there

Well it is now 4.35am and I have had about 2 hours sleep feel shattered but just can’t sleep. I am due for LD flap recon on Saturday 1st Dec and have 2 recurring nightmares the first being that I will not wake from the long anaesthetic. When I am more awake I can rationalise but right now I am scared witless. I have allergies and low blood pressure and what they tell me is a very fit and healthy resting pulse of 48 but I know that post op for my last 4 operations each of which under an hour op - my bp and pulse were limboing low at around 44 back up on the ward after about 90 minutes in recovery after SN op which really worries me, the alarms kept going off on the bp machine and nurses asking me if I am ok as I go ashen white and also need 3 to 4 blankets and even then still feel cold.

Any tips to stop these horrible thoughts which turn to nightmares, I literally waken up soaked in sweat and pulse racing and feel like my whole body is shaking but it is not and also very weepy.

The other one is that I am tied to the bed in a straight jacket whilst they give me the anaesthetic, I know that this one comes from being scared of the above. Gee just wish I could sleep. Anyone else have these sort of bad dreams and thoughts or am I just a wimp. Anyone else have trouble with low bp and slow pulse?


Hi Carole

I’m sorry to read that you’re feeling anxious about your surgery. Maybe it would help to talk to someone in confidence about how you are feeling. The team on the helpline are happy to talk to you and just be a listening ear if you feel you want to share your fears.

The helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and Saturdays 9am to 2pm. The number is free phone 0808 800 6000.

I hope this helps

Kind regards

Breast Cancer Care


Yes, I have a naturally low bp, not so sure about pulse. I’ve had three lots of surgery and end up spending a lot of time in recovery, sometimes longer than the op! Apparently I get very agitated and won’t settle but I can’t say I’ve had nightmares and for my recon I was actually looking forward to it but still ended in recovery overstaying my welcome while they waited for my bp to rise.

Not sure what to recommend for the nightmares - you don’t eat cheese at bedtime do you?

I would contact my GP and get them to prescribe something to help you sleep for a couple of nights; Temazepam did the trick for me. You need sleep/rest and hospital isn’t the place to get either I find.

Best of luck

Hi there Carole

Firstly, when you get home after all this I expect you to post that everything was just fine! I too used to have low blood pressure (now treated for high BP even though it’s only a little above normal), but I am sure that your notes reflect this - also your pulse. The anaesthetist will monitor you very carefully during surgery. They will keep asking you if you’re alright as it’s unusual for them, just remember to let them know if you do feel unwell - and ask for blankets!
I think most people get worries about surgery, and that includes spilling over into nightmares! Not much I can say about that apart from call the helpline as Sam suggests, often, once we hear ourselves voice our fears, they somehow shrink to much less than they were. A bit like, when you were a child and that huge shadow was a monster - once the light went on and you realised it was ‘just’ your dressing gown hanging up - the monster went away.
sending you a hug and a teddy to keep you going

( ) ‘’’ ( )
( ’ o’ )
(,) );(,)

Ruth x

Hi Carole
The same thing happens to me. I also shake/shiver violently after anaesthetic. Don’t worry it’s quite common and they know what to do.(I’m also a nurse)
It will help to tell the anaesthetist your fears and how you react to anaesthetic. You don’t just have one anaesthetic drug there are a few.
I used to tell patients who were worried that the last anaesthetic that they had made them vomit to tell the anaesthetist and he will use a different one or give anti emetic at the same time.
I remember when I had my second child by caesarian. I had a spinal anaesthetic(bit like an epidural) and even though it was not a full anaesthetic I was laying there with alarms going off all over the place.
They kept saying do you feel all right and my husband was worried but I felt fine.

Please don’t worry these doctors have anaesthetised thousands of people and are prepared for all sorts of reactions. I’ve seen mild mannered people come round from their op in a right strop and the foulest mouth that they have no recollection of afterwards.

I’ve seen crying, hysterical laughter the list can go on and on.

You will be fine, you will see the anaesthetist before your op. Make sure you tell him your fears. They also have body warmers (bit like an electric blanket) space blankets (Large foil blankets that they give you after a marathon) to warm you up.

I’ve also just rung my best friend who is a theatre nurse specialising in recovery care and she says what you describe is actually a very common reaction and says the same as me to let the anaesthetist know.

Hope that helps, good luck with your reconstruction


Hi Carole, Im a nurse having recon on friday, I know the dreams are a reflection of your inner anxiety, but please be reassured that the alarms on the monitors are often set at a slightly higher setting than anything to worry about, your bp and pulse will naturally be lower during and immediatley post op , this is normal due to the anaesthetic drugs and any painkillers youve had during the end of your op, to help you as you recover and wake comfortably, experienced surgical nursing staff will be monitoring you closely and often throughout your recovery, and will act accordingly be reassured, calling a helpline person is a good idea as Ruth said a worry shared is a worry halved … I have been taking sleeping tablets this week to help me get some rest too, my mind races at night,
I wish you well with your op, and your time in hospital, and look forward to hearing how you are when you get home late next week, Im hoping to be home by thursdayish.
thinking of you, take care, try and go for a nice walk this week somewhere green and natural, its calming to be in nature,thats if its not too cold!
love Julie xxxx

Thanks to all of you xx

Still scared but feel a bit more reassured from all of your advice. I am taking a sleep tablet tonight and also having a glass of wine right now so hopefully some sleep will help me to cope better tomorrow and on Saturday morning.

Right now I do feel that I want to be a little girl again and have my Daddy make me better, I don’t like it what a wimp I am tonight. I just hope that tomorrow I will regain some of my fighting spirit and just get on with it.

oke doke, moan over now, I do actually have a pretty sharp sense of humour but right now it has b******d off somewhere, it had best come back soon I really need it now as I usually cope with things by joking about them.


sweet dreams, Carole, a good night’s sleep and you’ll feel much better.


Ruth x

Thanks Ruth

Sleep well babes.