I’ve just read a fascinating 2009 study on dreaming during anaesthesia that looks at how different drugs can alter our unconscious reveries during surgery.
One section was on ‘near-miss awareness’ where dreams incorporate the outside reality of the hospital because the patient is on the threshold of consciousness.
This is the wonderful list of these dreams from the study where the patients report strangley surgical fantasies.
“She dreamt that she wanted to argue but could not because there was something in her mouth stopping her talking.”
“A patient had an unpleasant dream in which he was accused of being under the influence of narcotic drugs.”
“A patient dreamed of a party in a public house in which there was a generous supply of gin and the anaesthetist was the landlord.”
“(A patient) dreamt about a fish in a tank and seaweed surrounding her. Splashing around and the colour blue.” (The theatre staff were talking about fishing).
“One patient dreamt about aliens and thought aliens had taken over the operation” (Theatre staff had had a conversation about aliens during surgery).
“I dreamt that I heard your (the researcher’s) voice which made me feel very relaxed but I don’t remember what you said.” This patient was played an audiotape of a story during anaesthesia.