Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Eau d' OR
I'm reminded of something I should have mentioned in the "Body Talk" post, which also, some would say, loosely connects to the "Happy Talk" one. It concerns the, uh, humanity of surgeons and of those who work alongside them.
If it's true that at some times one needs to excuse oneself to attend to certain personal needs, it's also the case that there can be, y'know, etherial -- as it were -- evidence of that same humanness; following which -- sorry! -- odors may linger. Other than embarrassment, some tricky questions may waft into consciousness as well, particularly when operating in the belly. Could the odor indicate an overlooked hole in the bowel? How to bring it up, when the answer isn't clear but you know yourself not to be a possible, er, source. Might a fellow worker not acknowledge it and allow a worried search to continue? Or might he/she admit, "Uh, I'm pretty sure I can say it's not a hole in the bowel..." My experience: either/or. And, might I add, it's not always the case that when I'm in the OR I'm the surgeon-in-charge. I can say no more...
And, to compound the disquiet expressed by those whose questions led to the previous post: there's another suite explanation for the preceding mubble, witnessed occasionally on the occasional occasion by all of us who work therein. Without wishing further to disturb the sensibilities of my readers nor to increase their fantaworries, let me just say that the muscle relaxers given during surgery don't only relax the muscles of the abdominal wall. Nor, need it be said, do the muscles in question act only as air-valves...
Now, to lighten the load [poor choice of words?] of those who may worry about their next trip into the OR: I'm also reminded, in a somewhat non-linear way, of an old joke about the induction of anesthesia and saying stuff, about which I was writing yesterday:
Anesthesiologists like to get their patients to fill their lungs with oxygen before going off to sleep. So here's one talking to a patient, a young girl:
"Nice big breaths...."
"Yeth, and I'm only thixteen...."