Saturday, January 31, 2009

scalpel. masterson. SPOON.

I learned a few things in the OR recently.

Like how they call giant tweezers “pick ups”. Or how they call a giant hemostat a "Masterson."

Aside from the obvious, like “scalpel” and “forceps”, there are other funny words. Like “prom”, “graves”, “Kavorkian”, and “noves”. I’m not exactly sure what all of these mean—or who the heck named them. But I do know that in a dire situation where my help was needed finding a “Kavorkian”, I’d likely dial 4-1-1 & ask for the physicians number.

Being a surgeon is kind of a cushy job. You use fancy soap packaged in little plastic. You have special “under fingernail” cleaners that are waiting for you at any scrub station. And you waltz in the operating room like it’s the red carpet & start cutting on your patient within 30 seconds of your sterile dressing…forget the 45 minutes it took to prep the room and the extra 30 minutes it took to get the patient to a listless state of gas-induced dream land where they wouldn’t yank your eyeballs out when the scalpel sliced open their belly.

Too graphic? Sorry.

Anyways, as I was saying: being a surgeon is kind of like a luxury car ride wearing sterilized cotton blue outfits & a cardboard smelling mask on your face. So much for smelling the fresh air, huh?

So I digress...back to my story.

There are LOTS of instruments that are meticulously placed around the operating room when we (“we” as in the physician & myself) enter the O.R. They are all lined up on metal tables with blue towels as tablecloths. sort of like this:

Sharp instruments. Clamping instruments. Cutting instruments. Foreign-looking instruments. Instruments that look like they’d eat your head if there were alive…

So you can only imagine my surprise when I walked into the O.R. last week and saw, among the shiny sterilized instrument on one special blue tablecloth, a SPOON. That’s right. A real spoon—as if the nurse plopped it down on the table after she finished that scoop of post-lunch peanut butter. A real spoon—exactly like the one I’d just slurped my soup from in the hospital cafeteria.

And you can REALLY imagine my surprise when the physician stuck the spoon in the patient’s vaginal cavity during a D&C and scooped a sample of tissue into a specimen jar.

Needless to say, I’m using plastic spoons in the hospital from now on.

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