The Chaos of Medicine: OR

Thursday, December 29, 2011


August 9th, 2010
I hit the snooze button of my alarm clock. It is 6:15.
Normally I would (want to) fall asleep again immediately, but not today.
In an hour I leave for the hospital, where I will have the opportunity to attend actual surgeries and get to know the OR (great early birthday present!). Not just any OR: I will get to spend the day at the orthopedic OR. The drill-and-hammer one. The one that shows just how indestructible the human body is. Ironically, you only end up on the table when you prove otherwise. During the drive to the hospital, I wonder what to expect. How can you possibly imagine how seeing a surgeon cut open someone's body will feel like?

I enter the hospital and follow the signs 'OR Orthopedics'. On my way there I see much of the hospital. Only later I find out I could have used the entrance right next to the OR. Finally I arrive at the OR. I ask for the person who will be guiding me today. Fifteen minutes later (remember this is a hospital. They have a reputation of being late to keep up) she arrives and takes me to the locker room. I am told to change into blue-greenish scrubs. I also need to wear shoe covers, hair covering and a mask.

Now I am clean enough to enter the normally restricted area. The first surgery is about to start, just 30 minutes left. I see the patient with the anesthesiologist. It feels strange to see her talking, when I know holes will be drilled in her knee later that day. Meanwhile, the surgeon prepares by thoroughly (thouroughly) washing his hands and putting on sterile gloves. Everything is set up. Ready for surgery.

So, what does it feel like to see a surgeon cut open someone's body? Cool. It is very surreal, which is kind of it's charm. I can go on about the technical details I don't know much about, but there was just one important thing I learned that day: surgery is exactly as cool as it seems on TV. Well, actually two things: try your best in school, because in some profession it is vital to know what you're doing.

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