MEDICAL CHRONICLES|16| Week 3: Finally! Four Consecutive Surgeries.
Week 3 was here. Officially, this was the week where the “Have you scrubbed in yet?” question was to raise my anxiety levels.
Did I say I got asked to scrub in one time? I did. That was in week 2. I was in the OR where I GOT BOOTED OUT. I had lost hopes of doing anything. The operating surgeon had scrubbed in and taken a seat to begin the procedure. She asked me to scrub in if I wanted to.I said sure, of course.
From all our catch ups, I remembered hints Lade gave on scrubbing in cos apparently, she had been having the experience while I made a decision to just go gradually.
I stood before the line-up of scrub liquids: betadine, soap, alcohol, etc. I pressed the betadine and immediately knew I had made a mistake. Either way, I might not have been wrong but from my subsequent observations, it was the lead surgeons in an operation that used betadine scrub in addition to the others. I tried to scrub thoroughly.
Let me say this: Half way through week 2, I eventually clipped my fingernails as a sign that I was ready to put my hands in those gloves and get to work. Despite doing that, I somehow sensed that this was not the moment. It felt like something was going to go wrong. Having this perception didn’t stop me from feeling disappointed when I walked back into the main OR and some other doctor said I shouldn’t bother assisting them. ?????
The first Monday in week 3 wasn’t so. Nafissa and I were a lot closer and even though we were in different wards, we always met up somehow and caught up with how our day was going, plans, etc. Mitte and I spoke more often too!
I was assigned to the Ambulance for this week.
During the morning meetings, I looked out for the ORs were students could assist in. This time, after the meeting, I did not hang to decide where I was going to next. It was apparent what I wanted: I was going to the OR immediately.
I felt it. This was it. I had to “check” to be sure I was ready. I wasn’t sure I was but I hurried down the stairs and changed. On getting to the OR, I asked the head scrub nurse if I could assist. “Are you the one sent to assist?” Yes, I replied. Yes, because there was a green ward student to assist in that OR and there was no student assigned to the green ward for week 3.
I waited. Would this be it? The doctor came in. He scrubbed in and waited. He asked if I had assisted a doctor before and I said no. I silently hoped he wasn’t going to have mixed feelings about that.
“Do you know how to scrub in?” the female scrub nurse asked. Yes. 5 points, I replied. “Start with soap.”
The red-haired male OR assistant told me to fold up my sleeves . I did and went to the washroom.
I will share how we scrubbed in and lessons from scrubbing on Wednesday.
When I returned, the male assistant asked if I used alcohol. I did. The moment I replied, I asked myself, Did I? What I did in the washroom blurred a little bit. Did I? My hands still looked a little soapy. I wasn’t sure.
Why wasn’t my hand smelling strongly of the disinfectant then? I told myself to calm down. With hands held up above my waist, I waited to get dressed. The scrub nurse was very kind. She dressed me up and made sure I felt ok. She didn’t have to make sure I was calm but she did. Even when I missed my gloves and my hands looked like something from Monsters’ Inc., she let us laugh it off and adjusted it.
I learnt quite an amount that day. I was the doctor’s assistant and it was great; especially because he was encouraging. From time to time, he told me I was doing good. Somehow, it boosted my confidence. I was given a sterile seat but pfft, I’ve gone 5hours on my feet because I love surgery and I wasn’t going to sit in my first minutes as an assistant. The doctor explained what he was doing every step of the way. He guided my hands according to how he wanted me and by extension, the instruments, to function. The nurse directed me too and when my hand eventually slipped?! I wasn’t nervous actually. I said sorry a couple of times and he said it was ok.
At some point, he passed a remark. He assured me it had nothing to do with my service. “It was my fault”, he said. “You?” “You are super”.
Trust me, it does feel good and it goes a long way when you’re commended for little.
1 procedure of metal rods removal from the arm
Week 3 was here. It was 1pm on Monday and I had assisted in 4 consecutive surgeries.
I felt so happy that my decision to take the time to live in and enjoy the moments before this day, were totally worth it.
Listening to my sound paid off indeed.
I asked his name after the surgery and with an outstretched arm, he said, “Paul” “My name’s Paul”.
12days later, I was finally able to ask for a photo.
Common! This is some history for me ??.
Dr. Paolo Gasparella
See you tomorrow as I share another day.