3 March 2013

Feeding Time in the OR

The problem with a long waiting time for surgery is that it gives me too much time to think. Rather than relaxing in downward dog, I think about scar tissue. Instead of counting sheep, I think about blood vessels. All this worry, and I don’t even have a surgery date.

Last week I was booked for a CT scan. No big deal. All I had to do was lie down on a table, and glide in and out of a giant donut.  But I forgot about the flimsy hospital gown, and how vulnerable they make me feel. And I forgot about the injection, and the search for the perfect vein, and the smell of whatever goes into the syringe.  Too much stuff to think about, for a gal who tries not to think about what happens in the OR.

So I was happy to get out of there, and after hurling my gown into the hamper, I ran down to the lobby for a peppermint tea. There, at Tim Horton’s, I stood in line. All around me there were doctors. In front of me were to surgeon-ish looking men ordering coffee and talking about sports. ‘Did you see the size of his head?’ said one to the other. So I started thinking– these guys must also chat to each other during procedures – but what is it they talk about?

Three Espressos Before Surgery
While I’m under anaesthetic, unable to defend myself, do the Doctor’s talk about me? My only point of reference is MASH, where there was some witty banter (with sexual undertones) over the wounded. But I’m going to be out for many hours, so those people have a lot of time to fill. Will they say that I too have a big head?  Or, will they comment on the colour of my toenails?

And what if the medical staff is hungry? It’s a long surgery and they’re going to have to be fed.  I’d hate to think of my surgeon with a rumbly tummy, thinking about two eggs sunny side up. Or, God forbid, an anaesthesiologist with a nervous tick, who drinks too much coffee.

For me it’s a monumental day. One that I am dreading, and one that always plays out in my head. For doctors, it’s another day at the office. And that day will include chatting, eating, telling jokes, stretching, calling home, and going for a pee. And at the centre of it will be me; the quiet participant.

And then there’s the game that I seem to remember playing during my University drinking days. You take the hand of your comatose friend,  and make him slap himself. Could it be remotely possible that some of the interns will take advantage of my supple nature and start amusing themselves by rearranging my arms so it looks like I’m holding some forceps?

The possibilities are endless. 
So is my imagination.
This is a long wait.