Friday, May 13, 2016

Gowning and Gloving at the Airport

While waiting around the airport the other day, I had a strange sense of been there done that while watching the TSA screening process. Just like Yogi Berra said; " it was deja vu all over again." Visions of gowning and gloving surgeons began dancing through my ancient nervous system as I watched the no nonsense screeners at work. Some of them were even wearing gloves and of course screeners and scrub nurses both wear special costumes uniforms for their performance. The TSA and gowning in the OR  were different sides of the same coin. They both have the common objective of averting very bad entities: nasty infections and even nastier terrorists.


Both processes involve high drama before the acts even get off the ground. Just as some of the passengers were relaxed and some harried, each surgeon had a unique style of gowning and gloving. Dr. Slambow was like the harried businessman, he would practically run into his gown like a racehorse galloping for the finish line and then ram rod his hands into his gloves with so much gusto, it felt like he was dislocating my elbows. Sometimes passengers would try and make friendly conversation with the screeners but like Dr. Slambow,  the TSA was  all business. On late night, actually early morning emergency cases, I would greet Dr. Slambow, "Good morning Dr. It's my pleasure to be working with you again so early in the day." He would gruffly reply, "Cut the crap Fool, It's time to hit it!" The screeners possessed that same no nonsense demeanor as they went about their duties.

While the TSA has to be vigilant with terrorists like Omar Farooq (I think that was his name) who tried to conceal explosives in his underwear, old time operating room nurses were preoccupied with containing that dreaded threat to asepsis known as perineal fallout. During the gowning and gloving surgeons were carefully screened to make sure the cuffs of their scrub pants were contained by elastic cuffs or even rubber bands. You can never be too careful when dealing with threats like this. Indeed, underwear can contain some very dangerous threats to well being whether it be to airline passengers or surgical patients.

In old school operating rooms that used agents like Cyclo we had to be very diligent to check our
footwear for conductivity by standing an a testing gizmo. I see these TSA folks have the very same preoccupation with checking footwear. I never realized how much trouble people could get into just by wearing shoes.

After passing through the TSA screening gauntlet passengers are given the opportunity to replace shoes and belts and collect their belongings. There were similar rituals in the gowning and gloving procedure. The circulator always helped the surgeon tie the belt, actually more of a strap around his gown and then of course there was the post gloving ritual of rinsing the talc off a gloved hand. Just part of getting every thing in order before getting down to business.

I was so enthralled by the TSA screeners that I almost inadvertently addressed one as Dr. Slambow and was about to reassure him that I had a thoracic set-up on my back table before coming to my senses. I was probably lucky to avoid a complete body search after inappropriately rambling on about sharp surgical instruments. This aging business can be dangerous if one gets too careless with mindless banter. I should have learned from my scrub nurse experience that it's always best to keep the old pie hole shut.
Surgery at the airport? .Oh, Magoo  you've done it again!




Holey mackerel! These screeners even have fancy X-ray machines just like we had in the ortho rooms. I think I'll ask that nice young surgeon how he is going to remove that hair dryer from that little old lady, oops there I go again. It's time to zip it before I get in trouble again. Now I know how Mr. Magoo got into so much trouble in those Saturday morning cartoons.  I am thinking about another Magoo outing to a pharmaceutical executives convention where he gets the drug company CEOs confused with organized criminals.


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