Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Secrets from the Inner Sanctum - A Scrub Nurse's Internal Dialog

For some posts, I peruse my basement collection of old nursing documents which more honestly should be called a hodge-podge of dumb notes and  old papers that I saved. My wife says they are a fire hazard and should be thrown out. I suspect she is probably right as usual. This post is going to be different as I'm just going to relate some of the thoughts that passed through my youthful nervous system when in the OR and  scrubbed for surgery. It's amazing how clearly I can recollect events from 40 years ago but what I had for breakfast remains a mystery. Life sure can be strange.

Set up time...waiting for the surgeon inner dialog

Don't let me repeat any of my past sins and screw-ups. Are the patient's legs uncrossed?? Alice,, my beloved supervisor screamed at me for days after one of the patients went to sleep with his legs crossed. What are the 7 deadly  operating room nurse sins?  Hmm.. sloth, gluttony, lust, pride, wrath, greed, and letting a patient undergo surgery with legs crossed. Never again.

Oh phooey.. I should have taped the bridge of my glasses to my forehead so they don't slide down when I sweat. This one's going to be a  long, hot one. At least I have my pant cuff restricting rubber bands in place to curtail that dreaded perineal fallout.

I only have 1 (one) Metzenbaum scissors so why the  "s"  on the end of scissors. Maybe it should be Metzenbaum's scissor...Hmmm

I hate that new fangled Betadine prep..Yucky brown.  Zepharin and Phisihex is much prettier.

I hate it when drapes are physically attached to a patient's skin with penetrating towel clips. Unnecessary trauma is never a good thing. Towel clips penetrating skin is the Catherine's Wheel of surgery for me.

It's so cold in here that poor patient's blood will never clot. I hope those lights heat this room up in a hurry.

During the case...

I hate it when Dr. Slambow gives stock market tips in the middle of surgery...I 'm lucky if I have change to buy a tuna salad sandwich from the vending machine...let alone for investments.

I hate it when Bovie smoke gets in my eyes..I wonder if breathing it has adverse health consequences?

Why does Dr. Slambow ask for stuff he never uses. Oh well that ligature reel will make a nice toy for my favorite cat, Fritz.

It's getting hot in here. That sweat bubbling up on my forehead is getting absorbed by that 4X4 under my cap parlor trick, but I guess I will have to recycle that  nose sweat/snot combo sliding down my upper lip. That salty taste always reminds me of  a Pittsburgh steel worker chewing on salt tablets with a blast furnace roaring in the background.

Hmm..Dr. Slambow operating on an old man that looks just like him. Part of the circle of life

After the case...

Yes sir no thing left behind. Even number of hemostats and needle holders. Sponge count was correct so I guess I'll be back tomorrow. (Retained object or sponge=immediate firing of OR  nurses.)

Whoa, it's unbelievable that we started this case over 6 hours ago. when you are engaged in what you love time flies, but when unpropitious events hit the fan  it hits the afterburners.

No matter how messy the surgery, nothing looks more reassuring than a meticulously laid down skin suture line....each stich equidistant and cut with an exacting centimeter tail. Kinda reminds me of those "SANITIZED FOR YOUR PROTECTION"  paper bands on hotel toilets. Sure looks pretty from the outside but who knows what's brewing down below? I certainly hope we were more careful than the hotel maids who probably just slapped that reassuring band  over the toilet seat whether it was clean or not.

I know that in today's world you had a choice of foolishness to indulge yourself. Many thanks for choosing over things like today's political buffoonery.


  1. Will choose your foolishness everyday, my friend. I don’t have any erudite comments to impress. Except... when my son had to undergo orthopedic surgery for ankle fx a few years ( or maybe a decade back), I remember chlorhexidine prep rivaled betadine for tenacity. All the joy of covering extremity with a trash bag and being on standby when adolescent offspring showered. Seriously, if you thought betadine scrub was tenacious... chlorhexidine prep was forever.

  2. Kathy, I'm impressed that you are reading so much of my foolishness and the comments are a bonus. I've been hit with a ton of spam for HIV and genital herpes cure alls so I had to enable comment moderation. I never thought this blog would attract much attention. It amazes me how many folks like to peruse my foolishess. Very humbling.