Monday, September 24, 2018

Fun With Operating Room Kick Buckets

My recent visit to Pennsylvania Dutch Country rebooted a long dormant memory of an unfortunate incident  with that wheeled dervish, an operating room kick bucket. The Amish eschew internal combustion engine powered transportation devices in favor of things like foot powered scooters. One foot remains firmly planted on the scooter platform while the opposite lower extremity propels the device with intermittent kicking motions. As we shall see, that mode of propulsion is not exclusive to Amish scooters.

Kick buckets in the OR are similar to Amish scooters in that they share the ability to move through space on wheels and are about the same size. My tale begins as another long case comes to a conclusion and I am involved in the usual post-op prattle with Janess, the exhausted scrub nurse. As she descended from the artfully OFRN designed scrub nurse  platform her foot landed smack dab in the middle of a carelessly positioned  kick bucket. The wide opening at the bucket top guided her foot into the much smaller base firmly entrapping and immobilizing her leg in the contraption. Luckily the bloody sponges had been removed from the kick bucket or the situation could have been rather messy.

The ensuing commotion soon aroused the attention of our hypervigilant supervisor, Alice, who added to the cacophony with one of her bitter diatribes. "Look what you've done now you clumsy little goofus. I've got a mind to teach you a lesson that you won't soon forget," shrieked Alice.

Janess was now a hostage of her sympathetic nervous system which activated the flight or fight instinct. Alice was a contentious character with a military background so the only viable option was flight without further ado. With one foot entrapped in the confining but mobile kick bucket, Janees used her free extremity to propel herself through the open door with all the skill of an Amish scooter driver. Alice was not up to speed with her arthritic knees so Janess was able to open up a substantial lead and soon disappeared into the locker room. The ensuing laughter soon took the wind from Alice's sails and we all lived happily ever after...sort of. Folks that work together in stressful environments like operating rooms often transforms themselves into one big dysfunctional family. It did not seem like much fun at the time but in a strange way, these were some of the best years of my life.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

I'm unplugging ( Tee Hee - as if Oldfoolrns  like me can be plugged in) and heading to PA Dutch country for a week or so. I just love being around the Amish and maybe I can think of some new posts worth reading.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Ring Stand Challenge Racing

An official makes last minute preparations to the race course.
Old school operating rooms were brimming with an assortment of unsavory, unpleasant and downright dangerous tasks; from unclogging floor drains occluded with who knows what to running test firings on  hissing and sputtering behemoths that passed as autoclaves. Who cleans up the room after a trauma case and who tends to the patient?  We used to draw straws with discarded suture for the equitable assignment of these nasty tasks. For the athletically inclined, the alternative to games of chance like the drawing of straws  was ring stand races with the winner awarded the undesirable  task of their choice.

Ring stands were a piece of operating room furniture designed to hold large basins of solutions used during the case. Before the advent of modern  disposable surgical gloves ring stands were used to rinse talc off reusable gloves. This ubiquitous piece of equipment was a favorite plaything for old school OR nurses. Contests of skill involving the tossing of various objects through the ring stand gradually evolved to attempts involving the passing of  an entire nurse's entire body up from the base of the stand and out of the elevated dastardly top disc that served as the finish line. The contest obviously favored the petite, lithe, thin contestant. Since I met none of these criteria, I was an almost certain loser and frequently found my self with a ring stand stuck on my ample waistline. My buffoonery quickly transitioned to outright embarrassment as the laughing of my colleagues crescendoed .

An official race began with 2 nurses facing the race course ring stand. On the "GO" command the nurses slid down to the floor like a limbo dancer and contorted their way up through the opening in the ring stand. The next stage of the contest was the hard part and involved slithering your body all the way through the ring stand with the victor emerging free of that confining circle. Older nurses always positioned the ring stand parallel to the OR table and leaned against it for assistance. Lithe youngsters could use their upper arm strength to rise above the confining circle. Victory was sweet with the winner having a justified sense of power knowing the choice of unsavory tasks was their choice.

For my next post, I'm thinking about another piece of OR furniture that could be more fun than a barrel of monkeys - the kick bucket.