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.

1 comment:

  1. My dog's vet comes from Pennsylvania OFRN and she told me when she says she comes from PA people here just look blank. So then she says "where the Amish live" and everyone immediately says "oh, you come from THERE, wow". Enjoy your holiday! Sue