Just Another Day

It’s been one of those days where I take 2 steps forward, then 3 back. Lots of waiting around for a relatively small amount of doing stuff. Finally slouching towards the end of it, with no casualties.

My first case, scheduled for 8:15 a.m., cancelled before I’d even gotten out of bed. That text message arrived simultaneous with my alarm; a return to sleep was not going to happen. I made my own coffee and breakfast at home – an unusual occurrence on a workday – and plunged into I-25 commuter traffic. Not a cloud in the sky; I let a woman merge ahead of me and she even waved thanks at me! There’s a portent for the day! Not once did anyone flip me off during my 30-minute commute.

Three cases for sedation for chronic-pain procedures followed at one of our surgery centers. Then a hurried flight to the next hospital to be on time for a 1:45 pm case. That the surgeon cancelled, reason unstated, after I’d waited nearly an hour to start it. The patient had been waiting, alone, in a cold pre-op room, even longer than that. Grrrr. Not cool. One can’t take basic human courtesy for granted, even (especially?) among the highly educated.

Next, a GYN add-on had my name on it. Ruptured ovarian cyst in a young woman, presenting with severe abdominal pain. It took two hours for her to get from the gynecologist’s office to the hospital, and negotiate the admitting bureaucracy to arrive on our pre-op unit. We had her ready for the OR in something like 20 minutes. People respond to incentives; admitting’s was to get to the end of their shift without overwork, while mine was to finish this case and go home.

The plan was to examine the cyst through the laparoscope, and hopefully remove it while preserving the ovary containing it. She had a pelvis full of clotted blood – blood is highly irritating, and that explained her pain. She’s about my daughter’s age, so I took a paternal interest in her welfare. Her parents are en route from out of state, and I know how I’d feel in their shoes. We were able to do as planned for her, and I dropped her off in the recovery room in better shape than when I met her.

This day was like most of my days: a lot of waiting around, with a lot of ordinary, non-dramatic workaday stuff in between. Not super exciting; but when my day is exciting, it’s usually for the wrong reasons. I can deal with going home bored.

Michael Sebastian @mikeseb