“There is a lump on my adam’s apple.  That’s all I know.  I’m really not even sure what he’s going to do once he’s in there.  We really didn’t talk about it.”

I don’t know about you people, but if someone was about to cut open my throat, I would want to know EXACTLY what was going to be done in there!  For instance, are you cutting a piece of the lump or the whole lump?  How are you going to cut…horizontally or vertically?  Will I have a scar?  How many crumbs from your Snicker’s bar can I expect to fall into my neck before you sew me up?

When I arrived, I was given scrubs to put on and introduced to a nurse who would let me follow her around and then push me off onto the next nurse who would show me around, etc.  She showed me where the bathroom was and where to put my purse, which was very important to me, because I was going to need to change my tampon in exactly two hours. 

Now if you are a woman reading this, you know that you must keep your eye on the clock and stick to your tampon-changing-schedule like moths stick to flypaper if you want your day to run smoothly.  The fact that I was being forced to veer from my routine on the heaviest day of my cycle was a big pain in my ass.  However, I shoved a tampom in the pocket of my scrubs, set my purse on the counter where I was instructed, and followed the nurse to the patient’s room.

I spent the next twenty minutes observing the pre-operative process and then panicked briefly when she said to the patient, “they will be coming to take you down to the OR in a few minutes”.  All I could think was, “Oh crap.  Need to change tampon since I have no idea how long I will be in OR.”  So I briskly walked to the restroom, pulled down my pants, sat on the toliet, spread my legs so that I could take the current tampon out while furiously trying to open the outer wrapping of the new one and then proceeded to DROP IT IN THE TOILET!  If there had been anyone standing on the other side of the bathroom door they would have heard me yell in a high-pitched, frantic voice, “OH NO!”.  So…I shoved some toilet paper in my underwear, ran to my purse, grabbed another tampon, but in the process the nurse saw me and said, “they’re here to take him now”…”oh!  ok, I’ll be right there” and then I ran back to the bathroom, popped that new sucker in, washed my hands, and when I opened the door to leave the bathroom, the stretcher was right there.  “Oh.  Hi.  I had to pee you know.”  I’m sure the patient really cared about my bathroom habits before he was about to be sliced open.  But he just laughed.

 The patient was witty and full of personality and acted as if he didn’t care much about the procedure…but once the anesthesiology resident was about to put him to sleep…he started to get nervous.  The nurse held his hand and he faded out.

Oh, so you want me to tell you more about the surgery and less about my menstrual cycle?  I will tell you that cauterized flesh smells a little bit like roasting a lamb on a spit, which may or may not mean that if we were stranded on a desert island I may or may not stick your arm in the bonfire.  This does not make me a cannibal, it simply makes me open to trying new things.  Let’s just make that clear right now. 

Overall, I thought the atmosphere was interesting, especially when I stuck my head right up by the surgeon’s hands so I could see what they were doing.  But I was more interested in what they were doing than I was with what the nurses were doing.  So I took that to mean that I am probably not the best candidate for a circulating nurse position.  Scrub nurse?  Maybe.  But paperwork, retrieving things that people need and answering phones is pretty much what I do right now…and I’m looking for something very much different from what I am doing right now.  (Well, maybe not so different, I am eating graham crackers and peanut butter, and there is something to be said for that.)

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