The operating room (O.R.) is an amazing place, in my opinion. It’s not usually an amazing place for the patient, but yesterday, for my patient who anxiously waited to enter the O.R., it was a dream come true for her and her husband.
The operating room is one of the most fascinating places I have ever traveled. It’s a cold environment. The room is very bright and that’s not even enough, because huge movable lights further enhance the brightness when the surgeon starts cutting, as he or she grabs it to move it into place over the patient. There are floor to ceiling glass cabinets along the back wall, full of every supply you can think of that may be needed during the surgery or in an emergency. There are computers and monitors for the anesthesiologist and the nurse. There are camera’s that allow the surgeon to see the inside of his or her patient, if a scope is placed. Then there are several rolling stainless steel tables, that prior to surgery are meticulously stocked by the surgical technician, only after the technician has gowned and gloved and uses sterile technique, making sure not to touch anything that isn’t sterile. It’s a science, an art, and it’s so fascinating and amazing to me. Lastly, there’s the “stage”, where the patient lays and places all of his or her trust in the team that surrounds him or her. It’s the stage for the surgeon as well, because this is where he or she works to restore, or give to the patient, all while maintaining perfect sterile technique.
The O.R. looks quite inhumane and the “stage” even more so, with the simply dressed operating table, the arm supports that go straight out to the side, the straps that secure the patients arms and legs to prevent movement, the big blue cloth that covers all of the patient except the area to be cut, the canisters set up next to the patient that collects suctioned blood, and the large intrusive lights that illuminate everything. But, despite it’s look of inhumanness, it’s the most humane place. A life is being prolonged, or a life is being restored to optimal level, or a life is being brought into the world.
Yesterday, my patient walked into the O.R. feeling very anxious, but also very excited. For her the O.R. was a good place. As the doctor began performing the surgery, she talked to her assistant about baseball, and the surgical technician stood beside her handing her tools, suctioning blood and waiting for orders. The doctor was obviously skilled in her craft because she talked casually to all of us and joked about the blood moon that appeared in the middle of the night, while she cut. No, at this point, she did not start howling at the moon, with a sinister look on her face and a snarly upper lip. Then about 15 minutes into the surgery, I saw a little head covered in brown hair inside my patients abdomen, but it was just for a second. About 5 minutes later, a baby was born. The baby was grey at first and covered in fluid, but then she pinked up and started crying, and that’s when I started crying. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. A team of nurses grabbed the baby to do an assessment and get her cleaned up. The daddy ran over to see his daughter and I noticed tears rush down his face. The surgeon, P.A. who was assisting, and the surgical technician continued working on the patient as they sowed her up. The nurse did a thorough count of all the supplies by asking the tech to count out the remainder of the supplies, in order to make sure that a gauze pad was not left inside the patient. From the time the O.R. is set up, which usually takes a good half hour, until the time that everything is taken apart and sent to be sterilized, which also takes a good half hour to 45 minutes, every person has a job, and every person has to be excellent and conscientious while doing that job. All of this has to be done while maintaing a sterile environment (free of any bacteria). This place called the O.R. makes me feel star struck with the performers who work inside of it. Just like my little Sara felt star struck when we went to see Taylor Swift in concert, and now has Taylor posters in her room, I was star struck with the team who so carefully and meticulously performed a c-section on my patient yesterday. They are amazing and I’m honored to have been able to see them perform.
Yesterday was amazing, because not only did I get to witness a c-section, but I got to care for a patient who was about to deliver her second child. When it came time to deliver I got to be apart of that too. From the time the doctor instructed the patient to start pushing until the time that the baby made his appearance, I got to witness all of it. I got to see momma hold her baby for the first time, and daddy cry as he welcomed his son into the world. It was another fantastic moment. Then I spent the afternoon caring for them, and helping the new mom breast feed.
I can’t imagine any other career that could be more satisfying and rewarding (to me) then being a nurse. This semester has been super tough, and the next 3 weeks are filled full with 5 exams and projects. I feel overwhelmed, but yesterday was a reminder to me (as I watched the nurses care for their patients and bring lives into this world) to focus on my long term goal. I can’t wait to be a nurse. I can’t wait to deliver a baby, to assist in the O.R., to attend to a scared patient as they’re being wheeled into the E.R., or to be there to support a family member. I’m in my element, and I love it.
I am ready for a break though. Summer is approaching and I am so excited for a little down time, and time with Doug and the girls. We’re planning our summer vacation and all kinds of fun activities throughout. I need a break, and I’m going to enjoy every second of it and maximize our time together.