Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Day in the Theatre

Two years ago, or in fact one year ago, whenever people say "theatre", the first thing that comes to my mind will be the theatre where plays are performed.
Where people pay (sometimes hugely) to watch actors and actresses onstage, projecting their voices out as loud and as clear as they can so that the whole floor will be able to hear them.

Now, whenever people mention theatre, I will think of operating theatre, where people get operated on.

I've been in the theatre quite a few times, and as usual got excited by the prospect of watching real life anatomy. Since IMU is a very clean university, we didn't get to dissect any cadaver for our Anatomy classes, unlike our friends who were trained in India.

But today, for the first time in my life I actually get to assist a surgery!
It might sound little to some but, for me it's a huge step. Not into the surgical world though, I am not interested in becoming a surgeon.
A huge step in becoming a junior doctor.

The first surgery was laparoscopic cholecystectomy. That is removing the gall bladder, but not by cutting open the abdomen but only by piercing a few holes on the abdominal wall; a key-hole surgery it is called.
4 main holes were bore on the abdominal wall, two are for the surgeon to put in their instruments to maneuver the structures in the abdomen, one to clamp and fix the gall bladder while the last, biggest hole is to put the camera in.
My task, even though was one of the simplest, was to hold the camera-stick and maneuver the lens so that the surgeon can have a good view of what she's doing inside there.

It was a 90-min procedure and required me to stand still, leaning my hip on the patient's bed while keeping my hand steady, moving when needed keeping the "workspace" of the surgeon at the centre of the monitor.

No wonder people say surgeon's hands are very delicate yet strong. My hand were tired halfway through the surgery and I had to support one hand with the other alternately.

The next surgery, the surgery me and clinical partner actually went for; a gastrectomy (removal of the stomach) came next. It started at 1pm, but we forgot to have our lunch before the surgery. So start 1pm till 4.30pm, we had to maintain on our feet, watch the surgery (my partner gets to assist, I was just observing), prepare for any pop quiz from the surgeon, in hunger.

The surgery was intended to be a key-hole surgery as well. But as soon as they put the camera in, they realised the stomach cancer this patient has is very big. The initial plan was to remove part of the stomach. Now, seeing the extent of the cancer, they decided to cut the abdomen open, and remove the whole stomach.

At 4.30pm, when everything was over we thanked the surgeons and made way to the changing room.
By the time we walk out of the hospital, it was already 5pm and I was hypoglycaemic, almost unable to walk straight.
Booths, and then common room for some time on our own, with croissant hoyeah!

p/s: When I was in Form 2, my English teacher asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. I said I wanted to be an operator. She frowned and asked again. I said "Yes, an operator. To operate people"
Then only both of us realised that I meant surgeon. Oh My English! Such an embarrassment.

-Because life is a test-


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