I’m writing my thesis on a subject in Plastic Surgery, and I have an awesome supervisor. He invited me for a day in the OR there, to watch operations and to go with him on rounds. So last Tuesday I entered the hospital at 7.30am, put a blue OR suit on, and walked through the enormous OR complex my academic hospital possesses. I’ve been in ORs before, in other hospitals, but I haven’t seen a complex this huge. I felt so at home!
I saw my first laparotomy and two forehead lifts (one endoscopical, one open, quite impressive!). I could stand pretty close so that I had a good view. It was helpful to see the layers of skin, muscle and connective tissue for real now. And to see how things are going in the OR: the etiquette, the check-in and -out procedures, the communication. How to ensure sterility, to make sure there are no gauzes left in the body, to see to it that the patient is completely limp. I’d seen all this before of course, but the more often you are in the OR, the less impact actually being there makes, and the more you notice small details.
We did rounds in all three hospitals: the regular academic hospital, the military hospital and the children’s hospital. We saw cleft-palate children recovering from operations, looked after decubitus wounds, and saw a patient whom’s arm was partly ripped off. Very impressive. You could see his bones and tendons, there was no flesh around it anymore. Most people would faint on seeing this, or any operation for that matter, I realized that when standing in the OR, but while I’m impressed and interested, I don’t feel the faintest nausea on seeing bloody body parts, or smelling the burning of human flesh. Destined to be a surgeon, right? 😉
It was also the first time to see the UMC’s ICU: it’s incredibly modern! What I saw there was a bit like I’d fantasised my ‘own hospital’ to look like when I was younger. Modern, fresh, and spacious. Designed to give the best patient-care possible. Good to see departments like that actually exist.
I had to work at 5pm, so I couldn’t stay until the end, unfortunately. We were seeing an interesting patient in the ER when I had to leave. I didn’t want to. I had to. Boohoo. But while I rushed home, I thought of everything I saw and learned that day, and it all just confirmed how incredibly eager I am to become a surgeon, a plastic surgeon. It really fills me with joy that I know this for sure and that I feel at home in the OR. Can’t wait for my surgery rotation 😉