Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

On the Eve

on May 28, 2017

navy medicmedic

Memorial Day has never been a ‘Holiday’ to me in the classical sense. Only weeks after my daughter’s birthday, it flies up and smacks me in the face.

  It’s been a long day here; at least I’m off tomorrow. 

The recovery room is empty. This is the last one.

Two of them turn and spin until they are draped in blue, hands donned with sterile gloves, heads capped — hair all tucked under. A third, masked and head also covered, announces the patient’s name, the date of birth, the allergies, and the type of surgery being done. Behind the vertical drape at the head of the bed, a lanky figure scans the monitor, rises, drops a tube that collects stomach bile, and then ducks down again.

As the one who announced the case moves around the room, he starts up a conversation, “…Navy…Marine…”

He doesn’t stand still much, so I can’t hear where he said he was stationed.

Scissors, graspers, and dissectors lay on a draped table. As they are passed to the conductor in the room, an intact belly quickly becomes the recipient of inserted probes that blow air, suction waste, and provide an inside look at a swollen biliary vesicle. His female assistant, while handing over tools, no prompt  needed, adds to the conversation. “While I was in…”

I didn’t  know she served for so long. Her anecdotes have everyone smiling. I can see it in their eyes.

The conductor, as he deftly probed, tugged, snipped, and sutured, brought color to the conversation, sharing how his residency in the only trauma center for miles helped prepare him for his time in Afghanistan.

Thirty-five minutes have passed. The conductor/surgeon is done.

I don’t even recall seeing him suture up the four small incisions, but they are closed. The assistant is dressing them.

To some, this might have been just a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. On the eve of this somber day, a day set aside to remember those who have died while defending our country, it was more to me.

Much more. 


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