I won't go into details as to how this was arranged, but it's one of those things that I've always wanted to see in person. Although I don't want any of it done on me, I really think that modern doctoral wizardry is pretty incredible. As a side note - if anyone reading this can get me behind the scenes anywhere cool, send me an e-mail. I'll write about it (or not, if you prefer).
My friend and I arrived at the hospital super early. It was an old person getting a knee replacement, and old people like doing things really early. I had only racked up a few hours of sleep, but the excitement kept me wide awake.
I parked the RV and went inside. We were a little bit late, so we were given scrubs, doctor's masks, doctor hats, and ushered into the operating room with no warning.
I assumed we'd be in some sort of observation area, but we were standing just a few feet away from the patient's knee, which was cut open with the bones exposed. I expected to be grossed out, but it was really incredible.
The doctor explained everything as he went along, which was an unexpected benefit.
"Now I'm going to drill into the bone to set up a guide. These procedures are much more successful with an exact angle."
He picked up a drill with a huge bit and drilled 9" into the femur. At least I think it was the femur - what do I know? He then jammed a large guide rod down the bone and used a bone saw to remove the surface of the knee.
It was intense.
Bone fragments were flying everywhere. The nurse turned her head to the side to avoid getting chunks of bone and blood on her face. She was somewhat successful. The doctor pulled out a chunk of fat with some pliers and said, "this is what fat looks like...". He showed us the cartilage that prevents bones from rubbing on each other, and pointed out the area where it had worn down.
After half an hour they began fitting the prosthesis. It was a lull in the non stop action of bone sawing and tissue removing that we'd been enjoying.
My eyes wandered across the tables full of instruments. Some of them looked like dentist tools, others like carpentry tools, and some defied classification.
Suddenly my stomach began to grumble. All I'd eaten was a banana. Another grumble. This wasn't hunger, this was something else. My mouth began to taste slightly of blood. I reflexively looked at the blood pooling in the knee and the comparison made my stomach worse.
I need to take some deep breaths, I thought.
No. I need to get out of here and get some fresh air. I began to walk to the door.
I tried to open my eyes. They felt open, but I couldn't see anything. I strained them wider. It was mostly black, but there was something else there. I could hear voices trying to talk to me, but I wa so focused on seeing that I couldn't comprehend them. Panic. Where am I? What's the last thing I remember? How does it relate to this? Am I dead?
Slowly my vision came to me. I found myself on the floor of the operating room. I had passed out and hit my head on the linoleum floor. A nurse brought me back into the doctor's lounge where I sat, disappointed.
It was strange - it never seemed gross to me. I hadn't even considered that I would faint. I was disappointed that I couldn't control it, and even more disappointed that I was missing the rest of the surgery. I thought about going back in, but didn't want to become a nuisance.
After the surgery was over a 70 year old doctor sat down and told me, "This happens to a lot of people. I hope this doesn't discourage you. It just takes some getting used to."
That's good. Hopefully I'll have another chance to see a surgery.
Yes, I'm familiar with waking up feeling like a plonker for having flaked out in the presence of a doctor...several nurses had to carry me out one time. Not my finest hour!
Ah don't feel too bad. My sister passed out twice witnessing surgeries when she interned for a couple of doctors before Med school. Now she's a doctor in the ER!
Right now I'm deciding whether to take a job in the operating theater (?) for that social year you need to do here.
Hmm... It's pretty cool but I can't be doing with knees and stuff. Blood, gore, pus... fine. But show me someone's knee bent horribly the wrong way or being hacked up with a saw and I'm gone.
You might not have passed out from being grossed out. It might have been caused by standing in one position with your knees locked for too long. That will screw up your circulation and make you black out. It happened to me when I was a little kid and was in a wedding.
Hey, at least you didn't throw up.
I've gotten light-headed in a hospital before (visiting someone). Instead of walking away, I immediately crouched down and sat on the ground. It kept me from passing out and falling over. Try that next time. ;)
Ahoy! Six days ago I finally put my eyeballs in front of a laser and got my vision corrected. It's something that I've wanted to do for years, but never got around to doing because of the cost, the worry that I'd miss out on a new technology, and the uncertainty of which procedure to get. As I'm known to do, I researched everything on the subject (... and was then corrected by my friend Hayden who had read even more...) and I'm confident that I got the absolute best procedure.
Your eyball is a disaster. It's not perfectly round. It's probably too squished or too oblong, and the surface has little imperfect bumps on it. The part that laser surgeries deal with is the cornea - the layer of your eye that covers your iris and pupils. The cornea is responsible for focusing light onto the retina in the back of the eyeball, so it makes sense that this is where we focus.
Both PRK and Lasik (the two most popular surgeries) zap off chunks of your cornea to make a nice smooth cornea that perfectly focuses text from tynan.net onto your retina.
My quest to become a breast milk donor has stalled. I am not able to find anyone that is willing to help me get my blood drawn. I'm sitting here writing and feeling the defeat, and the tears threatening. I can't remember the last time I cried, or felt this helpless and depressed. Here I am, doing a phenomenal thing. Donating my breast milk to babies that need it. Preemies in the NICU. Babies of Mommas that can't provide their own breast milk. I thought the phrase "I'm registering to become a breast milk donor" would win over hearts and get me the help I need to continue. Not so. I've been met with silence and "what are you doing? Oh."
So far, I've called five different establishments. That is including the CVS minute clinic (they don't do blood work) and the "Family Practice" that turned out to be an optician. Why would an optician name their practice "Mr. Whoever Family Practice"? Sounds like a doctor's office right? Incidentally, she gave the only warm response I received. I heard in her voice that she thought I was doing a great thing. If testing my eyes was a prerequisite for breast milk donation, she would have helped me no problem. On calls, my opening explanation goes something like this:
I'm sure I wasn't that clear. Each time I pick up the phone I'm very nervous as what I'm asking for is way out of the ordinary. The more I get rejected, the more nervous I become. And with that comes stuttering and a loss of words. I thought the hard part was going to be pumping the milk. Boy, was I wrong. Here's a rough transcript of the conversations I've had. I'm still surprised with the responses.