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01 October 2011

Bet you never knew that you didn't know how to wash your hands!

So a week into orthopaedics, I am pleasantly surprised. The consultants are quite friendly and very willing to teach. The registrars are also kind to students. Whew!
I have had the chance to scrub in and assist with a number of surgeries, even listed as assistant on a few of them for the medical records! So enjoying a lot more than I thought. A few conversations are pretty memorable:

Circulating Nurse, scribing: "what shall we call this procedure?"
Consultant Orthopod: "Sexy. Call it Sexy"

Surgeon, to me: "What's this structure there?"
Me: "Tibialis Anterior"
Surgeon: "Wow, yes it is. We really don't expect you to know anything"
Me: *grin*


The best is when the scrub nurse started quoting the viral "Orthopedics vs. Anesthetics" video: "There is a fracture. I need to fix it."

Scrubbing in involves washing your hands, putting on clean things, and keeping them clean. You may think you can do that, but it is actually a practiced skill, one that makes you feel like you are 4 again while you are learning. I have to say I prefer Betadine solution to Chlorhexadine, as it doesn't make my skin fall off as much. I put in a video, so EVERYONE will know how to wash your hands (to the point where you can play with someone else's insides. Probably don't need to use this level of extreme clean for making a sandwich, unless you are OCD +/- germophobe.)

The only major difference is that we double glove. And you must keep your hands between nipple and navel and only in front. Go to the bathroom BEFORE surgery, and make sure you've had something to eat beforehand. Remember that an itchy nose will go away if you ignore it long enough.

Other personal protection involved: we get to wear space helmets when doing joint replacements, mainly because bone saws produce high velocity chunks of sharp bone. We also get to wear lead aprons and thyroid shields when doing surgery that requires repeated xrays to confirm position. And yes, we do have aprons in hunter camouflage in addition to butterflies.

The aprons do get quite heavy after a couple of hours, and both the aprons and helmets make you feel confined and hot. My very first surgery was a total hip replacement. I had on all the above equipment, and then proceeded to stand still and watch for 2 hours. I suddenly started to feel light headed, like I might faint. I had the smarts to let someone know BEFORE that actually happened. Note to self: MOVE feet and legs regularly to maintain bloodflow to head.

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