Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy


Surgeons Are People Too

So I've spent 6 weeks on various surgical disciplines, and I've come to a few conclusions.

1) Your surgeon is human†. This means that despite the downright vicious hours, the 9+ years of medical training, the stress of taking someone's life in your hands 5 or 6 times a day... they still sit around and talk about Barry Bonds' steroid-riddled "record". Except they do it while ripping out your colon.

2) Surgeons personify constantly. An artery spurting all over the place during routine surgery earns a "you little arterial bastard... I swear I'll get you for that". Then they take extreme vengeance by clipping the artery and severing it in half.

3) Surgery is fun as all hell. Ever popped a particularly heinous zit? Surgery's kinda like that, except that the zit is the size of your fist, bears the moniker "perianal abscess", and shoots pus 2 feet in the air.

4) You have no idea how expressive your face is behind a mask. Pre-op, one of my residents was cleaning a necrotic, smelly belly button. He paused, then looked up, one eyebrow cocked, without saying a word. That moment, in his eyes I saw "this is what I trained 6 damn years for", and started laughing hysterically with everyone else in the room.

5) Doctors can "see you" without ever having actually interacted with you. It's kind of like medical telepathy. If you're in the hospital because you haven't shit for 20 straight days... but coincidentally you're an opiate addict and have been sneaking pillz in, chances are the Surgery Consult doesn't need to check in with you every day. We'll still write a note in your chart to say no surgical intervention is required.

6) Surgery is an art. I've seen the same procedure performed by 7 different people. It can be slow, boring, and dangerous, or it can be beautiful, efficient, and safe. I'm really happy I got to see an experienced surgeon at work before I left the rotation... it's like watching Bob Ross paint a happy little mountain scene.

†Although Girlfriend has informed me that all surgeons have Narcissistic Personality Disorder††.
††You all should be informed that Girlfriend is on her Psychiatry††† rotation right now.
†††All Psychiatrists are working out their own issues.

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  1. I used to watch Bob Ross before all of my high school basketball games. We won 2 state titles…which proves the little squirrel he keeps in his shirt pocket has magic powers.

  2. I miss Bob Ross and his happy little trees.

    BTW — your comparison of surgery to popping a giant zit is pure genius. You’ve made me actually look forward to this rotation.

  3. I recently finished my surgery rotation as well, and have to agree with your observations. One thing I will add is that surgeon personalities tend to the extremes: some are extremely nice and extremely brilliant, while others are… well, the extreme opposite.

    Also, re the expressiveness behind a mask, check out this post: The Eyes Have It


  4. I have fallen in love with this blog. I remember my OR rotations in nursing school and how laid back and irrelevant operating room banter can be- it’s hysterical. And I (sickly) enjoyed slicing some guys rectum in half and feeling little tumors.
    Being in the medical profession is awesome. I LOVE grossing out my friends! :)

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