Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lessons in Cardiovascular Surgery

Over the past few months I've been fairly consistent in blogging daily so it always feels a little strange when I miss a day (and sometimes calls for double blogging on the subsequent day). However, sometimes 24 hours goes by in the blink of an eye and other things take priority...mainly sleep :).

That being said, I want to share a bit of my day yesterday. Like I said in another post, this week is a little crazy with a ton of random meetings/appointments/obligations. Even in all the busyness I've been trying to go to the gym because I know my physical health contributes to my mental health and performance. I did a quick circuit targeting chest & calves and then hopped on the treadmill for an incline workout.

My random appointment yesterday was with my dentist and I'm happy to say I'm cavity-free for yet another year!! Woo hoo!!

Only downside is that my wisdom teeth are half-erupted which puts me at risk of nasty infections back there (boooo). I'm going to be having a consult with a dental surgeon to talk about getting these little puppies removed! I actually love going to the it! Many positive experiences as a child and I probably have the best dentist in the world. Besides, who doesn't love getting a free toothbrush and floss as a reward for taking care of your teeth?

During lecture I received an email from my preceptor's admin assistant asking if I wanted to come see a rare(ish) procedure taking place later in the day...

Heck yes!!!

I could hardly focus for the remaining 20 minutes of class and tutorial was a lost cause. I was on edge waiting for the phone call to let me know that they would be scrubbing soon. When the call came I pretty much booked it over to the hospital while simultaneously shoving food down my throat.

Because of patient confidentiality I can't give details of the procedure that took place. So instead I'm reflecting on some lessons I learned from the experience:

  • Cutting, cauterizing, and suturing are like an art and the tissues/structures of the body are like different forms of media in that they react uniquely to what you do. Yes, that means I got to cut, cauterize and suture. It was amazing!
  • When another resident is suturing, make sure you keep your eye on the needle...otherwise it may come VERY close to your face.
  • Speaking of the face, eye protection is pretty important when you're dealing with a high-pressure system (aka the heart and surrounding vessels...some of them squirt!)
  • Also on the same note, always check your face before leaving the OR. You don't want unwanted stares from the public for presents left behind on your forehead.
  • Patience is truly a virtue especially when waiting for blood to clot.
  • If your preceptor tells you to hold an instrument, do not move it until they tell you to!
  • If the surgery ends in the wee hours of the morning take a cab back to your place, even if you live a few blocks away. It's better to shove out an extra $5 for safety.
  • The heart is AMAZING...but you already knew that ;)
It was a bit of a struggle pulling myself out of bed this morning and I can tell my energy is low. My body is actually craving high-fat foods like peanut butter and avocado. I've succombed to those cravings, making an avocado/lemon smoothie which turned out to be delicious. I had my doubts but the lemon juice really smoothes out the avocado taste...and the avocado makes the it oh-so-creamy!

Avocado Lemon Smoothie
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 small/medium avocado
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used soy)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (I used plain)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Blend all ingredients on until smooth. If you want increased thickness, add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that surgery seems incredible. Congratulations on even being able to help out on it. I'm so insanely jealous the heart is so fascinating. Gah, I'm such a nerd :)