Surgery is one of my favorite topics. I spent years in operating rooms passing instruments and sutures, holding retractors, and eventually doing some assisting. To me, it’s a bit more than a necessary intervention of a bloody nature.
I guess it’s because of the enthusiasm that many of the surgeons I worked with had for the art and science. Trust me; you don’t want someone bored with the job standing over you in the operating theatre. You want a surgeon who lost count of how many of these he’s done, finds each one fascinating, and is interested in educating the team and the patient.
Another thing you don’t want is someone who grows incensed with inquiries. They may be skilled, but a knowledgeable surgical team and a patient with an understanding of what’s coming make for better outcomes. And that’s what it’s all about.
Over the past twenty years, I’ve had several operations caused by the inevitable wear and tear the body accumulates with age. The surgeons who care for me were first amused that they had a patient who had a grasp of the anatomy and procedures. But they soon slipped into teacher mode when they found I hadn’t scrubbed since 1980. The pre-surgical visits turned into teaching sessions on how my procedure would differ from the ones I had scrubbed on in prehistoric days—smaller incisions, less blood loss, and utilizing better surgical materials and implants. It was encouraging and a bit daunting.
I admit my enthusiasm for technique may be a way of distancing myself from the fact that it would be my body going under the knife. But I can’t help myself. I left the OR to have a career in anthropology, but I never lost my affection for what we achieved in the OR.