Confessions of a Surgeon on Vacation

It’s been 3 weeks since my last surgery.

Yes, I confess.
I confess that I miss surgery.
I miss the quiet humming and sterility of an operating theatre.
I miss the gentle laminar flow of air over the operating table.
I miss the warmth of a Bair-hugger over the soft operating table.
I miss the perfectly tuned humidity of the operating room.
I miss the heat of the operating room lights falling on the back my neck.
I miss the anticipation of a patient’s arrival in the anaesthetic holding bay.
I miss the excitement of getting my equipment ready for the operation at hand.
I miss the surgical safety checklist: the sign in, the time out and the sign out.
I miss the way surgical gloves hug my hands.
I miss the face and neck perfectly painted with betadine and draped in greens.
I miss the gentle glide of a scalpel over skin.
I miss the way skin separates like rolling waves in obedience to the scalpel.
I miss the soft cobweb-like areolar tissue separating the planes of my dissection.
I miss the gentle beeps of the anaesthetic machine drowned in my operating music.
I miss the way a nurse perfectly place a surgical instrument in my hand.
I miss the gentle weight of a surgical tool in my hand.
I miss the palming of instruments.
I miss the way a scalpel, forceps and scissors rest in my hands.
I miss the way every surgical instrument is perfectly designed for its use.
I miss the rolling of tonsils and tumours off tissues.
I miss the hand-tied knot.
I miss the buzz of a diathermy.
I miss the accuracy of a laser beam falling on tissue.
I miss the perfect arc of a suture needle going through tissues.
I miss the click click of a needle holder in my palm.
I miss the pull of a subcuticular stitch like the closure of a zip.
I miss the way skin falls together like a closed book cover.
I miss the perfectly placed stitch.
I miss the waking of a patient from the perfect anaesthesia.
I miss the way a patient is gently pushed out of the operating theatre.
I miss the clean up and preparation of an operating theatre in anticipation of the next case.
I miss the gift of surgery.


2 thoughts on “Confessions of a Surgeon on Vacation

  1. Wow! Gave me goosebumps! I am an aspiring surgeon. Finished medical school a couple of years ago, took some detours but now in the process of getting back to where I should have headed in the first place. Enjoying your blog, it is inspiring and it is strengthening my resolve to head into surgery. I will save this and I will read it when I am about to go into the OR again – after all these years. Looking forward to it. 🙂

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  2. Wow ! What a great poem. I’m a 13 year old girl in New Zealand and I have wanted to be a surgeon since I was 5 and your poem really makes me wish I was a surgeon already. All my friends think I’m weird because all I ever think about is becoming the one of the best surgeons in the world and getting good grades. I’m very interested in surgery because I want to help people and I am fascinated by the human anatomy. Oh yeah, by the way, I love your blog I think I should make my own since I love writing too.

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