Archive February 2018 XIX, No. 2

Behind Closed Doors: Laugh a Little

Life in the OR can be funny - even when it's not meant to be.

Paula Watkins

Paula Watkins, RN, CNOR


It's OK to laugh at things in the OR that aren't meant to be funny. So next time something humorous happens during a case and someone says, "Someday, we'll laugh at this," respond by asking, "Why wait?"

1 You can't fix stupid, but you can sedate it. The circulator teams up with the anesthesia provider to tailor each patient's anesthesia experience so it goes smoothly and is uneventful. Well, that's the goal anyway. Some patients have a "stupidoid" brain defect. If only we could do a "stupidectomy" while we had them asleep.

2 Possessed OR equipment. When an electronic component in the OR is on the fritz, I try 1 of 3 fixes: unplug it, start over or reboot it. That usually works. But what about when the flat screen monitor drifts? You position it where the surgeon wants it, you turn your back and the monitor mockingly floats back to where it was. Don't tell me to lock it. It is locked. This sounds like a job for Coban. I'll tell you what is locked, though: the screen on this EMR. You're clicking away, checking boxes when all of a sudden the screen freezes. Under my breath comes a string of profanities that would shock a sailor.

3 Take the good with the bad. Even when I'm expecting to have a good day, sometimes the sinister OR gods have a different idea. For instance, the schedule says right foot. The patient says left foot. Both feet are "fubar." The tech sets up the case in accordance with the pick sheet and schedule. The surgeon is late. When he finally shows up, he talks to the patient and it's decided we're doing both feet. Grrrrrrr. We have to go pick additional stuff, which makes our start time even later. Some days you're the pigeon, some days you feel like the pavement. However, if it's any consolation, some believe that if a bird poops on you it's supposed to bring good luck. Really. Seriously. I Googled it.

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