Archive November 2019 XX, No. 11

Behind Closed Doors: Many Thanks

Jot down your blessings. You may be surprised at the length of the list.

Paula Watkins

Paula Watkins, RN, CNOR

BIO

FULL PLATE
FULL PLATE A bountiful feast is a reason to give thanks, but being too gluttonous could cause an acute case of cholecystitis.

I've been blessed to check off another year as an OR nurse. Now is as good a time as any to give thanks for the good fortune and one-of-a-kind experiences this profession has given me. I'm especially thankful

Thanksgiving isn't my all-time favorite holiday. Each year it feels like I fork in enough to go up a scrub size and I'm always paranoid the good eats are going to cause cholecystitis.

Surgeons and anesthesia providers have a safe place to offer up their personalities. There have been moments I wanted to ask, "Do you act this way at home? And do you or would you speak this way to your significant other or children?"

That I'm Southern, born and bred, and that I tend to speak slower than people in other parts of the country. My people pronounce some words with extra syllables, and we have a lot of sayings like, "Bless your heart." I wish I spoke Spanish. I'm trying. Most of my co-workers are bilingual. I admire that. As soon as sarcasm is universally recognized as a language, I, too, will be bilingual.

The tissue-tracker software is letting me document implants in its quantity control system. I'm doing the happy dance, and for the moment not calling it names under my breath that would shame even a person of ill repute.

Beloved pre-op nurses are putting sequential devices on all our patients, so I'm not forced to go and hunt a pair down. For reasons beyond my comprehension, the shelves that house these little dickens are always empty.

The patient about to have an abdominal procedure has had the operative area clipped before going to the OR. Thank you again pre-op nurses for handling the "de-hairing." Some patients look like they're wearing a sweater under their gowns — the prep dry time on their hair would take longer than the procedure. We're not supposed to use a razor anymore for fear of nicking the skin, but have you seen what type of damage clippers can do in some nurses' hands?

I've gotten into the habit of wearing eye protection. Sometimes I even forget that I have it on. A few years ago, I witnessed an unfortunate circulator getting bodily fluids shot into her eye from across the room. Since I brought up the subject, why would a trauma surgeon not wear eye protection? I'm just asking, don't have a cat fit over the question.

I no longer let it bother me that patients behind threadbare curtains who hear all are considered within HIPPA guidelines. I just have to let it go.

Those of us who work in surgery have unique personalities. Surgical nurses are a breed of their own because the OR is not "one size fits all." I'm thankful I wasn't a good fit in some of the facilities I've been assigned. Those misfits didn't suit me well, either.

When a patient is actually weighed before surgery. There's no second guessing. We all know (me included) that we tend to lie about our weight. My mom used to say, "I don't do numbers." A person who will tell you their weight, their age and their measurements will most likely tell you just about anything and everything.

For the many readers of my little backpage column. Enjoy feasting with your friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving! OSM

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