Yesterday I sent a reminder to my attending that I was scheduled to be at the hospital all day and so would not be at in clinic. He told me that he would be performing a Cesarean section the next morning (today) if I could make it. It was schedule for an hour before my “shift” at the hospital. I’ve never been to a see section before, so I had no idea how long it would take. The doctor said I should make it in time for my shift, but I wanted to go early to check-in the nurse I was going to be shadowing to see if she would be ok with me coming in a little late if the surgery went long. Which meant I would have to get up a little earlier with no guarantee that she would say yes and no idea if she would even be there at the time I was planning on going.
Long story short I got her approval and got to go the surgery. It was more bizarre than anything I’ve experienced during this rotation so far. After I was scrubbed in, with less snafus than the first time, I realized we were slicing open this lady’s belly while she was fully awake. She couldn’t feel a thing of course and I couldn’t see her face during the surgery, but occasionally there would be evidence of her the position of her upper body or moving her arms that made the situation a bit uncanny.
It was cool to watch as he cut through all the different layers of the belly and being able to follow along as he did so, identifying at what point we reached the uterus and then the amniotic sac.
Once the baby was out, which as an amazing thing in a totally different way from vaginal delivery, the cord was cut and baby was given to mom and dad and we started the process of closing her up. This was were when the consciousness-open belly juxtaposition was most apparent because mom was talking and moving and laughing and there we were on the other side of a cloth barrier using a needle and a bunch of clamps to sew her back together.
This was a procedure my attending seemed very comfortable with (perhaps obviously) based on the speed with which he was throwing sutures and tying knots. It’s always inspiring to watch someone engage in a skill that they have spent a long-time mastering.
I got to be involved in a few small ways. I got to hold some of the tools in place and I got to use the cautery tool to stop some bleeding vessels. Thankfully I wasn’t asked to do any suturing, still not comfortable doing it myself on the live person, but after watching once I think I would be ok to do at least a few bites worth if asked.
The rest of the day was spent with the nurse taking care of post-partum mothers. Similar to all my other days in the hospital, it was informative and interesting to see this side of patient care, and again it gave me a stronger appreciation for what goes on in the physicians’ absence. Looking forward to being back in the clinic again though.
For lunch I ran back home to eat some leftovers from the weekend. My family came to visit and so I got to check out of few more food spots that have been on my list. Dinner, more leftovers. I have enough food right now to probably last me until the end of the week without needing to buy or cook food.