Friday, November 2, 2012
The Surgical Scrub
In the usual course of events the referring family doctor would from time to time to attend the surgical procedure for their patient and assist with the surgery out of interest for the patient's care and the informed knowledge that was to be gained for the patient's after care, by doing. Certainly a desirable and attentive act to provide counsel to the family and longitudinal care for the patient. On the other hand, some family practitioners worked on a part time basis as professional surgical assistants when the patient's doctor was not available. Many of these doctors became very skilled and knowledgeable with respect to surgical techniques and their experience was enhanced since they assisted a wide variety of surgeons and absorbed the diverse skill sets that they observed. Every two weeks or so, a physician who was a long standing surgical assistant, helped me during one of my surgical days. We got on well and since we had a rather intense common interest in gardening it was often a topic we talked about. We were standing at the scrub sink for the first case of the day one morning and he was particularly effusive in respect to his enjoyment of surgery and particularly singled me out as a source of this delight. I must say that I was touched by his enthusiasm and my role in it. As we stood at the sink, and resumed talk of gardening, scrubbing our hands vigorously, cleaning our nails scrupulously, lathering hands and arms and wrists with the antiseptic soap, rinsing with copious amounts of water, we talked and time stood still. Basking in the glow of his approbation of what I thought was my surgical skill, he said, "Yes, I particularly like working with you because we scrub so completely and talk so long at the scrub sink that my gardening hands stay clean for my patients for days on end. That's why I enjoy coming with you every two weeks." He smiled at me with simple joy!